Background information

1989, Dora De Larios, 6'8"h x 28'6"l. 988 North Hill Street, Los Angeles
Dora De Larios was invited by the architect of Bamboo Plaza, George Puljac of Associated Architects and Planners, to design a gateway for the main entrance of the multistoried retail project. Rather than create a traditional free-standing p'ai-lou gateway, De Larios integrated her gateway into the pillars framing the building's Broadway street entrance. Three brass panels, installed 13' above the ground, suggest a traditional style by the block-like steps where they join the columns. The art is further linked with the architecture by strips of brass at the corners of the pillars. De Larios embellished both sides of the panels with symbolic and stylized representations of elements valued in Chinese culture. Horizontal lines at the bottom of each panel, symbolizing still water, tie the entire composition together. In the two 7' long outer panels, undulating lines represent moving water and the sequence of triangles symbolize mountains. Still water above the triangles is again symbolized by a section of horizontal lines. The 14'6" long center panel is dominated by a 5th century bamboo motif De Larios found in a book of Chinese screens.

Bamboo is symbolic in China for peace, security and prosperity and because it can withstand gale force winds, it is also symbolic of integrity and high moral courage. According to De Larios, the "numerology of the bamboo motif was critical to the Lee family [the developer of Bamboo Plaza]. They needed a certain number of bamboo patterns...on [the] gateway for luck and strength." As a result, the bamboo is represented in a sequence of seven identical patterns because seven is a positive number. De Larios recommended a panel be installed over the Bamboo Lane entrance. This 6' x 6' panel is divided between horizontal lines representing still water, and the bamboo motif.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, February 1998.

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