Winter Filigree – Giant Panda
Robert Bateman Hand Signed Limited Edition Print 20.5″ x 30.75″
Edition Size: 9600
“A few years ago my wife, Birgit, and I were treated to a rare privilege. We were permitted to visit the panda reserve at Woolong in the Szechwan Province of China. Intrepid tourists do visit the captive breeding center in the valley but very few have been allowed to climb into the panda reserve, especially in winter.
Panda country is surprisingly like our own British Columbia with rugged topography and old growth forests. We climbed a narrow, switch-back trail, leaving the terraced fields of the Chiang tribes people far below. Our goal was the research hut of George Schaller used during the years he put the giant panda on the map. This wonderful, rare and elusive animal is a suitable symbol for the World Wildlife Fund. Habitat destruction due to logging and agriculture is the major threat. And poaching may be the last straw. This sums up the plight of our entire natural heritage.
As we neared the Schaller hut, the huge old-growth trees were covered with freshly fallen snow of the previous night. One tree in particular caught my eye. It was festooned with long streamers or usnea, a type of lichen which resembles but is not related to hanging Spanish moss. Every delicate strand had captured snow flakes and hoar frost. Many images come to mind . . . Miss Faversham’s room in the film of Dickens’ “Great Expectations”, the frosted wintry dacha in “Doctor Zhivago”. I also thought of a possible set for the ballet “Swan Lake”. It seemed an appropriate setting with its delicacy and drama for the symbol of our fragile web of life, and the giant panda.” Robert Bateman
(From the original painting Winter Filigree – Giant Panda – 1995 – 24″ x 36″ Acrylic on Masonite)