Celebrating Fathers with Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao

This year, Village Frame & Gallery is looking at the wider body of work that comprises the Pacific Northwest art legacy. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook as we explore art and artists from across the region. 

Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao (Universal Peace and Baby Elephant)

Large bronze sculpture of father elephant with his child on his back
Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao

It’s hard to find a better tribute to fatherhood than Portland’s 135″ x 77″ x 168″ bronze of a father elephant with his youngster on his back. Like a great dad, the sculpture embodies strength, playfulness, and story; it symbolizes safe and prosperous offspring.

Based on a wine pitcher from the late Shang Dynasty (circa 1200-1100 BC), it is covered with animals from ancient Chinese mythology. If you want to see how many you can identify, here’s a list to get you started: Chinese Mythical Creatures.

Huo Bao Zhu

Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao was given to Portland by Hao Bao Zhu, owner of Shaanxi Yuan Kun Sculptural Arts Company in Xian, China. The sculpture was made in Hao’s foundry, which is licensed by the Chinese government to reproduce antiquities. It then traveled by boat to the United states and was installed in the Portland Park blocks in 2002.

This sculpture is just one of the many gifts Huo Bao Zhu has given to the United States. After a doctor in Portland treated Hao for a rare form of leukemia, he was moved to generosity by his gratitude, his Buddhist faith, and a lifelong desire to increase understanding between countries by sharing Chinese culture.

When plans were being made for the installation of Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao, Huo told the Oregonian he had come to feel an urgency to share the rewards of his successful business with others.

“Based on other people who have had my illness, today I should be dead, or bedridden. But now, I am not only still alive, but I am able to lead a normal life. It’s a wonderful situation,” Huo said. “I want to be loving and good, and to leave positive things with my remaining time.”

In addition to giving Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao to Portland, Huo Bao Zhu donated many of the featured artworks at Astoria’s Garden of Surging Waves.

See Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao

Just look for the big elephant located in the North Park blocks, between W Burnside and NW Couch, near the children’s playground.

If you’re out and about with your Dad today, pay a visit to Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao.

Photo of elephant sculpture

Can’t get enough art? You’ll love Village Frame & Gallery!

Exhibits are open to the public, at no charge, Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, at 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219.


Image credits:

Park Blocks Elephant Portland by User:Cacophony (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Elephant Scupture in Portland by User: Cornfusion (Own work) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr

Village Frame & Gallery, 7808 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219 ● (503) 245-8001
Open Tuesday - Friday, 10am - 5pm, and Saturday 10am - 4pm, or by appointment.