Eclogue on the Grassland, oil on canvas by Lin Yue.
Oil artist Lin Yue recalls being terrified when the gigantic dog leapt for his throat with a "roar".
His horror melted into curiosity when the Tibetan mastiff halted its attack upon his master's command.
"I had never seen such beautiful but ferocious dogs," Lin says.
"I had never even heard of them, actually. Their appearances and behavior fascinated me, so I took photographs and studied them for hours that night."
The dogs provided the inspiration the Sichuan native was seeking, the quest for which had brought him to Sichuan's Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture. He made the trip in 2003, "desperately looking for a hideout for a wounded soul", after his restaurant business bottomed out.
Lin has since become the leader of the pack when it comes to painting Tibetan mastiffs.
He has consequently gotten bites from such buyers as media magnet Rupert Murdoch, billionaire investor Jim Rogers and American Jewish Congress chairman Jack Rosen.
Rosen, who met Lin in the US last summer during the artist's first overseas exhibition, said at the Sept 17 opening of Lin's retrospective solo exhibition in Beijing that the painter's US visit was a form of "Tibetan mastiff diplomacy" that helped Americans better understand China. 【1】 【2】