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The purple and gold of Lu’s Kyoto references the rich history of the city as the imperial capital of Japan, a status which it held for over one thousand years. The city’s flag shows an embossed purple circle around a blazing golden star. The many organic shapes present in this painting are testament to the numerous temple gardens, markets, old estates and remains of fortresses (used by battling samurai factions in the 15th century) intermingled between Kyoto’s crowded neighborhoods and lively financial district. Lu puts the viewer right in the thick of it, choosing to keep the surrounding mountains or peaceful lake Biwa just out of view. One could trace the network of tributaries, guiding the viewer out of the fray and out of the frame, south east towards Osaka, the harbor and the ocean beyond.