This installation consists of a dozen gilded bronze sculptures representing the animal symbols from the traditional Chinese zodiac. Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei drew inspiration for the twelve heads from those originally located at Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace), an imperial retreat of palaces and European-style gardens built outside of Beijing in the 18th and 19th centuries by Emperor Qianlong. Designed and engineered by two European Jesuits, Giuseppe Castiglione and Michel Benoit, the heads originally functioned as an ornate fountain clock that would spout water at two-hour intervals. Read more.
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