Asia Blog: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam

Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads”

Posted in Art, China by Elliott Back on May 15th, 2011.

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissent artist who has been detained for over two months now, premiered a new public exhibition at the Pulitzer Fountain outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads consists of twelve bronzes representing the traditional Chinese birth-year animals, arranged on poles in a semi-circle. The menagerie includes: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, boar.

There is a backstory to the art; Ai Weiwei’s heads are larger versions of a piece designed in the 18th century by European Jesuits for the Manchu emperor Qianlong. They were parts of a famous fountain clock in the Summer Palace. However, the heads were all looted by the British and French during the Second Opium War in 1860. To date, the Chinese government has retrieved five of them (ox, tiger, horse, monkey and boar), two more (rat and rabbit) were auctioned recently at Christies to an unsympathetic patriot who refused to pay. The other five remain lost, and may never be recovered.

Here is a video of NYC city mayor Bloomberg giving opening remarks to the exhibit:

NYC opens Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. –

You can check out all of my photographs in this Flickr gallery. There is also some good secondary coverage of the exhibit:

Painting with Vegetables

Posted in Art, China by Elliott Back on February 26th, 2011.

Check out 用蔬菜作画的中国超级牛人: 桔多淇 (JuDuoqi) – (Chinese vegetable paintings) which uses some chinese cabbages and tons of other vegetables to recreate famous paintings and art, such as this Marilyn Monroe as Salad:

This is the Last Supper, as veggies:

Chinese artist JuDuoqi produced a range of art pieces with those food we eat everyday such as tofu, lettuce, ginger, cucumber etc. She even reproduced those worldwide famous paintings “The Last Super” and “Mona Lisa”. just incredible!! @.@

Tibet Photos from Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia

Posted in Art, China by Elliott Back on November 6th, 2010.

Photos from Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia: Seven Days in Tibet with model Zhang Fan. Tibet is a beautiful and strange place, far exotic compared to American pastures.

There are a few comments on the original post and a Baidu blog to check out!

Chinese Painting Auctions

Posted in Art, China by Elliott Back on July 13th, 2007.

I got the following spammy email in my inbox today:

Welcome to The Chinese modern painting and calligraphy auction website

The Chinese modern painting and calligraphy auction website ( is under construction now. There will be hundreds of Chinese famous modern artists who will join the auction. Enter and browse our site if you like or have interest in the collection of the painting of the famous Chinese artists. We assure that there must be more than one painting that will attract you and also satisfy you in the price and the service. Our site is synchronizing with the English site. And the site is designed specially and simply. There is a specialized administrator and an interpreter that will serve for you. It’s a great enjoy of beauty and art when you browse our site.


《中国现代书法家作品拍卖网》 目前仍在建设中。这个网站将有数百位来自中国境内的著名书画家先生参加拍卖。 如果你喜欢或收藏中国现代书画家艺术作品,请你登陆并浏览这个网站。我们相信:总有一款作品令您陶醉,并从价格和服务质量上,令您满意。 这个网站采用中英文同步,网页设计独特、简洁,有专门的管理员和翻译为您服务。2007年期间,将以优惠的底价起拍。 浏览《中国现代书法家作品拍卖网》,是一种美的、艺术的享受!

But check out this photo of Mr. Jiang Zhao Ming with one of his paintings:


It actually looks pretty legit, in spite of their marketing scheme!

Sayuri Anzu Photos?

Posted in Art, Japan by Elliott Back on April 29th, 2007.

Someone uploaded these photos to my free image host, under that title “cute sayuri.” So, I’m not sure which Sayuri they are talking about, but Sayuri Anzu (after minor Google-ing) seems like the best bet.




The defining feature for cuteness, in my experience, is really enormous eyes. This Sayuri Anzu definitely has them, and that soft fox-face look which betrays cute-not-sexy when you see it. If I have a daughter she will look this cute!

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