Ai Weiwei, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads

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The famed Chinese dissident presents smaller, gold-painted versions of his bronze animal heads that were installed outdoors across from the Plaza Hotel in the spring. The objects represent the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, and are copied from a set that once adorned a fountain-clock at the summer palace of the Manchu emperor Qianlong, who reigned from 1736 to 1796. The originals were looted in 1860 by French and British troops during the Second Opium War.


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