'China's Statue of Liberty' under way

Updated: 2010-08-18 13:38
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Artists in Foshan, a city in Guangdong province that bills itself as the home of Chinese kungfu, are creating a 30-meter-tall sculpture of Bruce Lee which they hope will one day become a landmark on the scale of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The red-painted ceramic statue depicts an eight-legged Bruce Lee, known as Li Xiaolong in Chinese, balancing world famous monuments on each foot. These include The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Shanghai's Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Bird's Nest, or National Olympic Stadium, in Beijing.

Over 100 smaller sculptures of China's most iconic martial arts fighter will form the centerpiece of Foshan Week, which opens to the public at the Expo on Tuesday afternoon.

Identical, except for the monuments they balance on their feet, the sculptures took 100 people six months to complete, due to the complexity and size of the ceramics.

The Enter the Dragon star was born in San Francisco of Hong Kong heritage but has ancestral links to Foshan. Recently, the series of Yip Man movies have celebrated his teacher Ye Wan, who was born to affluent parents in Foshan.

In reality, the city competes with several Chinese towns and provinces for kungfu bragging rights, notably the Shaolin Monastery in Henan province. But Foshan locals claim more responsibility for promoting the art internationally over the last century.

The towering sculpture, which looks like a stop-motion capture of Lee doing one of his explosive high kicks, will not be ready for another year, according to artist Shu Yong.

"We hope it can compete with the Statue of Liberty. But our sculpture, The Kungfu God of 1,000 Legs, is meant to symbolize Chinese wisdom, creativity and health," he said.

"We are taking it to the Guggenheim Museum (in Manhattan) next year as part of a grand world tour," he said.

While the neoclassical Statue of Liberty was an international gift of friendship from France, Shu and cohorts hope an epic 10-year world tour will suffice.

Qiu Dailun, director of the exhibition commemorating Foshan Week, said the Bruce Lee sculpture was designed to "help China communicate with the world on an artistic level".

"During China's recent development, much has been made of our shortcomings and problems, but our strengths and skills have been largely forgotten by the rest of the world," he said. "We hope, through cultural exchanges like these, to restore a sense of balance."


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

'China's Statue of Liberty' under way

'China's Statue of Liberty' under way

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.