Ai Weiwei – Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. Phillips Auction, New York. The artist did extensive research to replicate the zodiac heads (this time with gold coating) that were looted in 1860 by British and French soldiers from imperial palace complex outside Beijing towards the end of the Opium Wars. They were originally part of a water clock that encircled the fountain-clock of Yuanming Yuan, the symbols were arranged around a fountain designed by European Jesuits. All but five of the heads has resurfaced and there is an ongoing push by China to repatriate all of them. Ai Weiwei’s replicas have been exhibited at nearly forty locations around the world since 2011.
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