Ai Weiwei Dragons

ai weiwei dragons

This Ai Weiwei post was sitting in my drafts for months. I finished it up today and believe I’m 5 posts away from 100 blog posts.

In 2018, my mum visited me (while I was still living in Florida), and we went up to Sarasota to visit the Ringling Museum (which is still FREE on Mondays).

Ai Wei Wei’s Zodiac sculptures happened to be there, so here are a few pictures of them, followed by a couple of other dragon art images and an artist bio.

Ai Weiwei Zodiac sculptures

ABOUT (2018): The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art will expand its outreach into the world of Asian art starting this month with the installation of Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads—12 monumental bronze sculptures by artist and social activist Ai Weiwei that have drawn attention around the world. 
Sarasota Magazine

The first photo is from the magazine while the other 3 pictures were taken by my mum.

According to the article:

  • The animal heads weigh 2,000 pounds (907 kg) each and measure three feet wide and four feet (0.9 x 1.2 meters) high, not counting the columns below them.
  • Seven of the heads are based on the original fountain examples that once adorned an 18-century imperial retreat outside Beijing.

Dragon Vase with Six Claws

“Refutation” was Ai Weiwei’s second solo show to be presented in Hong Kong, from March to 28, 2018 at Tang Contemporary Art gallery.

ai weiwei dragon vase
Dragon Vase by Ai Weiwei | via Tang Contemporary

About Dragon Vase (2017):

“Produced in red-and-white porcelain, Dragon Vase (2017) is a near exact replica of a Ming Dynasty, Xuande period (1426 –1435) vase bearing the motif of a dragon. During the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynastic periods, the emperor’s motif was the five-clawed dragon. . .Improper use or wear of the dragon was punishable by death.

Ai’s reinterpretation of the Ming vase is only distinguishable through the subtle addition of a sixth claw. The blue-and-white Xuande period ‘Dragon jar’ on which Ai’s Dragon Vase is based, sold for one of the highest prices recorded at auction.”
Cao / Humanity |

Ai Weiwei With Wind dragon installation (at Alcatraz)

ai weiwei alcatraz dragon
Ai Weiwei’s With Wind dragon installation (at Alcatraz) | Image from Inhabitat

About (2014): “Ai Weiwei’s With Wind installation greets visitors with a colorful explosion of paper forms that take flight within the former prison. The dragon is a symbol of power and freedom, however its paper construction is delicate.

The artist teamed up with the FOR-SITE Foundation to install the installation in the New Industries building on Alcatraz. The building housed ‘privileged’ prisoners who were offered the opportunity to work as a reward for good behavior. Work offered an escape from boredom and isolation, and it could earn prisoners a shorter sentence—hence the building’s connection with freedom and personal expression.”

I visited Alcatraz a very long time ago. Would revisit.

Ai Weiwei Artist Bio

Ai Weiwei (born 28 August 1957) is a Chinese contemporary artist, documentarian, and activist.

Ai grew up in the far northwest of China, where he lived under harsh conditions due to his father’s exile. As an activist, he has been openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights.

In 2011, Ai Weiwei was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, for “economic crimes.” He was detained for 81 days without charge.

Ai Weiwei encapsulates political conviction and his personal poetry in his many sculptures, photographs, and public works. Since being allowed to leave China in 2015, he has lived in Berlin, Germany, in Cambridge, UK, with his family, and in Portugal.

(Tate Museum / Wikipedia)

By Jess

Jess Chua is an award-winning writer and sketch artist. She's been the keeper of Dragonsinn since 1999. She works in the online writing/editing field and enjoys yoga, reading, and design. Join Dragon Mail for printable welcome gifts, giveaways, and a healthy dose of dragon inspiration!