Exhibitions/ Art Object

Map of China

Artist:
Ai Weiwei (Chinese, born Beijing, 1957)
Date:
2006
Culture:
China
Medium:
Ironwood (tieli mu) from dismantled Qing dynasty (1644–1911) temples
Dimensions:
H. 15 3/4 in. (40 cm); W. 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm); D. 31 1/2 in. (80 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Lent by Stockamp Tsai Collection
Rights and Reproduction:
© Ai Weiwei
Not on view
This map of China is constructed out of interlocking wood elements salvaged from destroyed temples of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). The work is a poignant assertion that modern China is a mosaic of fragments from its past. The jigsaw-puzzle-like configuration of its heterogeneous pieces may also be read as a symbol of China’s cultural and ethnic diversity, asserting that while China remains distinctly singular, it is a fusion of countless individuals. Ai’s Map challenges our ability to imagine how such a complex state came into existence, how it has managed to survive for so long, and whether or not it can be maintained.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.