Mandarin Butterfly series. Caroline Yi Cheng. Porcelain and linen. 2012.
Caroline Yi Cheng was born in Cambridge, England in 1963. She studied fine arts in the United States before moving to Hong Kong, where she runs The Pottery Workshop, which also opened centres in Shanghai (2002) and Jingdezhen (2004). An artist who works to promote ceramic arts, Cheng’s Mandarin Butterfly series consists of oversized costumes in the traditional Chinese style that are made up of ten thousand butterflies, hand-made by crafstmen in Jingdezhen, the “Porcelain Capital” of China that has been producing porcelain for almost 2000 years. Cheng’s butterflies, each of which is unique compared to the others, are not only reminiscent of the Terracotta warriors with individual faces, but also predate Ai Weiwei’s mass-produced sunflower seed artwork. This particular garment is exhibited in the British Museum, London.