This monumental sculpture by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping is a stylized replica of an ancient tomb from Southern China, after the example of the hundreds of stone tombs on the mountain slopes in Xian. These tombs have the shape of a turtle, which symbolizes longevity and the eternal in Chinese culture. Huang, however, has overturned the tomb to make the inside visible.
The tomb is deliberately placed directly opposite the museum, which contains a collection of Tang figurines, ceramic human and animal figures which were placed in the tombs of the deceased to accompany them to the afterlife during the Tang dynasty (600-900 AD). Later, these were often stolen and sold and found their way into Western museums as art objects.
Huang symbolically reunites the Tang figurines in the museum’s collection with the empty Chinese tomb where they originally belonged. In his later sculptures and installations, Huang also regularly refers to the ancient Chinese history, culture and way of life, whereby he takes inspiration from Buddhism and Taoism.