lingzhi mushrooms, wood chips and wood
As with Yan’s Lingzhi Girls, this sculptural arrangement was created almost entirely of lingzhi mushrooms. Mushroom spores were planted inside moulds where they were exposed to moisture, fostering the growth of networks of mycelium (mushroom roots). The mycelium eventually filled the moulds, creating the forms of a young girl, a deer and a group of rabbits. Once these forms were removed from their moulds into another moist environment, mushrooms developed out of the figures. These new mushrooms, in turn, dropped more spores, thereby providing the delicate brown powder that now covers the sculptures. Similarly, multiple meanings grow out of this work. Deer, for example were often held in high esteem in China because they were believed to be skilled at finding sacred mushrooms in the wild. As a result, in many Chinese paintings deer are portrayed with lingzhi. The rabbit, called in Chinese the Jade Rabbit or the Moon Rabbit, is also a symbol of longevity. It is believed to live on the moon with the Moon Goddess who never grows old and who makes a mysterious elixir of immortality with a mortar and pestle.