This accordion book is an artistic representation of the Chinese zodiac and its origin myth in which the Jade Emperor had the animals compete in a great race to determine how the years would be named. The book depicts the twelve animals racing towards the finish line in order from last place to first. The finish line’s ribbon is strung between posts of the heavenly gate and continues on either side of the back cover. They can be tied when the book is closed. The title was drawn in a calligraphic technique inspired by Chinese artist, Xu Bing, which combines English letters into structures resembling Chinese characters.
The back of the book incorporates hand-cut rice paper silhouettes along the bottom which represent the river the animals must cross in their race. The colophon was carefully spaced to mimic the circular inset on the front cover, echoing the zodiac’s connections to the lunar calendar. It sits gracefully above the rice paper river like a moon. Ed. 1 of 3.