Rabbit in Five Elements
Textiles, embroidery, acrylic, mini wood clothespins, 2015
In Chinese metaphysics, there are five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element corresponds with a particular color, spacial direction, and mythical beast. Wood is green or blue, the vivid colors of life, guarded by the Green Dragon of the East. Fire is red, guarded by the Vermilion Bird of the South. Earth is yellow or brown, the essence of minerals and soil, guarded by the Central Yellow Dragon. Metal is white, guarded by the White Tiger of the West. Water is black, like primordial depths, guarded by the Black Tortoise of the North.
Each Chinese Zodiac also has an element, cycling through on a much faster 5-year interval rather than the 12 for the animals. Your birth element is said to dictate your health and heavenly bodies that will influence you.
These dresses represent each element as guarded by a rabbit invoking the qualities of the original beast. Qipao, the dresses here, are a traditional Chinese outfit still worn by women today, but was obligatory for all sexes for a period from 1636 to 1911.