Fun Frame Job – Chinese Zodiac

Close up of Dragon symbol
Close up of Dragon symbol

Several years ago, in the 90’s, I had a client who had brought in a group of Chinese zodiac symbols painted on and cut out of tissue paper.

These had been acquired on a trip to Asia and while not expensive souvenirs they held a great deal of meaning for my client.

Together we opted to showcase the range of the 60 year Chinese zodiac cycle: 5 elements each represented by one set of a twelve year cycle, each year represented by one of 12 animals.

The current 6o year cycle:

1960 – 1971 Metal
1972 – 1983 Water
1984 – 1995 Wood
1996 – 2007 Fire
2008 – 2019 Earth

The timing of this job was practically in the middle of the current cycle which runs from 1960 to 2019. So we started the rings in the center with 1960, the beginning of the 12 year cycle for Metal. Apologies for the poor photos, they are all that are available 10 – 15 years later.

Individual Chinese Zodiac pieces in mat and frame designed by Dorothea Mordan
Individual Chinese Zodiac pieces in mat and frame designed by Dorothea Mordan

The design in the center was hand drawn on museum board and the tissue paper symbols were mounted on the same board with an archival paste. The glass was offset from the work will shallow spacers under the rabbit (lip) of the frame, effectively a shallow shadowbox.

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