(Photo: Associated Press)
The Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman is well-known for his enormous public sculptures of animals, such as ducks, rabbits, snails, and toads. This particular rabbit is in Taoyuan, Taiwan. He's napping on an airport hangar at a defunct naval base. Hofman's plastic and wood bunny would stand 82 feet tall if he stood up.
Taiwan's government commissioned the sculpture for the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, an event focusing on the cycle of moon. Moon Rabbit, a figure in folklore throughout East Asia, is a central part during the festival. He is a traditional symbol of kindness and generosity. The Wall Street Journal shares two tales of this rabbit:
Of the many folktales associated with the festival that celebrates the brightest full moon of the year, one involves three fairies who disguise themselves as miserable old men and ask some animals for food. When they approach the rabbit, it has nothing to offer the “old men” but instead leaps into a blazing fire and cooks itself for them. The fairies are so moved by the rabbit’s sacrificial spirit that they grant it immortal residence in the “moon palace.”
Another tale says the rabbit was a pet to Chang Er, who was forced to leave her husband on earth after accidentally swallowing a pill of immortality and became a goddess on the moon.