In 1995, Ai Weiwei deliberately dropped a Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) urn, capturing the action in three frames. The images show the artist shattering this ancient vessel, an act recalling the reckless destruction of traditional relics during the years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Two decades later, the artist recreated the three images using Lego bricks. Ai has used the medium since 2007, but recently has been drawn to the democratizing effect of the building blocks in image-making. Unlike the Han urn, Lego bricks are mass-manufactured to exact specifications. Each individual piece is created exactly alike any other piece. This pixel quality lends itself to a new way of making pictures, akin to digital imagery.


  • Title: Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn
  • Creator: Ai Weiwei
  • Date Created: 2016
  • Physical Dimensions: 240 × 200 × 3 cm cada
  • Rights: Courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio
  • Medium: Lego bricks

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