Tag Archives: statue

Mannekin Pis Has a Chinese Brother

A naughty statue in Tianning —  near where Tesco used to be on Zhongwu Da Dao 中吴大道


“I once walked into a housing estate and saw fountain statues of little boys peeing.”

A friend of mine once said this to me over dinner. She said she was new to Changzhou at the time, and like me, liked to aimlessly wander as a way to learn about a new city.

“Where is this?”

“Sorry, I forgot.”

“You know,” I said, “I am now going to obsessively look for that housing estate, now.”

She flashed an evil grin. “That’s why I told you about it.”

And, I went looking. I walked onto many housing estates over the course of a week, and I almost never found the weirdness my lady friend described. Eventually, I discovered something close, but it was not the urinating fountains my friend spoke of. It was a small statue of a naked little boy. This was on a housing estate on Zhongwu Avenue 中吴大道 near the bridge to Wujin / Hutang.  As soon as I saw it, I started laughing, hard. It was not the first time I had seen this little boy.

Actually, it was a replica of an infamous fountain in Brussels, Belgium. It looks forged in bronze, and it depicts a little boy urinating into a small pool of water. The statue’s name is Mannekin Pis, and it’s a famous landmark, and souvenir shops make a fortune selling related merchandise to bewildered tourists with WTF on their minds. It’s even to the point where the statue has a dedicated blog.

The fact that there is a replica in Changzhou doesn’t surprise me. There are lots of new construction that actively tries to imitate European architecture and atmosphere. This housing estate, and the mostly empty shopping center next to it, has a decidedly Euro theme. As a reference point, there used to be a Tesco on Zhongwu. It’s that area. At Global Harbour in Xinbei, for example, there is a whole atrium with European style faux paintings. This is at the uppermost level, on the interior of a dome ceiling. As for the housing estate my friend stumbled onto, I largely suspect what she saw there were also Manekin Pis replicas.

Mannekin Pis in Brussels. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Mannekin Pis in Brussels. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Laozi in Luoxi

IMG_20160520_181014Laozi 老子 — also known as Lao-Tze or Lao-Tzu — is one of the most central and venerated writers in Daoism. He penned the Dao De Jing, which is a foundation text in Chinese and Asian thought. If you walk into a Daoist / Taoist temple, you are bound to find a statue of this guy somewhere. He is usually smiling. You also sometimes just find statues of him in seemingly random places.

Like some figures also found in Buddhism, he can be taken in two roles. Some look up on as a philosophical figure and appreciate his thinking; others view him as a religious figure in Taoism that can be worshiped and prayed to. Laozi is often considered a contemporary of Confucius, and the two belief systems contrast. Confucius tends to be a realist, and Laozi tends to be more ideal. Confucius writes about how to fit into the social world around you, and Laozi does not. He was more interested in the greater world within. Even though he seems to be speaking of internalizing things, his statues usually have him smiling. You also sometimes just find statues of him in seemingly random places.

I found him once in a semi-abandoned Tibetan Spring Garden 藏春园 in Louxi. This is a township out towards Changzhou’s airport in Xinbei Somebody who used to live in the area once told me a restaurant used to be a main attraction, but it packed up and moved. As for the statue itself, Laozi is sitting with a young student and expounding his considerable wisdom. It was hard to get a good picture since the statue was slightly overgrown.