World

Trump-like statue rules the roost in China

The statue, which was installed outside a shopping mall in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan, was built to celebrate the coming Year of the Rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar.

Chinatopix via Associated Press

The statue, which was installed outside a shopping mall in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan, was built to celebrate the coming Year of the Rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar.

HONG KONG — President-elect Donald Trump’s golden quiff, bushy eyebrows, and preening gestures were immortalized this week in China — though perhaps not in a way that he would like.

They appeared on a giant rooster statue, just above some three-toed feet and a blood-red wattle that hangs below a gilded nose and mouth.

Advertisement

The statue, which was installed outside a shopping mall in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan, was built to celebrate the coming Year of the Rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar and comes less than a month before Trump’s inauguration. It is 23 feet tall.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have been especially jittery in recent weeks. The tension is due in large part to Trump, who belittled China during his presidential campaign and caused a diplomatic stir this month by making clear that he views the central basis for diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing — known as the One China policy — as up for negotiation.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

But reaction to the rooster on Chinese social media was light and full of positive emoji.

Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said Tuesday that onlookers in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, had praised the statue as a “perfect blend of Chinese and Western cultures.”

“It’s not bad looking,” Zhang Guoqiang, an employee at the Yihui Japanese Restaurant at the North America N1 Art Shopping Center, where the statue is, said by telephone Thursday.

Advertisement

Inflatable “Trump chicken” replicas were on sale at Taobao, an online shopping bazaar, with a 32-foot version advertised for $1,725.

Casey Latiolais, an illustrator and animator in Seattle, said in a telephone interview that he completed the design in early November for Beijing Reliance Commercial Land, a real estate company that had contacted him through Behance, a website where artists post their portfolios. Latiolais said the company had asked only for a statue to commemorate the Year of the Rooster and did not mention Trump.

Latiolais, 30, declined to comment on why he had given the rooster Trump-like features. But he said he had been surprised by the size of the final product, which is made of fiberglass.

“This was way more yuge than I expected,” he wrote on Twitter.

Latiolais said he was also surprised when the statue was “sort of bipartisanly looked at as funny” by his friends and family — including his parents, who voted for Trump.

It was not the first time since the US presidential election that people in China had likened Trump to a bird with notable hair.

In November, photos by a Chinese journalist of a golden pheasant with a blond pompadour and a red body circulated widely on social media and were published online by People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s main newspaper. The bird, which lives in a safari park in the eastern city of Hangzhou, became a star attraction there and a muse for Hsiaohan Chen, a political cartoonist in Taipei.

Trump has a penchant for lashing out at his critics, however minor, on Twitter. But as of Thursday afternoon, he had not commented on either bird.

President Obama has been compared to at least one avian species: the Western striolated puffbird, which lives in South America and bears the scientific name Nystalus obamai.

In a 2013 book chapter that proposed the species name, a team of American and Brazilian scientists said Obama had an “outstanding professional record as a fair-minded, resolute and visionary humanitarian.”

“With the name of this puffbird, we are pleased to recognize Obama’s remarkably positive and pervasive influence on the world stage and, in particular, we support his staunch initiative to bring development of solar energy to the forefront at a time when this obviously ideal global energy solution is, incredibly, still an uphill battle,” the scientists wrote.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.