Knickknack Peddler

Knickknack Peddler, 120x400cm, 2002

The folk history of “knickknack peddlers” is a very long one in China. Itinerant peddlers selling their wares even today often go around neighborhoods in cities and villages. In the past, they served as an avenue of information for locals to learn about the outside world, as they spread information to the far countryside when there was no telephone, cable or email. At the same time, “Peddlers” could act as spies in Chinese revolutionary periods. There are many historical references in the ancient painting depicting a “Knickknack Peddler” on which my photo is based. Many ancient painters have expressed their feelings towards life through comparisons to the life of the “Peddlers”. For example, the painting that inspired my work is from the Song Dynasty, wherein the painter aimed at expressing the joys of childhood. I replaced the ancient items with modern popular food, brands, etc etc. Perhaps in the future, “Peddlers” will disappear from our society, despite the important role they play as a symbol of societal reconstruction. Personally, I predict “Peddlers” will one day be replaced by “Super Markets”.

Print PDF