Once upon a time on the greatest mountain in the world there was a living stone. For months it basked in the light of the heavens, nurtured like a child in the womb, until one day it birthed a wild monkey. His name was Sun WuKong, and he was the king of monkeys.
This is how the story of one of the world’s greatest epics begins—with a monkey and a rock. The saga, known as “Journey to the West,” follows the adventures of three heroes, including Sun WuKong, who are led by a Buddhist monk to attain knowledge from the lands to the West.
Oddly, Sun WuKong is a rather unlikely hero. He is wild, untamed, and endlessly mischievous. His antics never cease to trouble the monk on their journey. Still, it is for this reason that the monkey is so adored by the Chinese people. Sun’s humor, however troublesome, is the kind of energy that travels thousands of miles on the Silk Road.
In this way, the monkey epitomizes intelligence. It is clever and wily, and it is adaptable. In “Journey to the West,” the monkey king is capable of 72 transformations, at will turning into any form he chooses to trick demons and overcome obstacles in his adventures. In channeling that spirit of adaptability; of cleverness and playfulness, we may learn how to overcome our own life challenges.
Moving forward with the New Year, it is not simply courage and persistence that carries us in our journeys. Rather, it is the playfulness and intelligence that gives us strength. In emulating the spirit of the monkey, we may understand the value of lighthearted mischief that took the Monkey King and his companions across thousands of miles in their journey.
Inspired by the whimsical and vivacious year of the monkey, LIULI artists chose to express their own lighthearted take on 2016 in this collection. In creating Sun WuKong and other monkeys, the studio invites in the New Year as well as paying homage to classic Chinese mythology.