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Weiwei's sunflower seeds rehomed at Tate

  • Date: 7 March 2012
  • Area: National
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei holds up a handful of his sunflower seeds

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei holds up a handful of his sunflower seeds. Credit: Fiona Hanson (PA)

Contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has sold eight million of the 100 million seeds from his work Sunflower Seeds to the Tate.

The porcelain seed shells will soon be a permanent fixture for art lovers at the gallery in London. They have been bought from the Chinese artist with funding support from the Art Fund and Tate International Council.

The hand crafted seeds weigh in at around 10 tonnes and can be shown either in the shape of a tall conical sculpture spanning a diameter of five metres or as a square or rectangle, 10 centimetres deep.

Ai Weiwei, who is considered to be the most powerful figure in the art industry, had created the sunflower seeds piece to portray a political idea.

The seeds' meaning comes from the time of the Cultural Revolution when images of Chairman Mao were distributed, of him as the sun while the Chinese citizens were depicted as sunflowers facing towards him.