A giant golden bridge-shaped structure created by a modern Chinese artist was unveiled at the site of the ongoing Milan Expo on Monday.
The "Golden Bridge on Silk Road," measuring 28 meters in length and six meters in height, is intended to be interpreted as a cultural bridge between the East and the West, as well as a symbol of friendship, its designer Shu Yong said in an interview via telephone.
The 41-year-old artist referred to the structure of Zhaozhou Bridge when he started to build the artistic structure. Zhaozhou Bridge is a well-known bridge which was built over 1,400 years ago in north China and is still in use today.
To construct his bridge, Shu used disposable metals and 20,000 golden bricks the same size as those used to make the Great Wall.
The golden bricks are made of artificial amber that enables people to see different silk flowers inside. Those silk flowers are symbols of hundreds of sites along the land and maritime Silk Road.
In an earlier interview, Shu admitted he was inspired by the China-proposed "Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiative when building the bridge.
The Belt and Road initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 as a trade and infrastructure network. It will connect Asia to Europe and Africa through the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and is aimed at improving infrastructure, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Mario Masciullo, an Italian guest who was invited to the exhibition of the structure on Monday, said the artist's works calls attention to the history of China and highlights the artist's appeal to revive the Silk Road trade routes.
It is not the first time for the artist, who works in many mediums in both Western and Chinese styles -- including panting, photography, sculpture, installation and performance art, to use his works to spread diplomatic and cultural messages to his audience.
In 2013, Shu built a wall named Google Bricks at the China Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. It was a wall made of 1,500 resin bricks. On each brick, he printed one popular Chinese web phrase along with their English translation by Google. By doing that, the artist tried to illustrate misunderstanding between Chinese and Western cultures.
At the 2010 Shanghai Expo, Shu presented "China Kungfu", a huge square of 50 Bruce Lee-shaped red sculptures, each kicking a model of a world-famous landmark building, such as the Forbidden City, Eiffel Tower, and the British Museum.
After the "Golden Bridge" was selected to be displayed on Milan Expo, he has invited hundreds of Chinese and foreign people to sign their names on the bricks, sharing the best wishes for the interaction between East and West. In Milan, many Italians and visitors have volunteered to sign their names to show their support to the artist's goodwill creation.
(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2015)