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September 12, 2012

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Hole-filled statues spook exercise fans

A SET of sculptures encouraging residents to exercise may face demolition after the public said they are scared away by those "iron Taichi players" with holes all over their bodies, the city greenery authority said.

Some residents said fewer people were doing morning exercises after the sculptures were set up at an intersection in Hongkou District last year as the sculptures occupied their workout site and the men's images looked like they were "shot with their bodies full of gun holes."

The case follows the controversial set of "mating pigs" sculptures in central China's Henan Province, which raised questions as to why public sculptures sometimes fail to please residents.

In the local case, the sculptures at Guangling No. 4 Road and Liangcheng Road are seen playing Taichi with more than 60 holes in each body. Instead of a human face, each sculpture has five holes in its head. They immediately sparked heated discussions after netizens uploaded photos on microblogging site

"It's ironic that the place used to be filled with people doing exercises in the evening, but no exercisers came here after the sculptures were established aiming to encourage them to do more exercises," according to netizen "Huang Yuan."

"Targets full of gun holes. Are they trying to warn exercisers of the hidden danger of playing Taichi?" asked another.

Some residents said they believed the designer used holes to prevent them from being blown down by strong winds, while some said the holes were acupuncture points.

Removal a possibility

An official surnamed Shen with the local greenery bureau told Shanghai Daily that the sculptures' designer told him the holes mean "change in times and areas," but even he couldn't figure that out. "All public sculptures must be accepted by most residents. If more people come to complain about them, we may consider removing them," said Shen.

Earlier, two sculptures with pig images on a landmark plaza in Zhengzhou City of Henan Province also attracted criticism as residents complained that the male and female pigs look like they were mating. The designer said the sculptures were showing a young pig massaging his mother, indicating the importance of filial piety.

Xue Liyong, an urban planning expert, suggested building more sculptures memorizing residents or officials who contributed to the city, with candidates voted on by residents to get them involved.


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