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January 19, 2010

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Taming of Taiwan's tiniest tiger

A TAIWANESE man has tamed the tiger, shrinking the Chinese zodiac animal into a sculpture smaller than a grain of rice.

Chen Forng-shean, who has been sculpting for some 30 years, has carved the world's tiniest tiger at just a millimeter high by a millimeter long ahead of the Chinese lunar Year of the Tiger which begins on February 14.

Chen said the beast nearly got the best of him after 10 attempts to create it.

"If the hands shake a little bit, the work would jump away and disappear," said Chen, 54. "For this tiger, the toughest part is because it is three-dimensional. It can be looked at from any angle and still seem very lively.

"Coloring is also very hard, with the patterns on his back and the red color on his tongue," he said.

The single animal, created from resin after three months of intensive labor, was finished in November and Chen said it was worth NT$3 million (US$94,200), although it is not for sale.

Tigers, which rotate with 11 other animals on the Chinese lunar year zodiac, bring variable luck, being dependable and unpredictable at the same time.

In taming the tiger, Chen said he had already felt that unpredictability.


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