Li Niang Rou

There is a traditional custom in China, especially in the north, where a specific piece of meat from the pig, called “Li Niang Rou”,is supposed to be given to the bride’s mother as a gift from the groom’s family on the wedding day. When a girl is married it is seen that the husband is taking away the mother’s daughter. In light of this and as a ‘replacement’ for the daughter, the man offers this piece of meat. 

I learned that “Li Niang Rou” was at my cousin’s wedding. I had never heard of this custom before, nor had I ever seen the killing of pigs with my own eyes.* In order to see the process of killing pigs, I got up at 4 o’clock in the morning and waited.* After dawn, the five or six men worked together to pull the pig out of the pigsty and tied it up and kill it step by step. I saw a living pig dying in front of me. The scene was so bloody that I dared not look straight at it, but I was curious.

I feel the cruelty of human nature. We can kill other animals for our own desire. But when a fresh life died step by step, a living pig finally turned into a piece of pork, I felt it didn’t matter. Because like the pork that is sold in the market on weekdays, it feels like it’s just a commodity. I was thinking at that time that we should eat meat products on weekdays. We use meat as a commodity, buy and sell it with money, and use it as food to maintain the nutrition our bodies need. But forget that the meat also comes from a living life.

This piece of meat called “Li Niang Rou”

I immediately considered myself to be a “Li Niang Rou” when I witnessed this practice at my sister’s wedding.

 As I grew older, I spent increasingly less time with my parents and, gradually, separated from them. I used this image to illustrate the butcher-like process of “Li Niang Rou”: an animated being exchanged for a lifeless piece of meat reflects certain feelings of alienation. In the final presentation, I separated the entire screen and presented it in a sixteen-part demonstration to create a deeper impression of this sense of alienation.

Exhibition view: Cookhouse Gallery_”Obsession”

Exhibition view:Today Art Museum,Project Space.