Eight Treasures Mask
Mature rice paper, watercolour, fabric hand-cut and sewn, two layers
8 units, 22 x 12 x 9 cm each

The first Eight Treasures Mask was created at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a symbolic object that provides both physical protection from illness and the nostalgic comfort of a favourite meal. It is a small-scale intimate paper-cut installation, combining traditional folding techniques with freehand cutting. Expanding on the traditional paper-cut, which is viewed as a folk craft, the work incorporates new motifs to narrate contemporary stories and emotions.

The name ‘Eight Treasures’ comes from a traditional ceremonial dish popular in China, Eight Treasures Congee. People prepare it to usher in an abundant harvest, and to bring about good health, fulfilment, happiness, and auspicious tidings.

The first Eight Treasures Mask series was acquired by the Powerhouse Museum, MAAS in 2020.

The Eight Treasures, according to Chinese medicine, function to clear the airways and strengthen the immune system.

Dried lily bulb 百合干 moistens the lungs, refreshes the mind, and soothes the respiratory tract.

Chestnuts 栗子 are rich in vitamin C, which can improve human immunity, and increase brain function.

Lotus seed 莲子 nourishes the organs, especially the heart and digestive system. It can strengthen one’s essence and energy. It repairs the body and the soul. 

Almonds 杏仁 have a special aroma. They nourish the lungs, relieve coughs, and relax the intestines.

Jujube 红枣 is sweet and fibre-rich. The jujube fruit enriches human energy and nourishes qi.

Raisins 葡萄干 are fragrant and sweet. They are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They can boost iron levels and keep your bones strong.

Longan 桂圆 fruit is warming and sweet. It helps reduce harmful elements in your body that damage cells and cause disease. Longan nourishes the blood and settles the mind.

Walnuts 核桃 are rich in many nutrients, which can prevent cell aging, strengthen the brain, and enhance memory. It strengthens the lungs’ ability to draw deeper breaths.