A man in Chongqing made headlines again this week after his mosaic made out of a thousand foreign banknotes came to the attention of Chinese netizens.
Artist He Peiqi, who last month constructed a detailed replica of his hometown of Chongqing, told reporters that in order to mark the lively and beautiful early summer, he decided to create a mosaic using 1,000 foreign banknotes.
“Most of the banknotes belong to European and Asian countries and are worth an estimated 10,000 yuan in total,” He Peiqi told reporters. “I purchased the banknotes from other currency collectors. For about six months, I collected all of these. After that, I spent another month making the mosaic.”
“When I was making the sky, I selected banknotes with blue color. If I made flowers, I folded the banknotes in patterns. Only doing it this way could I make the picture look more vivid.”
After the mosaic was published on June 15, a large number of netizens were dubious as to whether it was legal to create works of art using foreign banknotes. It is illegal to use Chinese banknotes to do so.
“I won’t do things against the law. Before I started, I had learned the related laws and regulations. Chinese law only states restrictions on the use of Chinese banknotes, but not foreign ones.” He Peiqi told reporters.
“China’s law states that damaging renminbi is an illegal conduct but no such regulation on foreign currency. He isn’t against the law.” a staffer from People’s Bank of China Chongqing branch was quoted as saying.
Hu Guangwei, a professor from Social Sciences in Sichuan said that making arts out of foreign currency isn’t against the law in China but the conduct shouldn’t be encouraged as it shows disrespect to the countries that issue the currencies.
He Peiqi said he has no plans to sell the mosaic but instead plans to keep it.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via Chongqing Economic Times]