In this piece, I am exploring the folk tales behind the cute icon of the Beckoning Cat. What is a cultural identity to an immigrant? How to cultures borrow from each other? How does hybridity in culture develop? In an attempt to seek answers to these questions, I focused on the origins of the Beckoning Cat. The Beckoning Cat originated from Japanese folk tales. There are almost 7 different origin myths, however they all have similar themes: the human is having trouble with the environment, and divinity steps in the form of a cat to improce the human’s relationship with the environment. Now, the Beckoning Cat is an icon of prosperity; and the Chinese communities in the US have adopted the icon as their own, even placing the icon with Chinese shrines and religious artifacts. The Beckoning Cat’s place in almost every Chinese restaurant in the US is so commonplace, it is a popular misconception that the Beckoning Cat is Chinese in origin. In Beckoning Beibao, I created a wearable backpack that glimpse into a miniature environment re-telling, in a non-linear format, the origin of the Beckoning Cat using a figure found in a local Chinese shop. In order to view the story, one person is asked to wear the backpack, taking the role of the story-teller, and the other participants look through the holes on the backpack.

/// Animation Peepshow

/// Wearable Sculpture

/// Toy Theater