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Monday, Sep 15, 2014

Asia

Giant white rabbit on display in Taiwan show damaged by fire as workers dismantle it

AFP | Monday, Sep 15, 2014

TAIPEI - Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's giant white rabbit, which drew more than two million visitors on show in Taiwan, was partially damaged by a fire when workers were trying to dismantle it, organisers said on Monday.

The left hand, left ear and part of the torso of the rabbit, designed exclusively for the 11-day show in northern Taoyuan county that ended on Sunday, were burnt after a fire started on the lawn where it was being displayed, organisers said.

The cause of the incident is being investigated, while officials suspected that the engine of a truck used to remove the rabbit might have overheated and caused the fire, they added.

The beaming bunny, which was 25m tall and made of waterproof paper material, wood and polystyrene, was to be recycled after the show.

The creation was inspired by ancient Chinese folklore about a goddess who lived on the moon and her companion - a rabbit which constantly pounded the elixir of life for her.

Another of Hofman's works, the famous giant inflatable duck exhibit, caused a sensation worldwide and particularly in Asia.

Since 2007 the duck - which was 16.5m tall - has travelled to 19 cities in 11 countries, including Brazil, Australia, the United States and Hong Kong, on its journey around the world.

It has also spawned many replicas.

Last year, three Taiwanese cities displayed their versions of the creation. But all were forced temporarily to suspend their exhibitions due to bad weather or damage.

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