Tuesday, January 25, 2011

katy's forbidden gardens, 1996-2011

flashback to july 2005: a sweaty boy and his equally sweaty mother (not pictured) out in 100+ degree weather experiencing the forbidden gardens in katy, texas

it is with great sadness that i read about the upcoming closure of forbidden gardens on swamplot. and its reason for closing is as absurd as any other in the ephemeral city that is houston: urban planners have decreed the need for a parkway to alleviate traffic, or as swamplot cleverly proclaims, to facilitate cultural exchange programs between the katy mills mall and the houston premium outlets in cypress. the houston chronicle has a bit to say about it, too. c'est la vie.

forbidden gardens is, in short, a 1/20th scale recreation of the forbidden city in beijing, china and a 1/3rd recreation of the tomb of emperor qin shi huang-di. each of the 6000 little terracotta warriors were made by hand to represent an individual person. it was financed by hong kong ex-pat and seriously reclusive businessman ira poon, who recognized a little of his homeland in the rice fields of katy (and who had a singularly impressive vision for a site). $20 million dollars later, the 108-acre forbidden gardens was born. it is site-specific and will therefore be destroyed once deinstalled; i'd love to know when the terracotta figures are going to be auctioned off as i could certainly use one here in the triangle.

if you are in the houston/katy area and have any interest at all in seeing this quite-cool-and-soon-to-be-gone installation, go by before january 30!

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