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“A Haven of Peace and Happiness”







(Beijing, December 5, 2012) – The Opposite House is pleased to present A Haven of Peace and Happiness – an unconventional Christmas tree by renowned sculpture artist Laurens Tan represented by Red Gate Gallery.


On display through January 6, 2013, the ‘non-tree’ Christmas tree is constructed out of stainless steel depicting a 4-character Chinese idiom shiwai taoyuan or A Haven of Peace and Happiness. The characters are rotated in 3D around a central axis and read top to bottom to form a totem structure. The Christmas tree will be nearly 5.2 meters (17 feet) in height.


The idiom, shiwai taoyuan, is derived from the story, Peach-Blossom Spring by eastern Jin Dynasty storyteller, Tao Yuanming. The tale is of a fisherman who discovers a village called Peach-Blossom Spring, whose residents are descendants of refugees from the Qin Dynasty. The village is a paradise isolated from the outside world with its inhabitants living in peace and contentment. The story ends with the fisherman leaving the village to return home but he is never able to find utopia again.


Tan is a Dutch-born Chinese artist focusing his pursuits on meaning and context beyond their face value in his study of Chinese language. Tan shares that “reflecting on the tradition of Christmas in the context of a Chinese idiom reminds us of how contemporary Beijing should see itself benefiting from the wisdom of the past.”


“It’s wonderful to continue our tradition of a non-tree tree with Laurence’s installation bringing together Chinese folklore and the spirit of Christmas under one roof. It’s a pertinent reminder for us and our guests to remember to keep things simple during and beyond this festive season,” says Anthony Ross, area general manager for Swire Hotels in Beijing.   


Caption:  A Haven of Peace and Happiness


About Red Gate Gallery

Founded in 1991 by Australian Brian Wallace, Red Gate has been the platform for many of China’s leading arti
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