|Leaving the nest: Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman joins fans at a farewell party for his work Rubber Duck at the Summer Palace in Beijing on Thursday. [Photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily]
By Zheng Xin
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- The 18-meter-tall rubber duck on display in Beijing since September has lured increasing numbers of visitors to the capital from around the country.
The creation of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will bid farewell to the capital from Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace on Sunday.
Li Linji, deputy head of the palace, one of two parks where the duck has been displayed in the city, said on Thursday it has clearly increased the number of visitors from around China.
More than 666,000 people flocked to the Summer Palace during the seven-day National Day holiday starting on Oct 1, with admission ticket sales exceeding 20 million yuan ($3.3 million), Li said.
Some 133,000 visitors flocked to the venue on Oct 4 alone.
"It's been very popular in Beijing," Hofman said at a news conference, adding that the duck reminds people of childhood and happiness.
It made its debut in the city on Sept 6 at the International Garden Expo Park before moving to the Summer Palace on Sept 23.
The Rubber Duck exhibition was part of activities heralding Beijing Design Week, which ran from Sept 26 to Oct 3.
Before arriving in Beijing, the giant duck was on display in 13 cities in nine countries.
"Mistakes were made because of a lack of communication, but it's good to see the duck has connected people from across the globe," Hofman said.
Jia Zhikang, a 60-year-old living in Beijing's Haidian district, said the duck was a surprising guest at the Summer Palace.
"I took my granddaughter there today to bid farewell to the duck, because she is a great fan of it," he said.
"The duck is a big attraction because both children and adults like it a lot. Hopefully, it will return some day."
Data from the Beijing Design Week organizing committee show that 30,000 small rubber ducks sold out during the National Day holiday.
The committee has come up with an additional 20,000 that are expected to sell out before their giant counterpart leaves Beijing.
Imitations of the giant duck have also been on sale in parks and online.
On Thursday, three days before the giant duck's departure, many vendors were still selling copies outside the Summer Palace. Many tourists were taking pictures of the duck while holding the imitations.
Before the duck arrived in the city, a replica wearing a green vest and accompanied by seven inflated duck eggs appeared in the city's Yuyuantan Park.
Cities including Hangzhou, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenyang and Wuxi have also reported the appearance of imitation duck products since May.
"It's an honor that your work is copied, but it's also a shame that people take advantage of your success for their benefit," Hofman said.
"If you really want to help China progress and give a boost to your country, you should never copy things but come up with fresh ideas yourself."
(Source: China Daily)