Statue of a woman breastfeeding her mother-in-law dismantled for upsetting tourists and netizens
A statue of a woman breastfeeding her mother-in-law, inspired in an ancient story that highlights the good virtue of filial piety, installed in a scenic spot in East China’s Zhejiang Province, was dismantled on Sunday for allegedly upsetting the public.
The statues in the Yingpan Mountain Scenic Spot in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, has drawn wide criticism and even disgust from tourists and netizens, who claimed that it is hard to understand why the woman breastfeeds her mother-in-law.
A staff member from the management office of the scenic spot replied that the statue was inspired in a story from an ancient Chinese book that collects 24 filial stories from the past. In one of them a woman from a poor family breastfed her sick mother-in-law as she had just given birth to a baby.
The statue was intended to educate people about filial duty. However, instead of being educational, it pushed away visitors and netizens alike.
Similarly, a Beijing park sparked controversy in September 2019 after using statues to recreate filial stories, such as the son who tasted his father’s feces to learn about his illness, and the man who buried his 3-year-old son alive to save food for his mother. These stories all came from the ancient Chinese book The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars.
Filial piety is a traditional value that Chinese people have been passing from generation to generation since China’s Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC- 771 BC).
Chinese netizens said the connotation and pursuit of morality have changed with time and some outdated interpretations about filial piety in the ancient book should be discarded.