According to Chinese legend, the Tiger was once considered the Guardian Spirit of Agriculture. Long ago, farmers would pray to the Tiger for a bountiful harvest to feed the village and their families. To ensure plenty of rain during the growing season, the farmers would pay respects to the Tiger so that it would scare off the drought demon. Priding themselves in celebrating California’s spirit, identity, and flavors, Lucky California wanted to honor the Guardian Spirit of Agriculture with their Harvester Tiger.
The Harvester brings good luck and abundance to all who greet her. The design features the plum tree, a symbol of perseverance, strength, and bravery for the year of the Tiger. The tree is shown bearing auspicious “fruit.” The golden ingot (yuan bao) and dumplings represent wealth, the fish represents abundance and prosperity, and candies represent wishes for a rich and sweet life. The depiction of a fruitful plum tree represents new hope and endless possibilities. In the new year, the water tiger will bring plenty of rainfall to California to grow sufficient foods for everyone.
Artist Bio: Deyi (Robin) Zhao
Deyi (Robin) Zhao was born in Jilin, China, and came to the US when she was 9 years old. Her grandmother, Yumei Hou, worked as the main carver for the SF Chinese New Year statues and her father worked building floats. Robin grew up helping paint and decorate the floats and loved seeing all the objects for the floats come together piece-by-piece. This year, she enjoyed the opportunity to design and paint her own Tiger and is excited to see it as a public art piece displayed in the city.
Being surrounded by both traditional art forms and new digital media, Robin has developed a keen eye for art and design. In addition to her years of working on Parade Floats, at the young age of 19 she has also taught various arts and crafts classes to children and adults, interned at YouTube, and is now in her second year of college at the California College of the Arts.