Neither Increasing nor Decreasing – Li Mengyun

Handheld prayer wheel with a horn handle


Li Mengyun 李梦云

Artist Biography

Li Mengyun (Lemon Lee) was born in 1990. He graduated with a BFA in 2021 from Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and a MFA from Shanghai University in 2016. An emerging artist, he has won several awards including the Gold Award in “Shiwan Cup” Youth Ceramic Art Competition in 2017, Future Designer Award, Committee of Shanghai Art & Design in 2016 and SAYA Embrace Project, 2016.

International exhibitions include: “The Art of Fire”, National Museum of Art, Hyogo, Japan, 2019; International Ceramic Exhibition in Croatia, 2018; Art! Vancouver, Canada, 2018 and National Taiwan Craft research and Development Institute, Taiwan, 2016.

Exhibitions in China include: “Shiwan Cup” Youth Ceramic Art Competition, Guangzhou; The 8th Thousand Cups Exhibition, Hangzhou; The 2nd China Contemporary Ceramic Art Exhibition, NAMOC, Beijing; “Dream & Future” 2016 Shanghai Art and Design Exhibition, Shanghai; Contemporary Asian Ceramic Invitation Exhibition, Sichuan international tourism exchange Expo Centre, Chengdu; “Time Stage Play”, Shanghai Peninsula Art Museum, Shanghai; The 8th China Modern Handicrafts Art School Exhibition Works, Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, Wuhan; Instituto Italiano di Culture-Shanghai Award “Arte Chiama Arte”,III Edition, Shanghai Institute of Visual Art.

Artist Statement

The prayer wheel is a meditation tool that rotates and chants the six-character Daming Mantra. It is named with ‘Zhuan’ in character, which contains many religious teachings in the theoretical system of Tibetan Buddhism. ‘Zhuan’ can be extended to the metaphor of the Dharma like the wheel rotating, passing on, never stopping, and the Buddha’s teachings are complete and perfect.

The practitioners who participated in it used the symbolic meaning provided by the chanting of the Six-character Mantra to visualize and enlighten, corresponding to the Buddha. The six-characters are: Ong, Ma, Ni, Bei, Mei, Hong. Among them, “Ni” means the original wisdom of yellow, which eliminates the suffering of human life, old age, sickness and death.

This work uses the color symbol of “Ni” and continues its symbolic meaning to the human world. The work signifies the individual through a single triangle ceramic piece. The external space maps social groups through repeated ceramic cubes. A single triangle is placed on a superconducting levitation device to strengthen the behavior of “self-turning”, expressing the dialectical state of individual dissociation and desire in contemporary society.


Selected Buddhist Object from Chiddingstone Castle

01.1494 Handheld prayer wheel with a horn handle

Handheld prayer wheel with a horn handle, bronze drum inlaid with stones. Tibet, 19th century.

Height: 26cm, Width: 6cm

One turn of a prayer wheel is believed to be the same as reciting many mantras, or Buddhist prayers. Inside each prayer wheel is a rolled-up strip of paper with mantras printed on it. Buddhist practitioners turn prayer wheels so that the weight attached to the drum causes it to spin. The turning of a prayer wheel builds merit, or good karma, which enables a practitioner to be reborn in a better life. The prayer wheel also sends out merit and blessings into the world to benefit others. This prayer wheel is decorated with rows of inlaid coral and turquoise. The chain and weight which would have enabled it to spin are now missing.

“Delta”, Mosaic with magnetic suspension