When was the last time you got excited about rice? If you answered “never,” that”s alright. Now you can appreciate the staple grain in a whole new way, thanks to the meticulous work of rice field workers in the northeastern province of Liaoning, China. The people there, who belong to the Sibe ethnic group, carefully plot out massive designs in their rice paddies, and plant different types of rice to create living, growing images.
This field shows Nezha, a deity of protection in Chinese folk religion. In some legends, he has the ability to spit rainbows.
Each design is completely planned out beforehand. Different types of rice plants will grow at different rates, reach different heights, and come in different colors. All of these properties are used to create intricate images showing animals, landscapes, Chinese deities, and much more. Other colors are created by leaving gaps between the plants. The rice paddy art in Liaoning is part of a theme park, which spans 453,000 square meters and draws tourists in every year. The name of the park actually comes from the film Inception, which translates to Dao Meng Kong Jian, or “space of rice dreams” in Chinese.
Each piece has a specific theme and title.
Rice paddy art goes deeper than luring in tourists. For the Sibe people, creating art in rice fields is an old tradition. Rice field art is created as a form of prayer, a way to ask for blessings from the gods. Each year, the farmers plot out a different image in their fields.
Many times, the images are distorted slightly so they look in proportion from a particular vantage point.
Seen from a different angle, this Marilyn Monroe-inspired field takes on different proportions.
Besides classic Chinese themes, some farmers like to reference Western pop culture, too.
If you don”t believe that this is real, here”s what it looks like from the ground.
You can see the different varieties of rice plants that make up the design.
The main attraction of this theme park is obviously the field art, which can be viewed by visitors from elevated walkways, but the park also has facilities for camping, rafting, and even to host weddings. So the next time you eat rice, remember: it might have come from a beautiful field!