Unlike Phantom Badger, Iron Panda isn’t a name for some dinky looking piece of military equipment. It’s an actual statue in China! Made by Bi Heng, an alumnus of the Sculpture Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, it’s 9 meters high and 7 meters wide. The statue is displayed in Shenyang, Liaoning province of China, and is a wonderful mishmash of panda, Marvel’s charming alcoholic arms-dealer-turned-superhero Iron Man and Chinese culture.
Bi Heng’s intended meaning of the sculpture goes deeper than that. The sad panda represents mankind’s troubles with ecology while Iron Man is symbolic of human technological advancement “advocating of freedom and autonomy. It is symbol of high technology overriding natural hegemonic in western countries.” And the Tao comes from eastern mysticism, the black and white circle “symbolizes everything in the world is allelopathy”. All together, the statue is statement that progress and preservation of nature should go hand-to-hand.
Bi Heng has also made a sculpture of a robot dragon, so we’re on track to making “Iron Panda vs. Robot Dragon” a movie.