As far as sculptor Daphne Gillen is...

As far as sculptor Daphne Gillen is concerned, Chinese philosophy has gone to the dogs--and the roosters and some “clunky” bears, and . . . .

Gillen’s work--including one featuring some “generic critters” on a casserole--is currently on display at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena in a special exhibition called “Cosmic Order: Sculptural Selections from the I Ching.”

“It’s kind of what I do,” Gillen explained. “I use standard utilitarian forms and put things on them.”

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is a Chinese philosophical work that first appeared during the Hsia Dynasty, 2205-1766 BC.


The book is commonly used for fortunetelling. Gillen and her husband, for example, throw three coins six times while thinking of a specific question. The configurations that turn up form a hexagram that represents such concepts as grace, purity, joy, family or stagnation, she said. After looking up the pattern in the I Ching, the book should provide an answer to the question or at least point the way through another six throws.

“So far I Ching’s been very good to us,” Gillen said. “It has never led us astray.”

When the museum asked her to do a show, “they said Oriental theme and I came up with the theme that’s closest to my heart,” she said.

The pieces feature animals interacting with each other to represent I Ching hexagrams.


“I’ve given a humorous twist to each of the hexagram characters,” Gillen said.

For example, grace is represented by a pair of father-and-son bears.

“They’re these clunky bears and they’re the antithesis of grace,” the artist said.

The bears and the rest of the ceramic zoo will be at the museum, 46 N. Los Robles Ave., through March 12. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $3, $1.50 for seniors, students and children over 5. Children under 5 are free.

“This is a show for fun,” said Gillen. “If you come to the show, you’ll laugh.”