SF Asian Art Museum’s famous bronze rhino gets a Spanish-Filipino name

/ 11:40 PM March 09, 2015

San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s bronze rhinoceros. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

SAN FRANCISCO — The public has spoken. After tallying thousands of votes, the Asian Art Museum has determined the official nickname of its beloved 3,000 year-old Chinese bronze rhinoceros has an, Reina, meaning “queen” in Spanish and Filipino.

The new feminine moniker comes at an auspicious time–National Women’s History Month (museum mascots with female names are rare–chalk one up to a very discerning public for contributing to healthier gender equality).


The regal “Reina the Rhino” is the result of a naming contest held recently by the museum. More than 2,380 people from 22 countries suggested possible nicknames, and four–Reina, Bao Bei, Percy and Suma–were put up for a final vote.

More than 2,200 people voted, and Reina led the herd with 39 percent of the vote.


The Asian Art Museum thanks all those who helped find a friendly name for one of its most popular artworks (especially among kids), and the public is invited to swing by the museum’s galleries and say hello to Reina. 

The contest held from November 14, 2014 to February 15. The winning name was announced March 5.
The Asian Art Museum’s bronze rhinoceros is one of its most famous masterpieces as well as one of the most well-known ancient Chinese bronze artworks in the world.

Scholars appreciate it because few Chinese vessels made during the Bronze Age (approximately 1500–221 BCE) were in the form of animals. Additionally this rhino is the only one known that is depicted entirely in its natural state.

The vessel might have been used to hold wine or food and the oval opening might have been covered with a now-missing lid that would have conformed to the contours of the animal.

See the bronze rhino on asianart.org/collections/bronze-rhino or click here. It is located in Gallery 16 on the third floor of the museum.

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TAGS: Asian Art Museum, bronze rhinoceros, naming contest winner, National Women's History Month, Reina the Rhino
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