Chinese ice carvers started to engrave their very first ice block on Friday for a major ice exhibit in the central U.S. state of Texas.
During the next six weeks, 25 ice carvers from Harbin, the capital city of northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province, will sculpt 300-pound (136-kg) blocks of colored ice into whimsical monkeys, butterflies, orchids and more as they create "Ice Land: Rainforest Holiday" at Moody Gardens in southeastern Texas Galveston.
The exhibition tent must be kept at a chilly minus 13 degrees centigrade throughout the holiday season in order to maintain the 2 million pounds of ice frozen.
The Chinese team is led by artist Qui Guanghui, who has received top honors in international tournaments.
"What is different this year is the theme of the rainforest. No one else has done this before. It's unique. We will use a lot of different kinds of ice with more than 40-plus colors of ice," Qui told Xinhua.
Since 2014, a skilled team of master ice carvers from Harbin has been working at Moody Gardens every holiday season.
John Zendt, president and CEO of Moody Gardens, said more than 100 carvings will take shape over the coming weeks.
"Mr Qui has developed a wonderful creative theme with the team of expert carvers to bring this project from concept to reality."
The exhibition opens on Nov. 11.