China Pictorial (English)
Gao Ke and His 1,008 Bears
“Bear Mountain Bear Sea: Gao Ke and His 606 Be@rbrick Bears” is not just an exhibition of Bearbricks, but also a collection of pop culture memories.
“Those ‘bears’ in your collection do not belong to you—they belong to everyone.”
These words from a friend once jolted Bearbrick (rendered Be@arbrick) collector Gao Ke awake. Instead of keeping them in a storage room where they couldn’t be seen by anyone including himself, he realized it would be better to display them for the public.
In 2005, 25-year-old Gao Ke fell in love with Bearbrick toys while in Hong Kong. Although they were expensive, he bought one for 1,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$128). It became the first of a huge collection. Over the decade that followed, he continued buying them one after another.
In December 2020, Guinness officially certified Gao Ke as the person with the most Bearbricks in the world. His collection of 1,008 bears was a world record. Currently, this array of bears is being exhibited at the Yidian Space in Beijing’s 798 Art District.
From Be@rbrick to Guinness
Bearbricks are produced by the Japanese company Medicom. It offers bears in three sizes: 100 percent (7 cm tall), 400 percent (28 cm tall), and 1,000 percent (70 cm tall). “The 1,000-percent size takes up too much space and the styles are limited,” Gao says. “The details on the 400-percent size are exactly the same as the 1,000-percent size, and you can find many designs.” The bulk of Gao’s collection is the 400-percent size.
Gao Ke has been collecting Bearbricks for 16 years. As time passed, his collection slowly sprouted from dozens to hundreds