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Britain's Tate gallery buys 8 million ceramic sunflower seeds by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

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LONDON - Britain's Tate gallery says it has bought a work by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made up of 8 million ceramic sunflower seeds.

Tate said Monday that "Sunflower Seeds 2010" consists of 10 cubic meters (13 cubic yards) of seeds, hand-crafted by Chinese artisans.

The gallery did not disclose the price. Last year Sotheby's sold a 100 kilogram (220 pound) bag of the seeds for 350,000 pounds ($550,000).

In 2010, Ai covered the floor of a vast hall at London's Tate Modern with almost 100 million of the seeds. Visitors were initially invited to walk or lie on them, but the ceramic dust was judged a health hazard and the exhibit was cordoned off.

Ai is one of China's best known artists. In 2011 he was detained for almost three months during a crackdown on dissent.

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