A Taiwanese artist has carved a miniscule monkey sculpture out of resin to welcome in the Year of the Monkey. The tiny sculpture measures just 1mm along its longest edge, and even looks small next to a grain of rice. The artist, Chen Forng-shean, says it is the world's smallest.

He said: "It is made from resin. I needed six months to complete the sculpture. After being finished [the monkey] looks lifelike, with a longevity peach in its hand and a curvy tail. The most difficult part was its head, which is only 0.01cm. In those 0.01cm there have to be his eyes, nose, mouth and ears."

Monkeys are considered lively and auspicious animals in Chinese culture, Chen explained. Twelve years ago, he sculpted his first Chinese zodiac animal – the monkey. There are 12 Chinese zodiac animals, each representing a year, so Chen has already completed a full cycle. Each year, his miniature sculptures have become smaller and smaller, but he says the latest monkey was one of the biggest challenges yet.

"You can say that the monkey is an animal I very much like to sculpt. (I) started to sculpt big ones and then moved on to small ones. Over time I got familiar with it and started to be able to sculpt with more life," Chen said.

He has specialised in miniature sculpting since he was 25 years old. In the 35 years since, he has completed nearly 200 works of art.