For thousands of years, auspicious images existed everywhere in people’s lives in China, including grand celebrations, important festivals, anniversaries, prayer ceremonies, births, weddings, and funerals.
From palaces to ordinary people’s homes, residential walls, fences, window lattices, doors, and even the roofs and tiles can be seen embellished with a variety of auspicious images. Daily appliances, dishes, utensils, stationery, clothing, shoes, hats, and toys also display auspicious images.
Those beautiful images tend to symbolize the people’s vision of good things, as well as prayers and blessings for the hope of livelihood. Here are two types of auspicious images that represent traditional Chinese culture.
Dragon and phoenix
The dragon and phoenix combination is the most classic of Chinese traditional auspicious images; usually, they appear flying around a large pearl.
In traditional Chinese culture, the dragon signifies authority, and is the god of water. The dragon can create clouds to bring rain for good harvest, and in the eyes of people, the dragon is a sacred, auspicious, and festive god.
The phoenix is the leader of all birds whose head is like the cock, body like a mandarin duck, wings of a mythological bird, legs of a crane, and tail of a peacock. It signifies beauty and peace, and is an incarnation of happiness and beauty.
Child and carp
Another type of auspicious image shows a plump child embracing a large carp while holding a lotus in its hand. The Chinese words fish and remaining, and lotus and combine, have the same phonetic sound, and as such, these drawings are used to represent a rich life, well-off family, and an auspicious flow. During the New Year festive season, households will hang this image to express the people’s good wishes in pursuit of happiness and prosperity.
Translated by Chua BC.