As we said in the last post (January 3, 2014) the radical makes up an essential part of a character but there often is a second part, which usually gives further information. The word butterfly, hú dié, hur dier (蝴 蝶) is a great example. The first word in this combination is hú, hur (蝴).
Its radical is chόng, chongr 虫, which means bug. The second part is the character hú, hur, meaning foolish, reckless. Continue reading
I think Chinese characters are beautiful and elegant. In fact, historically, the script itself has often been used as art. You’ve probably seen some of these displayed in museums and on walls of businesses and homes. They are often boldly written on long, vertical scrolls.
Chinese characters may look difficult at first, however, that’s only until you understand them. Personally I’m not an expert but with a bit of background anyone can learn about and appreciate them more fully. Continue reading
Zhong Kui, demon slayer
Images of Zhōng Kuí (鍾魁), a mythological figure in Chinese folklore, are often seen in traditional homes. He was a successful scholar—which is why he wears a scholar’s hat. His job is to exorcise demons, banish evil, and encourage blessings to come into the home. These three tasks are represented in his image through the sword he carries on his back, the demon often seen cringing under his foot, and the bat (which represents blessings) found on or near his fan. Sometimes he is shown without his foot on a cowering demon, nevertheless, simply having his picture or statue scares away evil and demons, keeping the family safe. He is a dynamic figure, full of energy and ferocious protectiveness.Today, when someone is described as Zhōng Kuí (鍾魁), the speaker is saying she has the courage to fight against evil. (from: http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=worddict&wdrst=0&wdqb=zhong)Note: The characters used for Zhōng Kuí (鍾魁) are from Eberhard. Although the pronunciation is the same, Bartholomew uses a different Chinese character for Kuí (鍾馗).
5 bats & 8 peaches
According to Bartholomew combining 5 bats with 8 peaches is an auspicious design and was commonly used as a good luck symbol going back to the early 1700s in the Ching Dynasty. We clearly see this design in the picture of our Chinese vase [Okay, some of the peaches are around the sides of the pottery and not in the picture, but believe me, they are on the piece.] Continue reading
Bat (Fú 蝠)
Bats our Western tradition are associated with Halloween, vampires, and scary or evil things. In traditional China, however, bats are good, wonderful symbols.
In the Chinese language many words that have different meanings sound alike (they are homophones). The Chinese word for bat (fú) sounds exactly like the word for blessing (fú). So, bats are associated with receiving blessings or good fortune and are an important symbol of happiness and joy. Continue reading
Peach (Tao 桃)
The peach is one of the most popular images in Chinese decorations, jewelry, paintings, and folk art. If you like things Chinese, the peach is more than familiar to you. But, besides being beautiful, what did it mean traditionally? Why is it important? Continue reading