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).
Red Bats (Hόng Fú 紅蝠)
Always looking for ways to increase the power and strength of a blessing or good fortune, the traditional Chinese approach was to double up auspicious words. And, as you may have already begun to suspect, traditional Chinese also loved a play on words. That’s one reason we find so many good will wishes with double, or more, elements. Continue reading
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