Even wondered why toads and bats appear in Chinese culture and furniture? Maybe not? Then perhaps you've been a bit busy to notice that your favourite blue and white 'carp' bowl means ‘profitable’ and ‘powerful’! Yes, Chinese culture is full of animals both big and small - and they all mean something. My three favourite books on learning about Chinese symbolism:
Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery
An absolute go-to book for everything related to imagery in Chinese art and culture. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Patricia on a number of occasions and her depth of knowledge is amazing.
Origins of Chinese Auspicious Symbols
Handy A5 size book…yes you could carry this in your bag next time you’re hanging out in Chinatown or at the Peranakan Museum!
Gateway to Peranakan Culture
Because Chinese Peranakan traditionally followed ancient practices for funerals and ancestral workship, you can see many symbols in their material culture. From crabs and fish on beaded slippers, to pheonixes and bats on their furniture…it’s a beautiful mix!
And if you find some other good books, don’t forget to let me know!