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A bear or a monkey? Understanding the meaning of pictorial art in the light of Chinese pun rebus culture

When you mistake a motif in a traditional Chinese picture, you could have misinterpreted the meaning of the whole image intended by the ancient craftsman. Dr Yibin Ni has used the following example to illustrate the hidden meaning of a series of images in the context of Chinese pun rebus culture.

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Gourd

Gourd (葫芦, hu lu) in Chinese is pronounced very similar to ‘fu (福, fortune)’ and ‘lu (禄, wealth)’, therefore its image is often used as a pun picture referring fortune and wealth. Related motif:  Bat 蝙蝠

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