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Bats in Chinese is called bian fu (蝙蝠) or fu (蝠). The image of bats is often used to represent ‘good luck’ or ‘good fortune’ in Chinese decorative arts. It is not because the Chinese appreciate the appearance of bats, but because ‘蝠 fu’, the Chinese name for bats, happens to pun on ‘福 fu’ for ‘good fortune’, thus bearing an auspicious symbol.

Related Pun Pictures:

Gourd 葫芦 

May you enjoy long life and always be blessed by good fortune 福寿万年

Acknowledgement:

Fig 1 & 2: porcelain vases, Qianlong period (1736 – 95), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 3: porcelain dish, Jiaqing period (1796 – 1820), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 4-5: blue-and-white vase, Qianlong period (1736 – 95), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 6-7: porcelain vase, Qianlong period (1736 – 95), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 8-9: snuff-bottle, Qianlong period (1736 – 95), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

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