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Motifs & Symbols

Alternatively, browse terms in alphabetical order according to their Chinese Pinyin 汉语拼音

Chinese Pinyin: An Chun
Chinese: 鹌鹑
Name Of Image: Quail
Description:

Quail’s Chinese name is ‘an chun’(鹌鹑). Its first character 鹌 (‘an’) is often used in Chinese language for its pun on ‘an’(安) which means peace and safety. Pun rebus examples: May you live in peace and leisure 安居 May the …

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Chinese Pinyin: Ba Ji Xiang
Chinese: 八吉祥
Name Of Image: Eight auspicious emblems
Description:

Also called ‘ba bao’ (八宝), ‘ba rui xiang’ (八瑞相), or ‘ji xiang ba bao’(吉祥八宝). There are eight emblems in traditional Tibetan Buddhism symbolising happiness and spiritual well-being: Dharma wheel, conch shell, parasol, lotus, treasure vase, golden fish, victory banner, and endless knot.

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Chinese Pinyin: Bao Xiang Hua
Chinese: 宝相花
Name Of Image: Passion Flower
Description:

The pattern of ‘bao xiang (宝相)’ is also called ‘bao lian (宝莲)’, ‘bao xian (宝仙)’, or ‘xi fan lian (西番莲)’, which literally means ‘western passion flower’.   Related Motif: Lotus 莲花

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Chinese Pinyin: Bian Fu
Chinese: 蝙蝠
Name Of Image: Bat
Description:

Bat in Chinese is called bian fu (蝙蝠). The bat and its various stylised forms are often used in Chinese art for auspicious purposes, as 蝠 (‘fu’) puns on 福 (‘fu’, meaning luck, or good fortune). Related Pun Pictures: Gourd …

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Chinese Pinyin: Cang Long Jiao Zi
Chinese: 苍龙教子
Name Of Image: Venerable dragon teaching his son
Description:

Father’s Day was set up to honour fatherhood and secure paternal bonds. One very potent motif in the repertoire of traditional Chinese pictorial culture in this regard is the image of a magnificent brawny dragon facing a smaller young dragon …

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Chinese Pinyin: Du Shu Da Fu Gui
Chinese: 读书大富贵
Name Of Image: You may become super rich by receiving good education
Description:

Book is a symbol of education or examinations. Peony is a symbol of wealth and prestige. The motif combination of book and peony sends a message to the receiver ‘You may become super rich by receiving good education!’   Related …

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Chinese Pinyin: Feng Huang
Chinese: 凤凰
Name Of Image: Phoenix
Description:

Phoenix, as an imaginary creature in Chinese culture, has been esteemed as the queen of all kinds of birds. When coupled with the image of dragon in Chinese artworks, it symbolises royal power. Later on, the use of dragon and …

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Chinese Pinyin: Gong Ji
Chinese: 公鸡
Name Of Image: Rooster
Description:

One of the most commonly used motifs that depicts household fowls. It has also been frequently used in pun rebuses for the meaning of ‘good fortune’ or ‘good wishes’, as its Chinese pronunciation is ji 鸡, the same as ji …

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Chinese Pinyin: Gua Die Mian Mian
Chinese: 瓜瓞绵绵
Name Of Image: May the male line in your family clan continue and flourish (pictorial allusion)
Description:

The phrase ‘gua die mian mian 瓜瓞绵绵’ is a variation of a line from the poem Mian 绵 collected in the section of the Greater Odes of the Kingdom (Daya 大雅) in the Classic of Poetry (Shijing 诗经). It is …

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Chinese Pinyin: Gui Hua
Chinese: 桂花
Name Of Image: Osmanthus
Description:

Osmanthus blossoms in autumn and is conventionally regarded as the flower of the eighth month of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Its sweet scent is discreet, distinctive and unforgettable, and has a legendary position in Chinese poetry and art. It is …

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