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Motifs & Symbols

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

Chinese Pinyin: Shou
Chinese: 寿
Name Of Image: Longevity

The Chinese deeply respect the elderly and consider a long existence – ideally accompanied by health and happiness – to be one of the five most important blessings (wufu 五福) in a person’s life, which were believed by the ancients …

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Chinese Pinyin: Shu Kui Jia Die
Chinese: 蜀葵蛱蝶
Name Of Image: Hollyhocks and butterflies

Hollyhock (shu kui 蜀葵) implies that people’s hearts will follow their statesman or emperor.   Related motif: Butterfly 蝴蝶

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Chinese Pinyin: Shuang Ji Mu Dan
Chinese: 双犄牡丹
Name Of Image: Two-horned peony blossom

Common sources such as Baidu refer to the motif of a peony flower head with two distinctive ‘horns’ as a characteristic feature unique to Chinese porcelain of the Kangxi period (1662-1722). As a matter of fact, the tradition can be …

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Chinese Pinyin: Sui Han San You
Chinese: 岁寒三友
Name Of Image: Three Friends in Winter

Pines, bamboos, and plum blossoms (prunus) form the ‘Three Friends in Winter’ (岁寒三友) motif. The early blossoming plum is the harbinger of spring; the bamboo bends in wind but does not break; and the pine needles remain green throughout the …

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