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Motifs & Symbols

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

Chinese Pinyin: He Hua
Chinese: 荷花
Name Of Image: Lotus (He Hua)
Description:

One of the most commonly drawn motifs in Chinese traditional artworks, particularly favoured by scholars. Lotus in Chinese can be translated into He Hua (荷花) or Lian Hua (莲花). The use of their images, however, are interchangeable. Lotus flower, leave, …

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Chinese Pinyin: Hu Dié
Chinese: 蝴蝶
Name Of Image: Butterfly
Description:

‘Dié 蝶’ from hu dié 蝴蝶, the Chinese character for ‘butterfly’, can be used to pun on ‘dié 耋’, meaning ‘octogenarian’ in the phrase ‘May mother live up to a ripe old age 萱耋’, or ‘dié 瓞’ for ‘small melons’ in the …

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Chinese Pinyin: Hu Lu
Chinese: 葫芦
Name Of Image: Gourd
Description:

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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Chinese Pinyin: Jin Yu
Chinese: 金鱼
Name Of Image: Goldfish
Description:

Jin yu 金鱼 (goldfish) in Chinese is pronounced the same as jin 金 (gold) and yu 玉 (jade), and therefore can be used as a pun referring wealth. Related Motif: Fish Related Pun Pictures: May your household be piled high …

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Chinese Pinyin: Ju Hua
Chinese: 菊花
Name Of Image: Chrysanthemum
Description:

Chrysanthemum in traditional Chinese culture has a symbolic meaning for long life. When it is presented with stone which then has an auspicious name of ‘long-life stone (寿石)’, the whole picture symbolises good wishes for longevity in life. When the …

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Chinese Pinyin: Li Zhi
Chinese: 荔枝
Name Of Image: Lychee
Description:

Also named leechee, lichee, lichi, or litchi (nut). Lychee is a tall tropical evergreen tree of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae) native to southeastern China. It was recorded in the Xijing zaji (西京杂記, Miscellaneous records of the Western Capital), a collection …

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Chinese Pinyin: Lian Hua
Chinese: 莲花
Name Of Image: Lotus (Lian Hua)
Description:

Lian Hua (lotus) is also called ‘he hua (荷花)’. It is different from ‘shui lian (睡莲, water lily)’ which is another kind of water plant. The first character of lotus in Chinese, ‘lian (莲)’, has been used to pun for …

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Chinese Pinyin: Long
Chinese:
Name Of Image: Dragon
Description:

Dragon is an imaginary creature from ancient China which was believed to be agile, powerful and authoritative, thus is a symbol of imperial status in Chinese culture.   Related motif: Phoenix

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Chinese Pinyin: Mu Dan Hua
Chinese: 牡丹花
Name Of Image: Peony
Description:

The peony flower, known in Chinese as ‘mudan hua 牡丹花’, has a nickname of ‘fu gui hua 富贵花’, literally meaning the flower of wealth and prestige.   Related motif: Two-horned peony blossom 双犄牡丹 Related Pun Pictures: May your wealth and privilege …

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Chinese Pinyin: Pu Tao
Chinese: 葡萄
Name Of Image: Grape
Description:

Grapes grow in clusters of up to 300 berries each and thus produce an enormous number of seeds. This property was regarded by the ancient Chinese as an apt allusion to their wish for a large number of offspring. That …

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