Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chinese Animal Symbols (and art project)

Snakes in the bed.

In China, that would be good luck but don't kill it or your luck will turn bad.  OMG, I'm sorry I'd have to go with the bad luck!! That's just one of the myths and omens about animals in China.  There are many animals that are symbolic in China and countless legends and myths that explain the reason why.  I'm just going to scratch the surface with a few of the most iconic symbols in China.

The Panda-  These gorgeous animals were kept by early Chinese Emperors to ward of evil spirits and natural disasters.  They were also considered symbols of might and bravery.

The Carp- These large fish are the symbols of strength and perseverance.  Their scales and whiskers make them look like a dragon, which is the most powerful animal in Chinese mythology.  The word for "fish" and the word for "abundance" are both "yu".

The Crane- Seen in many Chinese paintings, the crane, the symbol for long life, is the 2nd most important bird symbol in China.  The phoenix is the most important.  It symbolizes the feminine power of the Empress.

The Snake- This year is named for the snake, a symbol of both the bravery of men and the beauty of women.  People born in the Year of the Snake are said to be wise but enigmatic.  They are either philosopher or politician.  In China, it is considered good luck to have a snake in your house and if you kill it you will get bad luck!  They believe that many of the deities present themselves to humans as snakes. 
 So in honor of the 2013- the Year of the Snake we present our art project.................

Slithery Snakes
For the project you will need:
  • cardboard tubes (ours are white because they were leftover from the Greek Parthenon)
  • brass fasteners (office supply store) or pipe cleaners
  • stapler
  • scissors
  • markers or paint
  • hole punch- optional but highly recommended
1.  Get 3 tubes per snake and cut the corners off each end so that they come to a "v".
2.  Staple one end of 1 tube to make the tail.  Make a small tongue out of a scrap of red paper and staple to one end of another tube to make head.

3. Punch holes on top and bottom of both ends of the last tube and in the unused end of the head and tail.
4.  Use brass fasteners or small pieces of pipe cleaner to attach tubes.

5.  Decorate and name your new friend.

Happy Year of the Snake!!  Now that you have a snake in the house you should be much luckier :)

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