Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Emblems

Chinese art is enriched with many emblems full of significance to the initiated and the native. For example, bamboos, chrysanthemums, plum-blossoms, and epidendrums represent the four seasons - summer, autumn, winter, and spring. The same sound stands in China for "noble rank" and "birds", hence the latter are emblems of the former. Storks mean longevity. As the same sound represents "lotus" and "continuous" as well, the use of "lotus" is obvious. The sound of "fish" is yu, the same as the sound of "surplus", hence at the New Year, people have fish as emblem of surplus. There are too many like this to list here.

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