Posted: Feb 18 2015
by: Liz Ross

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Chinese New Year


In the decorative arts, a bird is rarely just a bird and a flower seldom represents a simple flower. These evocative symbols conjure different narratives, ideas, and emotions according to the context in which they are portrayed and the viewer who observes them. That is what makes them so powerful.

Chinese decorative arts, one of the practices that informs our snow globes, has a strong symbolic tradition, invoking history, myth, and the human condition. In honor of the Chinese New Year, we’ve explored the hidden symbolism contained in some of the flora planted in our snow globes:  

Cherry Blossom: Though often associated with Japanese ideas of simplicity and hope, cherry blossoms also have a strong tradition in China, where they symbolize power, feminine beauty, and sexuality.
Lily: The lily represents innocence, among other traits. The flower is traditionally presented to young women on their wedding days because the flower is associated with a story of 100 years of unity.
Pine Tree: The pine tree contains many meanings, including longevity, dedication, self-discipline, and endurance. Chinese art often portrays the pine tree with other symbols of resilience, such as the peach, the god Sau (god of longevity), and deer.
Lotus: A symbol closely tied to Buddha in the Buddhist tradition, the lotus represents purity. It is one of the Eight Buddhist Symbols of good fortune, an attribute of He Xian Gu of the Eight Immortals. Its various component parts also contain their own meanings—the flower associated with enlightenment, the seeds tied to prosperity and offspring, and the stem representing a link to origins.

 

Happy Chinese New Year!


To explore more symbolism in Chinese decorative arts, visit nationsonline.org