September 9, 2014

Painting with Auspicious Symbols VI - Sunflowers and Lizards

I would love to introduce some Chinese symbols to my viewers through my paintings. Here is a still life I painted entitled "Sunflowers and Lizard".

Lizard (蜥蜴 or 壁虎; ) Lizards tend to be active at night. For that reason the ancients felt that they were symbolic of protection from the hidden things in life. So a lizard is more than an animal it is a symbol of luck and vision. Lizards are also fast on their feet and can escape predators much larger than themselves. Ancestors said and noted these special qualities.

Ruyi (如意; rúyì) What this means in Chinese is "as one wishes you wish". A ruyi is a long curved ceremonial sceptre used in Chinese Buddhism that symbolizes power and good fortune in countless Chinese stories. It can take the shape of a lingzhi mushroom, a cloud, a first or other representation that symbolizes power.
There are nearly 3000 ruyi that are variously made from valuable materials like gold, silver, iron, bamboo, wood, ivory, coral, rhinoceros horn, lacquer, crystal, jade, and precious gems in the Palace Museum in Beijing . The "ruyi" image frequently appears as a motif in Asian art.

Vase (花瓶) Because in Chinese the vase is called "ping' it sounds like the word for "peace", vases are considered super lucky symbols and are placed prominently all around the house. They have come to mean peace in the home over the years and are often decorated with auspicious symbols to increase their beneficial qualities.


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