Archives for posts with tag: zodiac

cotton horse

L180xW80xH180mm, China

Welcome to the Year of the Horse!

The Chinese Zodiac works in a 12 years cycle, each represented by a different animal.  These 12 animals goes in the order

Rat -> Ox -> Tiger ->
Rabbit ->Dragon -> Snake ->
Horse -> Goat -> Monkey ->
Rooster -> Dog -> Pig

and then back to the Rat again.

On Chinese New Year (31st Jan 2014) begins the Year of the Horse.
It is quite easy to work out one’s zodiac animal, snake is 2013, goat is 2015 and back to the horse again in 2026.  So it is also easy for someone to work out your age too, for the ladies who don’t want to tell everyone your age, when you are prompt with the question what is your Chinese zodiac sign, you can always say that you are a Cat…

According to the legend, the Jade Emperor has a Flying Horse that he adores.  The Flying Horse was full of himself, one day he went fooling around at the Dragon palace, he killed the Turtle Saint who came to stopped him.  When the news traveled back to the Jade Emperor and the Flying Horse was punished with his wings cut off and press under the Kun Lun mountain.  The poor Horse was all alone under the mountain until 200 years later when the human walked passed, the Horse swept and said, “please help me, kind human, in return I will work hard for you.”  Out of pity, the human cut down the peach tree that was on top of the mountain and the Horse was released.  A bond was developed between the two species, the Horse became a carriage for the human, paired up and went to war.  When the selection for the zodiac animals came up, the human voted for the Horse.

For the Year of the Horse, we have a horsey toy made of cotton felt.

DIA100xH60mm, Hong Kong

This is a compass used by Tanka clan, a clan who lived on junk boats along the coast of Southern China and worked as fisherman.  As it is a day to day object, their compass is more simple then the traditional geomancers’ compass.  The compass for the Chinese is not only for telling the direction but related to space (direction extending to the universe) and time (past and future) as a whole

The Chinese Compass Points

Chinese navigators reduced the compass they inherited from the geomancers to its simplest form, using only 24 points, or even reducing them to 12 or 8.  The dial itself is divided into segments of 15 degrees each, represented by 24 Chinese characters.  These are the compass points, which scholars say were the basis for calculations by diviners and geomancers in ancient times.  These compass points were stabilized in their present system by at least the early 8th century.  These characters used on the compass dial are not the characters commonly used in China to represent directions.  Their origin or etymology is, for the most part, lost in the mists of antiquity.  But scholars have traced many of them back to over 4000 years ago when they appeared on “oracle bones” used to look into the future.  12 of the characters ;  子 zi, 丑 chou,  寅 yin,  卯 mou, 辰 chen, 巳  si, 午 wu, 未 wei,  申 shen, 酉 you,  戌 xu, 亥 hai, have been traditionally grouped together and referred to as the 12 branches.  8 of these character 甲 jia, 乙 yi, 丙  bing, 丁 ding, 庚 geng,  辛 xin, 壬 ren,  癸 gui,  are part of the traditional grouping knon as the 10 stems.  The remaining 4 乾 qian, 坤  kun , 艮 gen,  巽 xun derive from one of the earliest Chinese works on divination, the I Ching.  In very ancient times, the 12 branches were applied to the months of the tropical year and the 10 stems were used to name the ten day week.  Diviners used the stem/ branch combinations of the day, month and year of birth as basis for their calculations and conclusions.  The 12 brances are also associated with the Chinese zodiac; the rat, ox, tiger, hares, dragon, serpent, horse, gost, monkey, cock, dog and bear.  Each of htese creatures is supposed to exercise an astrological influence over a particular 2 hour period of the day, and one year out of every 12.

子 zi – North, rat, 23:00-01:00
癸 gui – N15°E
丑 chou – N15°E , ox, 01:00-03:00
艮 gen – NE
寅 yin – N60°E, tiger, 03:00-05:00
甲 jia –  N75°E
卯 mou – East, hare, 05:00-07:00
乙 yi –  S75°E
辰 chen –  S60°E, dragon, 07:00-09:00
巽 xun – SE
巳  si – S30°E, snake, 09:00-11:00
丙  bing –   S15°E
午 wu – South, horse, 11:00-13:00
丁 ding – S15°W
未 wei – S30°W, sheep, 13:00-15:00
坤  kun – SW
申 shen – S60°W, monkey, 15:00-17:00
庚 geng – S75°W
酉 you – West, cock, 17:00-19:00
辛 xin – N75°W
戌 xu – N60°W, dog, 19:00-21:00
乾 qian – NW
亥 hai – N30°W, pig, 21:00-23:00