Chinese Symbolism

The Transmission of the Lamp “Lamp” in the title refers to “dharma” (teachings of the Buddha). A total of 1701 biographies are listed in the book. Volumes 1 to 3 are devoted to the history of Indian buddhism, and the history of buddhism in China starts in chapter 4 with Bodhidharma.

The lamp is also in reference to the reason I chose to make my project a lamp to shed light on the teachings and rituals of each culture. As well as the fact that the lantern takes an irreplaceable role in Chinese culture.

Made of paper, the lantern, called lampion here, is the main focus of attention of the celebration as it symbolizes the wish for a bright future.

In addition, the Chinese believe that while red is a symbol of happiness, gold is a symbol of wealth. So, it is understandable that Chinese New Year ornaments like lanterns are artistically designed with a bold red background embellished by a gold motif.

The color red is also a prominent symbol of the Chinese culture. Not only is it the color of the National flag rather it manifests itself in various ways in the lives of the Chinese people and has a deep symbolic meaning to it. For the Chinese the color red symbolizes good luck and happiness. This is why we find the color overwhelming the scenery on special occasions and festivals such as the Chinese New Year. It is also used to ward off evil spirits and is a large part of a Chinese household.

Chopsticks bring about a form of etiquette which differs from region to region.

for example; You must not stick the chopsticks directly into the rice bowl. This symbolizes that a family member has just recently died.  Compliance with these rules sometimes signals a person’s status, culture, and family education to others.

Another Chinese symbol would be the yin-yang symbol.

Yin and yang are actually complementary, not opposing, forces, interacting to form a whole greater than either separate part; in effect, a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The concept of yin and yang is often symbolized by various forms of the Taijitu symbol, for which it is probably best known in Western cultures.

The dragon is also an integral part of the Chinese culture.

The people of China have a long held belief that they are descendants of the dragon, a tradition that is firmly embedded in their culture and one that is encountered across all aspects of Chinese society and in the minds of its people.

The Chinese knot is a symbol for physically manifesting their wishes and hope for good luck. Each one by the way it is made and knotted will represent a different wish or hope.

 The intricately and exquisitely worked Chinese knots have been used as a good-luck charm for many centuries. Their different images and knot workings convey different messages and wishes.

Every basic knot is named after either their inner meaning or outer form. It requires two or more cords to arrange and tangle into different knots. There are about eleven basic types of knotwork, and the more complex knotworks are constructed from combining or repeating the basic ones. By combining or arranging the different knotworks into various and auspicious patterns, the traditional Chinese knot finally comes into being, and conveys the wishes that the artisan wants to extend, such as happiness, longevity, joy, luck and so on. The one major rule of the knots is that all the knots must be tied using only one thread. When the knots are finishes, they should be double-layered and look symmetrical from both front and back.

The most commonly used material for making Chinese knots is silk threads. Chinese knots come in a variety of colors and shapes. The popular colors are gold, green, black or blue, however, the most commonly used is always red, which is the symbol of prosperity and luck in Chinese culture. As for the shapes of Chinese knots, you can often see shapes of flower, bird, fruit and animal. These traditional decorative images are considered to be able to drive away evil spirits and act as good-luck charm for the people who wear the knots.


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