The Language and Iconography of Chinese Charms: Deciphering by Alex Chengyu Fang, François Thierry

By Alex Chengyu Fang, François Thierry

This ebook deals an in-depth description and research of chinese language coin-like charms, which date again to the second one century CE and which endured for use till mid twentieth century. This paintings is exclusive in that it presents an archaeological and analytical interpretation of the content material of those metal gadgets: inscriptive, pictorial or either. because the part chapters convey, those coin-like items characterize a wealth of chinese language conventional folks ideals, together with yet no longer constrained to relatives values, social duties and non secular wishes. The booklet offers a set of contributed chapters, accumulating a various variety of views and services from a few of the world’s major students within the fields of archaeology, spiritual reports, artwork background, language and museology.

The historical past of the canopy picture is a web page from Guang jin shi yun fu 廣金石韻府, a rhyming dictionary first released within the 9th 12 months of the Kangxi Reign (1652 CE). The steel appeal dates again to the tune Dynasty (960–1279 CE), depicting deities characteristically believed to own the majic energy of suppressing evil spirits. The stich-bound e-book within the foreground is a suite of seal impressions from the start of the 20 th century. Its wood press board is inscribed da ji xiang 大吉祥 via Fang Zhi-bin 方質彬 within the 12 months of bing yin (1926 CE).

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The Language and Iconography of Chinese Charms: Deciphering a Past Belief System

This e-book deals an in-depth description and research of chinese language coin-like charms, which date again to the second one century CE and which persevered for use until eventually mid twentieth century. This paintings is exclusive in that it offers an archaeological and analytical interpretation of the content material of those steel items: inscriptive, pictorial or either.

Additional info for The Language and Iconography of Chinese Charms: Deciphering a Past Belief System

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15, often shows a scene of five bats flying around each other, expressing the wish for wu fu 五福, or Five Happinesses, namely, longevity, wealth, honour, peace and many children. The image of a child riding on an elephant is pronounced qi xiang 騎象, which is taken to be homophonic of ji xiang 吉祥 luck and fortune. If the child additionally holds a sceptre in his hand, the scene creates the expression ji xiang ru yi 吉祥如意 “Luck and fortune according to my wishes”. One could multiply the examples but these are just a few examples of the rich repertoire of homophones in the traditional expressions in China.

They are horse charms, chess charms and drinking charms. Horse charms, or ma qian 馬錢, refer to a group of coin-like tokens made and used specifically for a game that is called da ma ge 打馬格, or beat horse squares. Such tokens typically have the image of a horse on one side and the name of the horse on the other. The game was first recorded and described in Da ma tu jing 打 馬圖經 A Pictorial Guide to Da Ma, written by Li Qing-zhao 李清照 (AD 1084– 1155), a lady scholar, collector and poet during the Song dynasty.

14 A double-coin charm inscribed with Tong zhi tong bao 同治通寶 on the obverse and fu shou 福壽 on the reverse. 19th Century. 50 mm in diam. 6 Among the most common homophones used in amulets, the following examples can be readily mentioned. The green lotus leaf, qing lian 青蓮, is homophone for qing lian 清廉 “integrity” and “incorruptible” to describe an official’s impeccable conduct, hence the use of the lotus leaf to convey the wish and desire for promotion. The finger-citron, fo shou gan 佛手柑 or fo shou 佛手, literally meaning “Buddha’s hand”, is used as a homophone of shou 壽 longevity because we only keep the second character.

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