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China is Batty !

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  • batgoth
    Bats in Chinese Art by Stephen J. Kern Chinese art abounds with bats. They fly from the folds of fabrics and chase each other across the finest
    Message 1 of 203 , Sep 4, 2000
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      Bats in Chinese Art<br>by Stephen J. Kern
      <br><br>Chinese art abounds with bats. They fly from the folds of
      fabrics and chase each other across the finest china.
      Jade bats adorn jewelry, and golden bats grace the
      most ornate altar cloths. Tapestries and toys,
      scepters, saddles and sashes, and many other objects are
      likely to be decorated with beautiful bats. While
      European and early-American artists used bats and bat
      wings to depict devils and demons, the Chinese
      embellished their cherished artifacts with the same winged
      mammals many Westerners find repulsive. <br><br>Those who
      were taught to dislike bats can learn a great deal
      from Chinese art. Oriental bat motifs encourage us to
      view bats more favorably, as objects of beauty.
      Chinese artists have long used five bats to represent the
      five blessings: health, long life, prosperity, love of
      virtue, and a tranquil, natural death. The bats often are
      bright red� the color of joy. Sometimes they encircle a
      stylized caligraph known as the prosperity symbol. This
      popular bat motif often was embroidered on expensive
      clothing to imply that a person's prosperity had resulted
      from a virtuous lifestyle. <br><br>The Chinese word
      for bat is "fu," and the word for happiness also is
      pronounced "fu." Two bats sketched on the wrapping of a gift
      convey best wishes and good fortune. Two butterflies,
      symbolic of marital bliss, often accompany bats on
      presents to newlyweds. Throughout Asian culture, bats
      continue to evoke strong, positive emotions.
      <br><br>Chinese admiration for bats began thousands of years
      before Christ. The Oriental world was viewed as an
      eternal interplay between active (male) and passive
      (female) forces. Bats were thought to embody the male
      principle� flowers and fruits, the female. The bat commonly
      was pictured with the peach, a popular female
      fertility symbol. We now know that the pairing of peaches
      and bats portrays an ecological as well as mystical
      relationship. Peaches (one of man's most popular fruits) were
      first cultivated in China approximately 5,000 years
      ago. Before that, peaches relied on bats for dispersal
      of their seeds. <br><br>Ancient scholars thought
      bats attained very old age because they lived deep in
      caves and because "they swallowed their breath." While
      the mystery of bat longevity remains unsolved,
      researchers have confirmed that bats far outlive other
      mammals of similar size. In a culture that venerated
      wisdomed old age, bats became a symbol of these virtues.
      Bat designs even were used on household shrines
      honoring deceased relatives. Such usage clearly indicates
      the high status of bats in the artistic and cultural
      heritage of China.
    • flyingdragon1234
      I think bats are so cool and cute! I especially like Flying Foxes because the look adorable. =P can someone post some good pictures of flying foxes?
      Message 203 of 203 , Jan 27, 2002
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        I think bats are so cool and cute! I especially like Flying Foxes because the look adorable. =P can someone post some good pictures of flying foxes?
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