Jin Chan (Gold Toad) Chinese Mythology

Jin Chan (Gold Toad) Chinese MythologyThe toads have three feet with a coin in its mouth which can spin, two strings of coins running down its back, and the big dipper constellation on its back. The Jin Chan carries a lot of symbolism with it and has some interesting legends. It is believed that having one in your property will bring you luck, wealth, and prosperity.

Coins

In the toad’s mouth is a coin which spins. In Chinese the word “Zhuan” which means spin, or go around, sounds the same as the Chinese word for earn. So the spinning coin means that money will keep coming round and round. Traditionally in China, coins came on strings and many items were counted by strings of cash, so the two strings on the Jin Chan’s back symbolize having lot of wealth.

Positioning of the Toad

Most toads have a coin in their mouths, but occasionally you can find one that does not. The way the toads are positioned in the home depends on this coin. If the toad has a coin in its mouth, it should not face the door because it means that the money will be going out the door, so the toad should be placed facing you to keep the money coming in. If the toad does not have a coin in its mouth, the toad should face the door because it means that the toad will suck money in. It is considered bad to sit with a coin less toad facing you because it means it will take all your money.

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The Pixiu In Chinese Mythology

The Pixiu In Chinese MythologyOne of China’s more bizarre mythological creatures, the Pixiu is a very powerful creature which is very helpful to humans. Its appearance has changed greatly over the centuries, which often gets its images confused with that of the Qilin.

For the Chinese people, it is an important part of fengshui and is thought of as an auspicious creature which brings wealth to people.

They are fierce creatures. They have the head of a Chinese dragon, the body of a Chinese lion, and the legs of a Qilin. Some are depicted with wings. They are generally depicted with a big mouth with fangs, fat belly, and no anus to indicate that they are always hungry and are filled with gold and good fortune, which will never go away.

It is this aspect that make them very popular with businessmen and it can be seen in many shops and banks. Originally, they were depicted with two antlers. As time went on, their appearance evolved so that the males had a single antler and female had two antlers. Today, there is no distinction made between male and female and either can be depicted with one or two antlers.

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The Qilin In Mythology & Chinese Art

The Qilin In Chinese Art

One of China’s most important mythological animals, the Qilin is an auspicious animal believed to bring prosperity, serenity, and male offspring. The Qilin is occasionally described as the “Chinese Unicorn” because it is sometimes depicted with a single horn. It is said that the Qilin will appear with a sage or immortal and is sometimes the mount of an immortal.

Appearance:

The appearance of the Qilin has changed with each passing dynasty. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Qilin was had the hooves of an ox with a dragon like head topped by a pair of horns and flame-like head ornaments. During the Qing Dynasty, the Qilin was a far more fanciful animal, which had the head of a dragon, with the antlers of a deer, fish scales, ox’s hooves, and a lion’s tail.

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Three-inch Golden Lotus – Han Chinese

Irv
Irv Graham

It is said, for example, that the practice of foot binding originated among court dancers in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279). Another legend dates to the thirteenth century and tells of the fame of the dancing girls with tiny feet and beautiful bow (bound) shoes at the tenth century court of the Southern Tang kingdom (937-975) in South Central China. It has been estimated that by the early nineteenth century up to 40%, and possibly more, of Han Chinese women had their feet bound. In 1644 the Qing Dynasty came to power in China. The new Qing rulers belonged to an ethnic group known as Manchu. Manchu women, contrary to the Han, were officially forbidden to bind their feet.

“Three-inch golden lotus (三寸金莲)”, “lotus” is a metaphor, but the “three-inch” is not. In ancient times, women had their feet tightly bound at the age of four or five to control further growth. Depending on their sizes, feet were granted different titles: All bound feet were called “lotus”, but those bigger than four inches were “iron lotuses”, four inches were “silver lotuses”, and the three-inch ones were called “golden lotuses”(about eight centimeters), which was apparently the highest ranking.

Smaller feet helped women to gain a better prestige and marriage. As an old Chinese saying says, women conquer the world by conquering men, and men conquer women by conquering the world.

The walking posture of small-foot women was considered graceful and noble. The Chinese believe that the most beautiful walking is wonky willow-like, which displays the feminine charm. Therefore, tottering of foot-bound woman is attractive and elegant.

Further Reading

http://www.oocities.org/simon22chen/articles/mark/it_was_not_so_bad.htm
https://trc-leiden.nl/trc-needles/regional-traditions/east-asia/china/han-chinese-footbinding

Photograph of Zhou Guizhen, a Chinese woman with bound feet (2007).