Animal Symbolism in Chinese Culture

The highlight of this timed auction is an elegant blue and white porcelain planter decorated with a finely painted pattern and a striking design of bats and stylized clouds.

Bat is known as a prosperous creature in Chinese culture. The word “蝙蝠” is pronounced “biānfú” in Chinese Mandarin and homophonous with the word for fortune, “福” (Fú).

In Teochew dialect, it is pronounced “Pian-Hok”. “蝠” or “福” in the last syllabus is pronounced the same as “福” (Hok) from Hok, Lok, Siu (Fu Lu Shou) known for Good Luck Deities.

Chinese people believe that bat is one of the 9 Feng Shui animals that bring good luck. The list includes dragon, cricket, boar, deer, dog, monkey, rat and snake which are bound to bring happiness and positive energy if placed in particular directions in the house or company. For wealth and wellness, it is advised to place a bat symbol in the southeast.

Typically appearing in Chinese art since ancient times, bat representing male traits is often paired with a peach which refers to female traits.

The planter is also decorated with a meticulous pattern of Chinese characters “如意” (Ruyi) meaning “Everything goes as you wish” in Mandarin Chinese. Other distinguished details are painted lotus and exquisite floral vine pattern created by masterful strokes and brushes of craftsmanship. The planter also has an orange peel texture that makes it an appealing charm and it indicates that this unique glaze was produced for export and it was popular among collectors at the time.


Browse and bid this item on Timed Auction, 24 February - 5 March 2022 here.