Zodiac Figure (Monkey)

Accession Number

Zodiac Figure (Monkey)

Ming Sancai Ware

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
earthenware with glaze

8 in. (20.32 cm)

Credit Line
Promised gift of William C. Weese, M.D., LSA ‘65

Subject matter
The Chinese zodiac, or shengxiao (/shnng-sshyao/ ‘born resembling'), is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes. In order, the 12 Chinese horoscope animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
The 12 signs are popularly explained by a myth that when the Jade Emperor (the supreme immortal) was developing a calendar, all creatures on Earth were summoned to participate in a race. The first 12 to cross the line were awarded signs and an order in the Chinese zodiac.
Actually, the 12 animals were chosen very deliberately by the ancients, after many revisions. The zodiac animals are either closely related to ancient Chinese people's daily lives, or have lucky meanings.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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