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Longevity Spirit Money, from Taiwan (2 prints)

Accession Number

Longevity Spirit Money, from Taiwan (2 prints)


Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
red ink on paper

12 1/2 in. x 8 1/4 in. ( 31.7 cm x 21 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Ellen and Richard Laing

Subject matter
“Longevity” money was used exclusively in the worship of deities to celebrate their birthdays, or as a means of thanking them for blessings already bestowed, or to ask for long life or other benefits. In addition to the large character for “longevity” in the center, the four characters at the top right, center, left, and at the lower margin express wishes for sons, emolument, wealth, and honor. A “double happiness” character is in each lower corner. Two coins are suspended from the wings of a stylized bat, a symbol of happiness because the pronunciation of the character for “bat’ (fu) is identical to that for happiness. To produce the “spirit money,” the carved images would be printed in red over a patch of gold foil placed on top of a wide orange-colored swatch painted on coarse paper.

Physical Description
Print with floral design framing an inner square that contains six characters in the top and lower right, center, and left corners and a large character in the middle (“longevity”) with an image of two coins suspended from the wings of a stylized bat in the lower center.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
color print

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bats (game equipment)
printing (process)
printing blocks (printing surfaces)

& Author Notes

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