Year of the Rabbit

Item #





Qing Late 19th Century


Ink & pigment on paper




overall 85" x 19.5" (216 x 49 cm); image 51" x 11.75" (129 x 30 cm)





There are 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. Therefore, everyone that is born will have an animal identification. There are books that tell about the personalities and characteristics of people born in those particular years. It is an intriguing and interesting thing that people discuss and talk about. The following painting refers to an animal year. However the story that is related is not reflecting the character or personality of a person born in that year, but is simply a story in Chinese literature that came to mind with the artist who drew this painting. He was undoubtedly a scholar who loved to draw and used the excuse of creating a series of zodiac related paintings. That artist's name was Wang Su. The paintings were done in the late 19th century, before the end of the Qing Dynasty.
This painting refers to the year of the rabbit. This story takes place in the state of Chen. In the state of Chen the king had a concubine who was very beautiful and his favorite. He built a pavilion and fitted it out with a water course and a round moon gate like the deity in the mythical story of Chang E. Chang E is said to live in a beautiful pavilion on the moon, where she lives with a magical hare who is known to prepare herbal medicines in a large mortar. This is what the Chinese see in the moon, where Westerners see the 'man in the moon'. This concubine of the king of Chen was treated as the queen of the moon and was even called Cheng E.



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