Chinese Wealth Symbols
February 10, 2011 17 Comments
Chinese business people surround themselves with objects that are symbols of wealth. They hope these auspicious objects will “help” their businesses run smoothly and make good profits.Whether you believe in them or not , they are really pretty and are nice things to keep around you and to give as gifts and souvenirs.They do indeed make people feel good!Here is a list of Chinese Wealth Symbols I could find.Tell me if you know of more.
The Chinese wealth symbol cai ,on the left ,means get rich and accumulate material things.The Chinese view cai as necessary for happiness.Cai comes from a thriving business, trade or good harvest.
To The Chinese ‘jing yu” gold fish is the ultimate symbol of wealth and abundance, as jing literally means “gold” and yu sounds like abundance.As such, business people love to place a bowl of gold fish or art works of the fish in their offices or homes as a wealth symbol.
This is a picture , on the left,of a child holding an oversized gold fish and a lotus leaf. It’s a common Chinese New Year motif that means successive years of abundance This is because the word for lotus ‘lian’ is pronounced the same as the word for continuous.
Since ancient times the expression ‘zhao cai jing bao’ – bring wealth and treasures -is displayed as panels and motifs on walls to attract good business. Bao refers to yuan bao, the shoe shaped ingot made of gold or silver,on the right, that was used as money in old China.
This picture on the left is call ‘da fu da li’ which means big fortune and big profits.The oversized boy in the picture is the famous mud boy from Hui Shan, Wu Xi, called Da (Big) Ah Fu (Good Fortune). In Chinese folk legends this cheeky and smiling boy wearing a belly band brings peace and luck.Notice the gold ingots in his lap radiating with golden light. An auspicious sign indeed!
Qian” means coin in Chinese.Guess they are pretty obvious symbols of wealth worldwide.
Chinese believe that 8 is a lucky number.This is because the pronunciation for the number 8 is “ba”, which sounds like “fa”, which means to make a fortune, to acquire wealth, or to become rich. Many Chinese people often choose the digit 8 if at all possible for telephone numbers,house numbers etc.
The picture on the right is of Cai Shen.He’s believed to be the Heavenly Treasurer-in-Chief and God of Wealth.He was once a mortal general named Zhao who fought for the Emperor Zhou, he rode a black tiger into battle and was armed with exploding pearls. He attained enlightenment on top of a mountain.Putting up an image of him in your home or office ,it is believed,will do your bank balance no end of good.Here is another post with with more about him:https://wealthymatters.com/2011/02/09/the-chinese-god-of-wealth/
Chinese people often bring along tangerines whenever they visit a relative or friend during Chinese New Year. Kids offer two oranges (double is lucky), to elders and say Happy New Year ‘xing nian kuai le!’Why is the tangerine orange offered during Chinese New Year?Because tangerine ‘ju’ sounds like ‘ji’ meaning auspicious or lucky.Two tangerines mean “double lucky”.Moreover, people also choose large tangerines because ‘da ju, sounds like ‘da ji’ meaning lots of auspiciousness.
A tangerine plant which looks like a lot of gold coins hanging on a tree is called golden tangerine ‘jin ju’ – money tree.It is believed to bring wealth and peace and therefore is a favorite plant to keep around the household and to give as a gift to friends during Chinese New Year
Jiao Zi or dumplings are symbols of wealth because of their resemblance to yuan bao, the shoe shaped ingot made of gold or silver,featured above.
The Chinese hand out Red Packets ,such as the one in the picture on the left,on Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival and on other auspicious occassions like marriages.A Chinese Red Packet is nothing but a simple red envelope in which money is enclosed. These evelopes are decorated with lucky symbols, conveying blessing of prosperity for those to whom they are bestowed. The envelopes are red as that color represents blessings and prosperity in the Chinese culture.
Liu Hai ,on the right ,is the Taoist God of Wealth.He is believed to have been a civil servant and alchemist in 10th Century China. His pet and best friend was a huge three-legged toad. His magical pet would carry him anywhere he wished. Sometimes his toad would hide in a well and would have to be coaxed out with a shiny gold coin. Having an image or carving of him ,with a beaming grin , juggling gold coins and accompanied by his beloved toad ,in your house is believed to bring the cash flooding in and keeping his image in your wallet is supposed to make you a millionaire.