Symbols and Rebuses in Chinese Art:
Figures, Bugs, Beasts, and Flowers
By: Fang Jing Pei

Review by on April 6th, 2008 // Filed under Hand and Reference Books

Symbols and Rebuses in Chinese Art: Figures, Bugs, Beasts, and Flowers

This is a modern book about symbolism found in Chinese art. An A-to-Z catalog of hundreds of symbols represented in the Chinese arts, with images and text to explore their meanings. Includes more than 200 color and black-and-white images of ceramics, porcelains, carvings, lacquers, embroidery, paintings, and wood blocks depicting the various symbols.

A rebus in Chinese art is a pictorial representation of a word or syllable. The author explains, for instance, why a depiction of a bat can mean happiness, and why some beautiful images, such as sparrows and pears, are rarely seen. Using myths, folklore, history, and religion to explore the significance of each symbol

It does not cover everything but what it covers it does well. The pictures are great. What I like about this book and what I believe sets if apart is that it also list much less known symbols like cactus and the five poisons and the “bak choy” pattern etc. It also list the meaning when one symbol is found together with another symbol. Quite a number of the listings also have images for reference.

This is a very good book and is highly recommended

Published by Ten Speed Press
214 pages
ISBN: 1-58008-551-2

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.