The Year of the Rat
It's the start of a new decade and it is also the Chinese Year of the Rat.
I myself, being born in 1984, am myself a Rat.
The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals.
According to legend, the Jade Emperor stated that the the order in which the creatures arrived to his party would decide their place in the Zodiac.
The Rat managed to trick the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.
Not the most noble of things to do! However I just love these stories about the Chinese Zodiac and all that each sign symbolises.
I have produced a Year of the Rat painting using watercolours Chinese inks - I think he's a little cutie! To get your very own limited edition print just click here.
To find out if you were born in the year of the rat visit this amazing Chinese New Year website which tells you all about this sign and the Chinese New Year in general.
As you know I love painting in Chinese inks. Take a look at my Chinese Dragon, Chinese Swallow and Koi Karp to name but a few paintings available having been produced on Chinese Ink with an oriental theme.
The Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch (地支子) and the hours after midnight. The Rat represents yang and the beginning of a new day.
In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.
Lucky things relating to those born in the Rat years:
Colors: blue, gold, green
Numbers: 2, 3
Flowers: lily, African violet, valley lily
Directions of auspiciousness: southeast, northeast
Directions of wealth: southeast, east
Directions of love: west
Lucky Months: March, September, and November.
Hang the calligraphic word 福 upside down on your front door to provide good luck and fortune for you and your loved ones this year from the 25th of January when it all kicks off!