UIG794458 Chinese New Year (photo); Godong/UIG;  out of copyright

Chinese New Year 2015: The Year of the Sheep (Part 2)

This is the second part of the ‘Chinese New Year 2015: The Year of the Sheep’, bringing you some intriguing facts to prepare for the upcoming year.

The lucky number 8

The importance of numbers in Chinese culture plays a significant role in determining the luck of someone’s fate. One of the extremely lucky ones is considered to be the number eight.

In Mandarin Chinese, the word ‘eight’ has a similar sound to the words for ‘prosperity’ and ‘wealth’, while in Cantonese Chinese it is similar to ‘fortune’. Eight is also viewed as an auspicious number because of its unique symmetry and, when laid on its side, it resembles the Greek symbol for infinity. This Chinese new year is all about luck, as the sheep happens to be the eighth sign in the Chinese zodiac!

Chinese New Year decoration tangerine luck symbols/ Godong; Infinity/ Lincoln Seligman
Chinese New Year decoration tangerine luck symbols/ Godong; Infinity/ Lincoln Seligman

The New Year’s Predictions

It as believed that the Year of the Sheep will be calm and peaceful as the sheep itself, as opposed to the boastful character of the previous one of the ‘Wooden’ Horse. ‘Wooden’ Sheep should also bring prosperity and wellbeing throughout the entire year. The predictions conclude that it’s time to focus on creativity, as well as health and wellbeing. Let’s find the time to celebrate this one!

Chinese New Year in Paris/Godong
Chinese New Year in Paris/Godong

‘Sheep/Goat’ traits

Like any other zodiac sign, this one also comes with its particular personality traits. It is associated with the Sun sign of Cancer in Western astrology, though it brings its unique characteristics as well. The sheep is thought to be the most idealistic, calm and artistic of all signs. No wonder why so many famous artists such as Michelangelo, Giorgio Vasari and Jan Lievens were a Sheep sign.

 Goat/ Pollyanna; Ewe and Lamb/ James Lynch
Goat/ Pollyanna; Ewe and Lamb/ James Lynch

Sheep in Chinese Art

The sheep is considered divine therefore, it shows strong impact in Chinese art. Throughout centuries, many scholars from the Chinese School painted sheep/goats.

Although mostly famous for his horse paintings, Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322) was an eminent calligrapher and painter during the Yuan Dynasty, who also painted sheep and goats. The painting below is inscribed with Zhao Mengfu’s motivation for creating this work: “I have painted horses before, but have never painted sheep [or goats]. (…) Though I cannot get close to the ancient masters, I have managed somewhat to capture their essential spirit.”

Sheep and Goat, Yuan Dynasty/ Zhao Mengfu
Sheep and Goat, Yuan Dynasty/ Zhao Mengfu

Find out more:

Read ‘Chinese New Year 2015: The Year of the Sheep (Part 1)’

See all photos in our archive of Chinese New Year celebrations

Get in touch with the Bridgeman team on uksales@bridgemanimages.com with enquiries about licensing images and clearing copyright.

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