Everybody was Wu Fu Fighting

Next time you’re in London, I’d highly recommend popping into the V&A Museum (its right next to the Natural History and Science Museums).  Walk down the awesome (yet, not too ostentatious) hall of sculptures, and pop into room 44, the China exhibit, and start looking for bats!

Rather than the ‘creatures of the night’ and harbingers of doom/dracula/general spookiness that they are here in the West, bats in China are seen as a symbol of good luck.  The Chinese word for ‘bat’ is ‘fu’, which is (effectively) the same as their word for ‘fortune/luck’ (the pronunciation is the same but the symbol very slightly different).  As such, bats can be found in art, carvings, ceramics, paintings and embroidery (from the 17th century onward), and particularly in ceremonial objects.

Bats are often pictured in groups/circles of five bats in the symbol ‘Wu Fu’ (Five Fortunes), which are Happiness, Health, Wealth, Longevity and a Good Death.

China has a very rich bat fauna (There’s a fantastic website here if you’d like to read more about them!) with well over 50 species, including four species of megabat.

2 Replies to “Everybody was Wu Fu Fighting”

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