Chinese Symbolism
Legend and mythology are prevalent in the decorations used to enhance the beauty of Chinese furnishings and architecture. The following is a list of many of the animal, insect and plant symbols frequently used and their meanings.
ARTEMESIA - The aromatic artemesia plant is one of the "Eight Precious Things." The symbol is used to drive away disease, and when hung over a door it will disperse evil influence.
BADGER AND MAGPIE - These animals, when depicted together, symbolize a blessing of happiness. 
BAMBOO - Bamboo is an emblem of longevity, and is one of the 'Three Friends of Winter'. It is often depicted with pine trees and prunus (wild cherry.) 
BAT - Emblem of good fortune. When something is depicted upside down it means it has arrived, so the common depiction of an upside-down bat symbolizes good fortune has arrived. The Wu Fu, or Five Bats of Happiness, stand for the five blessings: long life, riches, health, love and a natural death. 
BEAR - The bear normally is used as a symbol for Man. 
BUTTERFLY - With Plum Blossoms symbolizes long life and beauty. With a cat means a wish to live to 70 or 80 years 
CARP - The carp represents advantage, or benefit in business. Sometimes portrayed with a dragon, referring to a phrase used by the Chinese in ancient times for man who obtains a high official position: "Carp jumping up to or over the dragon gate". The dragon gate represents "the door to the court". Nowadays, Chinese uses it to congratulate or to compliment one with unusual ability into a good future. 
CAT - The cat is the protector of silkworms, and disperses evil spirits. Because of their good eyesight, they are said to be able to see spirits in the dark. 
CHRYSANTHEMUM - Together with plum, peony and lotus symbolizes the four seasons. It is the emblem of autumn and symbol of joviality. It is also a symbol of long life, or duration. 
CICADA - The cicada represents immortality, or life after death. 
COCKEREL - Protection against bad astral influences. It also frightens ghosts away at sunrise by its crowing. A cock also represents acheivement and fame. 

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