Cultural depictions of animals have been around for a long time, and one of the most common is the bat. In Western culture, bats can be seen as scary and dark, but in Chinese culture, they have a much more positive and happy meaning.
Bats are thought to be a symbol of good luck, so they’re often used in Chinese art and literature as a sign of good fortune. In this article, we’ll look at how bats are represented in Chinese culture as well as Feng Shui. We’ll also look at their history and what they mean.
Top Symbols of Bats in Chinese Culture
Bats have been associated with good fortune and happiness in Chinese culture since the Han Period (206 BCE–220 CE), when they were frequently depicted in literature, art, and mythology. Because of their associations with good fortune, happiness, and success, bats have become a symbol of optimism and positivity in Chinese society.
Several experts suggest that their significance stems from a linguistic coincidence. Because Mandarin uses an ideographic writing system rather than an alphabetic one, there are many homonyms or words that sound similar but mean different things.
Basically, different words have different meanings depending on how they’re said. For example, the Chinese character for bat is “蝠” (fú), which is a homophone of the character for good luck, “福” (fú). So, the bat is associated with success and luck.
That’s why “fú” is one of the words that Chinese people use to describe what they want in life: money, a great marriage, lots of kids, and a long lifespan.
Bats flying around peach trees are a common sight in Chinese artwork, so it’s no surprise that they’re a popular decorating theme. The “fú” character “福” (pronounced “fú”) is a sign of luck and happiness and is often seen on front doors around the Spring Festival in China.
It’s believed that “fú” is a pun on “fu dao,” which means “coming of happiness” or “blessings”.
If someone comes in and sees your front door with the “福” character upside down, they might say something like “Your fu is upside down!” which means “Your luck has come!”
The “peaches of immortality” are a symbol of longevity. They come from the garden of the “Mother Queen of the West,” a goddess who lives in the mountains and grants eternal life to her followers.
It’s said that a bat heard a conversation between her and the Monkey King, where the Monkey King offered a reward to whoever could bring her a full-grown peach.
The bat was smart enough to fly to the garden and grab a peach from a tree, then give it to the queen mother in exchange for seeing in the dark. That’s why bats are so often seen in dark places.
The 16th-century compendium of materia medica (compendium of medicinal plants and medicines, 本草纲目) mentions several things that can be done with bat ingredients. It’s called “baopuzi” and it’s written by Ge Hong, a philosopher and alchemist from the Eastern Jin dynasty.
According to the book, if you want to increase the lifespan of a bat by up to one million years, you need to put it in a powder that looks like snow and take it orally.
Chinese medicine has been using bats for centuries. A lot of the treatments use bat guano (feces), which is believed to have healing properties. It’s thought that the liver of the bat can help with liver problems, and the heart can help with heart problems.
Bats are seen as a symbol of wisdom and intelligence in Chinese culture. They’re believed to be active during the night and have the ability to navigate in the dark. In Chinese culture, the water element is often associated with bats, which symbolize wealth and success.
Giving a gift with two bats on it is a great way to express good vibes and good luck. In Asian cultures, bats are often paired with two butterflies, which are a symbol of marital bliss. So, if you’re giving a gift to a newlywed, make sure to include two bats!
Bats and the Five Great Blessings
In Chinese mythology, the story of the five blessed bats is known as “Wu Fu” (五福) which means “Five Blessings”. Basically, the five bats represent longevity, luck, health, virtue, and peace. When you see the five bats in a group,
Bats are a big part of Chinese holidays and customs. During the mid-autumn festival, people hang bat-shaped lanterns in their homes and places to bring good luck. Plus, you can make and eat bat-shaped pastries called ling gok (菱角).
It’s a sign that you want these blessings to be given to you. Plus, the number five is a lucky number in Chinese culture, so it makes sense that the five bats would be in a group.
Bats have been around for a long time; they’ve been around since the time of Confucianism, which dates back to 403 BCE. They’re thought to have an eternal life and even be immortal. Zhang Guoao is said to be one of the Eight Immortal Bats from the Taoist Pantheon, and they’re believed to be spiritual white bats. This connection is even more special because they live in caves; it’s thought that these caves are the gateway to the eternal world.
The Chinese word for bat is the same as the Chinese word for good luck, so it’s no surprise that bats are associated with luck. That’s why you see the five bats on greeting cards—it’s a sign that the person giving the card is wishing the person receiving it luck and happiness.
People in China have a special way of wishing their babies a happy life by putting bat-shaped buttons on their caps. This is because bats have amazing vision and can hang upside down, so people associate them with good health.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was based on bat body parts, and people would look for bats that were thought to be thousands of years old and silver-colored, feeding on minerals like stalactites or ice cubes.
Love of Virtue
The Chinese believe that having good morals is key to having a good life. Bats are seen as a symbol of virtue, so they’re seen as harmless and powerful creatures that help keep the world’s natural balance.
It’s even said that the Chinese god Zhong Kui (鍾馗), who fights against ghosts and demons, works with bats.
The Chinese consider a peaceful death to be a blessing. It’s usually thought of as the end of old age, with no pain or suffering and a sense of acceptance, comfort, and peace.
Other Chinese Symbols with Five Bats
If you look at the five bats in Chinese, you’ll see that they’re surrounded by other characters and symbols that have a special meaning. Red is seen as a color that brings luck, so red bats are a popular choice. Plus, the sound of red in Chinese is “宏”, so when you add the two words together, 宏福”—it’s a symbol that means a lot of luck.
It’s said that having a picture or decoration with five red bats on it will bring you luck, and it’s also said that red is a color that protects you from bad luck.
When you see bats on a mountain with a peach tree, it’s a way to say, “Long live you from the southern mountains,” since the peach is believed to be immortal and long-lasting.
When you see the five bats with a sea scene, it’s a sign of the Daoist Isle of the Fortunate, or maybe it’s just a way of saying, “May your luck be as good as the eastern sea.” Sometimes you can even see bats flying among blue clouds.
It’s thought that the shape of a cloud is similar to the shape of an elixir of immortality, so it’s equivalent to that.
May you have a long and happy life! It could also mean you’re as happy as the sky. When you add five bats to the longevity character, it’s a great way to say good luck and have a long life. Sometimes, the bats fly upside down, which is a good sign.
The word “bat” is represented by the character fu, and it looks like “upide down” or “arrive” when combined with the character dao. It’s like luck is falling from the sky!
Bats are a big part of Chinese art. You can see them running around on the creases of fabric and chasing each other over beautiful china. Gold bats are used to decorate altar cloths, and jade bats are used to adorn jewelry. There are probably lots of other items, like toys, spades, saddles, straps, tapestries, and more, that have been decorated with bats.
Europeans and early Americans used bats and wings to draw attention to their devils and demons, but the Chinese used the same wings that Westerners find gross to decorate their favorite things. During the Ming and Qing eras, there was a lot of interest in themes of longevity, like longevity characters and legendary figures. This was followed by the rise of immortality themes.
It was common to see bat decorations on royal vases, which was a reflection of the style of the time. There were also designs with little red bats flying between blue clouds that were associated with immortality. This pattern was sometimes combined with other designs to create something that could be used in different situations.
Five bats have been used in Chinese art for centuries as a symbol of the five blessings: health, longevity, wealth, love, and natural death. They started to show up more and more on art, furniture, decor, clothes, jewelry, and more. They were also seen on tapestries, fabrics, and even on thrones. Over time, five bats became the most popular topic in art.
Thousands of years before Christ was born, the Chinese started to appreciate bats. In Oriental culture, bats were seen as a symbol of male and female power, with bats representing the masculine essence and flowers and fruits representing the female.
The peach, which is a symbol of female fertility, was often paired with a bat. Now we know that the connection between the peach and the bat is both spiritual and ecological. Peaches are one of the most popular fruits in the world, and they were first grown in China around 5000 years ago. Before that, they relied on bats for their seeds.
Bat in Feng Shui
If you’re looking for a way to bring luck and prosperity to your home or business, you might want to consider incorporating bats into your Feng Shui practice. Bat patterns can be seen all over, from furniture and cushions to money bowls and coin tassels.
They’re seen as a protective shield against illness and evil and can help bring good vibes and energy into the environment. Plus, the number five is a symbol of the Five Blessings, which is a key part of Chinese teachings.
Some Feng Shui applications of bat iconography include:
- Bat-shaped objects: Using bat-shaped objects, such as mirrors or ornaments, can help to bring positive energy into your home. These products are said to promote peace and balance by reflecting good energy and deflecting negative energy.
- Adding images of bats to your home or place of business can also help to bring luck and fortune. Place beautiful objects such as sculptures and artwork portraying bats in key spots such as the foyer or the wealth corner to attract good energy into your home.
- Colors associated with bats: Black, purple, and gold are just a few examples of colors that may assist improve the positive energy in your area. These hues are considered to bring riches and success and can be used to decorate your home with accessories such as throw cushions, carpets, and curtains.
- Plants associated with bats, such as night-blooming jasmine and moonflower, can also help to improve the energy in your environment. These plants are thought to attract bat energy and provide good fortune and success.
- Furniture shaped like a bat: By employing furniture shaped like a bat, such as chairs or tables, you can assist incorporate bat symbolism into your environment. You can make these objects the focal point of your décor, and they will offer you prosperity and happiness.
- Furthermore, the amount of bats used should be odd rather than even, as this is supposed to generate more positive energy.
To be fair, the bat sign is not commonly used in feng shui applications in the Western world.
Bats are seen negatively in the Western world. They are associated with witchcraft, black magic, vampires, haunted castles, malevolent witches, and the dark. As a result, they are rarely used in Feng Shui. After all, because feng shui treatments are largely affected by culturally distinct symbols, they may vary from place to region.
As you may be aware, Feng Shui symbols have a strong relationship to the symbolic level that is culturally meaningful; so, you should choose a symbol for a Feng Shui cure based on what it means to you rather than what it implies in Feng Shui literature.
How to Use Feng Shui Placement of Bat Symbols in Your Home
If you’re into Feng Shui and want to bring good luck and energy into your home or office, there are some things to keep in mind when decorating with bats.
- It is ideal to place bats in your home’s southeast corner, as this is the area associated with success and fortune.
- The bats must be placed in an area where they can be seen and identified. This increases the likelihood that their influence and positive energy will be felt throughout the entire area.
- Keep bats away from busy or untidy areas. This can interrupt energy movement in the region, reducing the bats’ helpful influence.
- Red bats are frequently depicted in art as emerging from a vase or jar. This symbolizes a pleasant living with little barriers, as well as good fortune and delight.
- The bat is also depicted on occasion biting a golden coin on this plaque, which is embellished with a mystic knot and a crimson tassel. It is typically hanging in the front of your home, near the main door, or at other chi entry points to bring riches, health, good fortune, and a natural death at an old age.
- The bats should be hung in the west or northwest to bring out the metal element for a happy family and mentor luck in order to receive assistance from useful and significant people.
- Leaving them outside could endanger them, and if they don’t feel welcome in the house, they may take their lucky energy somewhere.
- Some people may have encountered another representation of feng shui bats that includes five bats, five swastikas, and a lifespan symbol. As if bestowing strength on the longevity emblem, the bats and swastika form a circle around it. This arrangement indicates long-term prosperity and contentment.
- Because red bats are commonly associated with good fortune, they can be utilized as decorations practically anywhere in the home.
- A pair of bats brings double happiness.
- Keep these little animals in communal areas such as the living room or kitchen so that everyone in the house can benefit from their wonderful energy.
- Because you don’t want the bats to feel threatened, it’s probably not a good idea to have them displayed in regions where other birds are kept as pets. When they encounter a cage, they may get concerned that they will lose their freedom.
- Choose bat figurines or photos that are constructed of high-quality materials and are visually appealing. This increases the likelihood that the bats will contribute to the overall harmony and beauty of the environment.
Decoding the Meaning Behind Bats in Your House
Because bats have highly developed sensory organs that can “smell” out sites with auspicious chi, the Chinese think that they only make their eggs in fortunate locations.
When genuine bats seek refuge in your home, it is one of the most auspicious signs of oncoming money luck, as the bat is a symbol of prosperity and success. As a result, unless absolutely necessary, do not chase them away.
You don’t have to feed them lavishly every day to prove your deservingness of the good fortune they provide. It would be sufficient to let them alone rather than treat them as a pest.
They must already think you’re good enough because they’ve been to your place. They would undoubtedly think differently of you if you chased them away.
Finally, the role of bats in Feng Shui and Chinese culture is both intriguing and crucial. Bats are widely employed in Feng Shui to promote luck and good fortune since they are associated with luck, money, and happiness.
Despite the fact that bats are linked with good in Western society, they are sometimes misunderstood. Nonetheless, their enduring relevance in Chinese iconography and culture as a sign of blessings cannot be denied. Keep the above principles in mind while installing bat figurines or images in your home or company if you want to use bats in Feng Shui to generate positive energy and good luck.
- Most images are from wikipedia