An Artist's Quest

Gung Hay Fat Choy: Good Fortune in the New Year!

If your new years resolutions have already fallen flat (as mine have) then we have a second chance this week.  As many of you know we are in the midst of Chinese New Year celebrations that run from the new moon to full moon in February.  This year the new moon was on February 3rd.  We are now in The Year of the Rabbit.  I got to thinking about Chinese New Year last week as I was searching around the web for rooster photos and references and kept stumbling upon The Year of the Rooster pages.  In fact I used some of the rooster personality characteristics I found on last Fridays art post.  So it dawned on me that it might be fun to do a rabbit this week.  And almost on cue I had not one but two Jack Rabbit sightings last week, another sign? I think so!

I’ve done a little digging on our old friend the Rabbit/Hare and it seems she has been busy through time and across vast regions with the business of myth making, bounding far beyond the Chinese Zodiac in symbolic importance. Here we commonly refer to the man in the moon but in many cultures it’s a rabbit they see.  There is an oft-found triad of rabbits that according to the The Three Hares Project (see link below) rabbit or hare is woven into the symbolism of Buddism, Islam, Chritianity and Judaism.  The eariest known example can be found in Buddhist cave temples in China dating for 581-618 CE and was carried the length of the Silk Road popping up in 12th century Iran on a brass tray and on coins, the trio of rabbits is found in cathedrals all over Europe, and rabbit reference appears on a ceiling panel from a 18th century German synagogue.  A trickster rabbit is found Aztec mythology named Ometotchtlin, she is called Kalulu in Central Africa, the Khmer culture of Cambodia features a trickster rabbit in it’s folklore and our own the trickster, Br’er Rabbit plays the part in African American folklore is named. Rabbit is featured in Betrix Potter stories, Margery Williams’ Velveteen Rabbit, and Lewis Carroll’s tardy rabbit. Then of course there is Bugs Bunny, the Easter Bunny and sadly the Playboy bunny.  What can it all mean?  I’ll ponder Rabbit this week , if you have in insights please share.  I’ll share what I come up with on Friday!

Three Hares Project (http://www.chrischapmanphotography.co.uk/hares/index.html)

Great photos of Chinese New Years celebrations around the world. http://news.nationalpost.com/photo_gallery/photos-chinese-new-year-2011-the-year-of-the-rabbit/

Jack rabbit photo From Doug Runs 365 http://dougrun365.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-277-tearing-up-trail.html

Terri Windings website The symbolism of Rabbits and Hareshttp://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrRabbits.html

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