Chinese Symbols & Meanings

Chinese Symbols & Meanings

Chinese culture is full of symbolism. Wherever you look, there is symbolism that is just waiting to decoded and explained. Whether you are looking for symbolism in animals, plants, items, and even ideas, you can find it.

There is hardly a culture with more symbolism and hidden meanings than the Chinese culture. This article will only discuss a few of Chinese symbols and their meanings, but there are many more to be discovered.

#1. Butterfly

One important animal symbol in Chinese culture is the butterfly. The butterfly is most commonly used to symbolize love, but more specifically, young love. The butterfly symbolic meaning is supposed to stand for young, true, and everlasting love. There is even a story behind this symbolism.

The legend says that there was once a young couple that was madly in love with each other. There was one problem with their romance though. The girl in the relationship was wealthy, or at least, her family was. The boy was poor, and the girl’s father would not allow the two to be together because of this.

The two became distressed and eventually died of heartbreak. However, the couple was later reincarnated as butterflies, so that they could be together forever. Because of this story, the butterfly makes a great symbol for love, and even to this day people sometimes give couples items with the design of a butterfly on it to wish them luck in their romance.


#2. Six

Many numbers have symbolic significance in Chinese culture, so I just picked out one for the use of this article. Like many other numbers, six has an important significance in symbolism. The number six is meant to symbolize longevity and expansion.

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Longevity is an extremely important symbol in Chinese culture, so this makes the number six especially important. The number six meaning is also supposed to represent time, which could also influence is symbolism for longevity. In Chinese culture the day and night are split up into six different sections as well. The number six is also related to a symbolic Chinese animal as well, the snake.

number 6

#3. Yin & Yang

The Yin and Yang are extremely important symbols in Chinese culture, or to state it in a better way, they are two parts of one important symbol. Nearly everyone has seen the yin yang symbol, a circle with a black and white half, with smaller circles within these halves. While this is a simple looking symbol, its meanings are highly intricate.

Yin and yang are opposites, but they make up one whole. There cannot be dark without light, and there is no yin without yang. Yin goes with some darker aspects of the sign, like darkness, winter, and death. But yin also has some neutral relations like tigers, females, and even numbers.

Yang on the other hand, usually relates to positive traits like light, life, and summer. Of course, there are neutral traits to this half of the symbol as well, like mountains, the sky, and the direction south. A person is supposed to try to keep yin and yang equal in their lives, even if it may seem more desirable to have more yang.

yin yang

These are just some simple examples of Chinese symbols and their meanings.

This website also has articles written about symbolism in other aspects of Chinese symbolism like meanings for the Chinese symbol of longevity, Chinese flower meanings, and many more. Other symbolism not entirely exclusive to Chinese culture can also be found on this website as well.

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