This year’s star: The pig

The Pig is the salt of the earth, says a Water Rabbit/Korean Cat.

The Bowes Museum's Blog

The New Chinese Year starts today represented by the year off the Pig. The Pig is one of the 12 animals that won ‘The Great Race’ set by the Jade Emperor, in Ancient China. It came last, because it stopped for food and a nap, but as a reward for finishing the race, had the 12th year of the zodiac named after him. So the legend says. It is said that its characteristics are conscientiousness, generosity, calm, compassion but it can also be gullible and quiet.

ant-238 Pigs by T. Horsley, oil on canvas, 1807

But how is the pig seen in other cultures? And what symbolism does it have in art?

In biblical or Islamic texts the pig is perceived as an unclean creature. In Christianity is associated with violence, cruelty, lust and gluttony. In Buddhist illustrations the pig or wild boar is at the center of the Samsara Wheel…

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