Surround yourself with lucky objects, the Chinese believe, and good fortune will come to you. In word and image, this exquisite book explores the bounteous meanings of the five-fold symbols of happiness: luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness, and wealth. Drenched in color and lavishly illustrated from ancient and modern sources, Five-Fold Happiness interweaves both Chinese and English text. Peaches, the number eight, the imperial color of gold, a cat with one paw beckoning, or the dragon dance—here are some of the familiar images now revealed in their rich significance. Whether readers choose to embrace these symbols in their everyday lives or simply enjoy them on these glorious pages, Five-Fold Happiness is altogether auspicious.
|Publisher:||Chronicle Books LLC|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||47 MB|
|Note:||This product may take a few minutes to download.|
About the Author
Vivien Sung was born in Sydney, Australia. She now lives in San Francisco, where she works as a graphic designer. She has studied in China and travels there frequently.
Table of Contents
|God of luck||28|
|New year pictures||45|
|Dragon and lion dances||54|
|God of prosperity||77|
|Carp leaping over the dragon's gate||80|
|Sticky rice cake||91|
|One hundred long lives||104|
|God of longevity||106|
|Queen mother of the west||130|
|Goddess of longevity||134|
|Fungus of immortality||142|
|Double happiness character||162|
|God of double happiness||167|
|Gods of unity and harmony||191|
|Melons and seeds||199|
|God of wealth||220|
|Gold and silver ingots||232|
|God liu hai||238|
|Fa cai plant||246|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness, and Wealth based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Five-fold happiness is a wonderful little book that suffers from its clumsy sub-sized coffee table format that makes reading the book uncomfortable. The book's strengths reveal themselves in browsing, any way. The five Chinese concepts of happiness are: Luck, prosperity (actually: eminence), longevity (health), happiness (marital bliss) and wealth. Compared to the Lockean life, liberty and property and Jefferson's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness one can detect different relations toward government. Similar to the etatist French and Austrians, the Chinese seek liberty only within a government framework not liberty from government. The Austrian quip of defining Professor as a wide-spread Viennese first name, the Chinese display a penchant for rank and external validation (see also the Roman ideal of the vir clarus). The atrocious history of Chinese famines might explain the importance of longevity. The Confucian hierarchy also means that only the old are truly allowed to fool around. The quest for longevity is thus also seen as a reward for a life of toil in the service of others. Absent both from the Chinese and Anglo-American concepts is the idea of solidarity that goes beyond the family clan level: Neither equality and solidarity reach the pantheon of values. The Chinese concepts are surprisingly individualistic, with the benefits accruing to the individual and his/her family. How the Communist ideas of fraternity fit into these concepts isn't apparent. In the current Vienna exhibition about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, much of the resentment presented was directed towards the rich/educated blocking the masses from advancement.Vivien Sung presents her five concepts with auspicious objects. A surprising number of associations are based on homophones: Sound forms its meaning. Food, animals, objects and color display a very concrete and also ancient manifestation of these concepts (in contrast to more cerebral appeals to ideas), a rich enchanting collection of symbols. The book lacks a further reading section. A companion volume on Chinese negative values and dreads might be less marketable but would be equally interesting.
"Five-Fold Happiness" is a comprehensive guide to symbols from traditional Chinese culture, particularly those that fall under the five tenets of "luck, prosperity, longevity, happiness, and wealth." The book is beautifully designed, bilingual throughout, and well-researched.The book can be read in any order -- 1-2 pages are devoted to each symbol (examples of symbols include the lotus and the god of double happiness), and these are grouped accordingly under the five tenets listed above. Unfortunately, this format is also its downfall: It's hard to really learn about these symbols by just reading about them one by one. Thus, the book is a great reference but remains only a pretty good book.
I am first generation Taiwanese and started out buying the book for myself. I was so impressed with the content and detail of the writing that I bought two more copies the next day. I showed it to my father to see if the stories were accurate and it even passed my father's approval who is a skeptic on many traditional chinese translations. He couldn't even put the book down, so I just gave it to him. The next day I bought three more....and more and more. The book makes a great gift for those interested in the asian culture, especially those of us who have wondered about the meanings and stories of chinese characters, symbols, objects and traditions. Now when my friends ask me what certain chinese symbols and objects mean, I'll have an answer. I am pleased to say I can pass on this part of my history to my friends and feel confident that it is right. If it passed my father's approval than it must be pretty good.
I'm 2nd generation Chinese-American, and this book is like an encyclopedia to my heritage! I've bought copies for all of my 2nd generation friends. My sisters are using this book to help them teach their children about these fundamental principles of Chinese culture, which otherwise may have been forgotten. Another Chinese-American friend of mine (who grew up in Taiwan) said that she learned so much from this book; many of the Chinese idioms she heard all of her life are now explained, with great accuracy in context and origin. Even my parents (who are from China) were impressed with this book's comprehensive coverage and accuracy. It is also aesthetically striking, from the beautiful cover, to the photos and drawings on nearly every page which complements the storytelling perfectly. What an amazing compilation!