Most people know the citron as a yellow citrus fruit. And many more think of it as a type of lemon.
But those who have tasted citron and lemon would be able to tell their distinctive difference apart.
There is also a type of citron with amusing elongated segments. They can look like slender fingers growing out of the citrus fruit.
This has led to this citron going with a variety of fancy names like finger lemon, Buddha’s hand, Buddha’s finger, etc.
The reference to Buddha is due to some of these fruits with “fingers” that resemble like some of the Buddha’s gestures depicted in artwork.
The main symbolism of finger lemon citron is that of blessings, especially for happiness.
When found in paintings and artifacts, it is almost always paired with other items that carry auspicious meanings. This is so that the meanings contained in these symbolism come from an angle of blessings.
For example, when it is illustrated with the lotus, it represents blessed with longevity and happiness.
Together with the peach and pomegranate, it is an arrangement called the 3 abundance (三多). The 3 abundance refer to the life aspects of longevity, progeny, and blessings of happiness. The plum is sometimes used as a substitute for the peach and lychee for pomegranate.
With the ruyi, it symbolizes a rise to power with blessings from the people. A most suitable gift symbol for someone pursuing high office.
Paintings with the citron can also refer to immortals due to the linkage with Buddha.