There are countless historical works of painting art that have been safeguarded to preserve the cultural history of ancient China.
And among the most common themes of these paintings, or painting concepts, is the subject of children.
But paintings of children are seldom just about the innocent happiness that kids enjoy before they come to terms with the responsibilities of becoming an adult. In Chinese culture, children in artworks often convey very special and specific meanings and symbolism that an outside observer simply cannot comprehend.
To ease your mind, paintings with children are generally associated with positive aspects of life.
Here are some of the most popular children-themed paintings and the meanings they are meant to subtly communicate.
1) 100 children
This is one of the most common children motif designs that are often found on kitchen ware, screens, embroidered onto textiles, etc.
This painting design of 100 boys is said to be a reference to the offsprings of King Zhou who according to legend had 100 sons.
Giving this as a gift to a married couple invariably means a wish for having many descendants from a happy marriage life.
2) 5 kids holding books
A group of 5 boys, each holding a book, is meant to convey the message that children brings a lot of benefits to a family other than happiness.
They can contribute i various ways. And would make the parents and grandparents proud indeed if they become scholars and earn a place in high office.
In some variations of this painting, the boys can be wearing clothing that protects their bellies.
3) 4 kids forming the shape of a square
The depiction of 4 kids forming a square is meant as a representation of the 4 blessings in Chinese tradition.
High office in government, good fortune, longevity, and happiness.
4) 2 children with a rabbit
The setting of this scene is usually in a room with an oriental dresser.
This is a painting about the Goddess of the moon Chang’e.
5) 2 children holding a box and lotus
When a painting illustrates 2 boys, one holding a lotus and the other holding a box, it is meant to represent the spirits of union and harmony.
They are also sometimes meant to convey the symbolism of double happiness.
6) Boy sitting on an elephant
A boy sitting on top of an elephant is seen as a good omen.
Good things are going to happen, or good news would arrive soon.
7) Boy riding an ox
This is a reference to the make protagonist in the love story of the weaving maiden.
While the magpie is usually the key creature in the story, a boy riding an ox is meant portray the man in the story.
8) Boy standing on a carp with one foot
This odd posture is a reference to the god of exams KuiXing.
The boy is usually holding a writing instrument such as a brush on one hand.