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What are some examples of Chinese symbols and their meanings?

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Quick Answer

Examples of Chinese symbols include foo dogs, dragons, and the yin and yang circle. Foo dogs, which are actually lions, were placed as sentries outside of the palaces and homes of the Chinese aristocracy to let visitors know they were entering a place of importance.

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Foo dogs also have their own symbolism. A male foo dog has one paw on a globe, whereas the female has a paw on a puppy. A pair of foo dogs are best displayed together, with the male on the right and the female on the left.

The yin and yang symbol shows the interconnectedness of things that seem to be opposite. It is a circle with a black side with a white circle within it, and a white side with a black circle within it. Yin is the black side and yang is the white side. Yin represents that which is soft, cold, wet and yielding, while yang represents that which is bright, solid, hard, energetic and hot. Chinese medicine believes that a balance of these qualities leads to good health.

Unlike the western dragon, which is malevolent and destructive, the Chinese dragon is benign and brings good luck. Like the western dragon, it could breathe fire, but it also had the power to bring rain and to change its size. Its scales possess the characteristics of both yin and yang.

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