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Chickens / Chinese sculpture, c.141 BC
Chinese, western Han Dynasty,
c. 141 BC.
Terracotta, heights 15.2 (14.7) cm,
length 14.8 (11.3) cm, weight 0.3 (0.28)
kg. Found in grave of Yangling,
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Picture of the Month February
With the month of February, we enter a new Lunar year. In East Asian communities, the lunar calendar has long been of great cultural importance and many festivities centre around the moon cycles.
One of the most popular and famous observances of the lunar calendar is Chinese New Year. It is the largest holiday in the world with an estimated 1.357 billion people joining in the celebrations this year.
2017 marks the year of the rooster. In ancient times, whilst being famous for his early morning call, people also regarded roosters as a mascot since they ate harmful insects.
Each Chinese New Year is also linked to one of the four elements. 2017 is the year of fire. Those born this year are Fire Roosters, meaning they are supposedly trustworthy with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work.
Our picture of the month is therefore this photograph taken by our photographer Laurent Lecat of a red rooster and a hen. The objects date from the Han Dynasty (c. 141 BC), were found in a grave in the Chinese province of Shaanxi and are displayed at the Archaeological Institute of Shaanxi Province.