Asian Zodiac Masks
The Asian zodiac masks displayed here were crafted from papier-mâché and feature the 12 creatures of the Chinese zodiac. They were collected in Beijing, China, 1998.
According to legend, there were 12 animals that appeared before Buddha (or the Jade Emperor, depending on the story) in response to an invitation. The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac represent the order of each animal’s arrival. The legends depicting each animal’s journey differ slightly, but the order that prevails is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
Human qualities are attributed to the characteristics of each creature of the Chinese zodiac. Tradition says that the year you were born determines the animal that is supposed to influence your life. Listed here are the 12 animals, the years they are celebrated, and their attributes.
Rat- Birth years: 1912 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008
Rats are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They work hard to achieve their goals and are likely to be perfectionists. They are usually very successful, but can be easily angered. They are thrifty with money.
Ox- Birth years: 1913 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009
Ox people are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. When they do speak, they are eloquent. They tend, however, to have fierce tempers and can be stubborn. Ox people are alert.
Tiger- Birth years: 1914 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010
Tigers are sensitive, given to deep thinking, and capable of great sympathy. They are courageous and powerful, but do not make up their minds easily. Tigers are respected, but may have conflict with authority.
Rabbit- Birth years: 1915 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011
Rabbits are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Good tempered, they are clever in business and tend to be financially lucky. Rabbits are conservative and wise.
Dragon- Birth years: 1916 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012
Dragons are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered, and stubborn. They are also honest, sensitive, brave, and trustworthy, they don’t make flowery speeches, but Dragons are the most eccentric of the animals.
Snake- Birth years: 1917 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013
Snakes say little and possess great wisdom. They are financially fortunate, but can be vain, selfish, and stingy. Although calm on the surface, they are intense, passionate and hate to fail. Yet, they have tremendous sympathy for others.
Horse- Birth years: 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014
Horses are cheerful, wise, talented, and perceptive, though they sometimes talk too much. They are impatient and hot-blooded about everything except daily work. Horses like entertainment and large crowds. They are very independent.
Ram-Birth years: 1919 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015
Rams are elegant and highly accomplished in the arts, but they are often shy, pessimistic, and puzzled about life. They are passionate about their beliefs. Rams are wise, gentle, and make money easily.
Monkey-Birth years: 1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016
Monkeys are the erratic geniuses of the cycle. They are clever, skillful, flexible, and can solve difficult problems with ease. They have a deep desire for knowledge, but tend to show disdain to others. Monkeys are strong willed.
Rooster-Birth years: 1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1891 1993 2005 2017
Rooster are deep thinkers and talented. They like to be busy, but are very disappointed in failure. Though adventurous on the outside, they are timid. Emotions and fortunes swing high and low. Roosters can be eccentric loners.
Dog- Birth years: 1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018
Dogs possess the best traits of human nature. They are loyal, honest, and inspirational. Dogs make good leaders, but are stubborn, eccentric, and can be emotionally cold. They care little for wealth, but somehow have it.
Pig- Birth years: 1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019
Pigs are chivalrous and gallant. They do everything with all their strength and never say retreat. They don’t have many friends, but they are extremely loyal. They are knowledgeable and loving. Pigs can be quick tempered, but hate quarreling.
To celebrate the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Chinese New Year (Year of the Rat), young artists from across British Columbia used these masks in a performance at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver, BC.