Chinese Decorative Arts

This year we made the decision to turn the Hirschberg Gallery (the small entry space of the Sabatini Gallery) into a permanent collection space. That means more of the library’s art collection will be on display year-round. You now get two shows instead of one, beginning with symbols and their meaning found in Chinese decorative art objects!

The dragon is a symbol of male vigor, fertility, ultimate abundance, prosperity and good fortune. It is the symbol of the Emperor.

A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself, often of a more abstract nature, like the Apple computer “apple” or the Nike “swoosh”. Symbols play a large role in our everyday lives, from the green mermaid on your morning coffee cup (Starbucks logo) to the important red hexagon at your street corner.  Symbols are common to all cultures and are used to communicate messages. For the Chinese, they can represent virtues such as luck, prosperity, a long life, happiness and wealth.

Discover some of the many symbols found in Chinese decorative arts on display at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery in the Hirschberg Gallery from April 6 through May 18.

In China, fish are a symbol of abundance and wealth. A pair of carp symbolize love, domestic felicity, partnership, tenacity, fertility, and renewal.