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Carved ivory netsuke, Japan, about 18th century. Museum no. A.44-1930

Carved ivory netsuke in the shape of a dog, Japan, about 18th century. Museum no. A.44-1930

The Chinese use the lunar calendar for festive occasions including the New Year which falls somewhere between late January and early February. The cycle of twelve animal signs derives from Chinese folklore as a method for naming the years. The animals follow one another in an established order and are repeated every twelve years - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal has particular characteristics and people born in a certain year are believed to take on these characteristics.

Dog characteristics

People born in the Year of the Dog are highly responsible and compassionate. Dog people are reliable, loyal, faithful and honest with a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to support the underdog. They can be very pessimistic, looking for all the bad things that might happen. This makes them anxious people who can also harbour irrational fears. They may be very stubborn and unyielding. They enjoy being physically active. They can make good leaders but they can sometimes be rather overwhelming. Dog people can also be very nosy.

Dog Years: 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

The following objects show examples of dogs from different parts of the V&A's collections. The dog has different meanings to different cultures and religions throughout the world.

A gift in your will

You may not have thought of including a gift to a museum in your will, but the V&A is a charity and legacies form an important source of funding for our work. It is not just the great collectors and the wealthy who leave legacies to the V&A. Legacies of all sizes, large and small, make a real difference to what we can do and your support can help ensure that future generations enjoy the V&A as much as you have.

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