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Carved ivory okimono in the shape of a boar, signed Masatsugu, Japan, 19th century. Museum no. A.942-1910

Carved ivory okimono in the shape of a boar, signed Masatsugu, Japan, 19th century. Museum no. A.942-1910

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.

Pig characteristics

People born in the Year of the Pig are honest, sincere and genuine. They have a heart of gold and everyone admires Pig people the most. They are called upon when sincere advice is needed and will always give a helping hand. Pig people are the best friend anyone can have. They are also fun-loving and know how to throw a good party, but if rubbed up the wrong way they can be extremely vengeful. They can also be naive which allows others to take advantage of them. They have a great thirst for knowledge and although they do not always say much when they do decide to speak nothing can stop them.

Pig Years: 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

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

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