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Wrought iron articulated snake, Japan, mid-18th century. Museum no. M.38-1947

Wrought iron articulated snake, Japan, mid-18th century. Museum no. M.38-1947

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.

Snake characteristics

People born in the Year of the Snake are intelligent, wise and charming. They are usually good-looking and alluring. They are also deep thinkers, like to plan well and are determined in whatever they do. Snake people are quiet, reserved and are good at giving advice to others. However, they strongly distrust other people and choose friends carefully. They happily help people but often exaggerate the help they have given. They are financially fortunate and enjoy the good things in life. Snake people can be passionate, possessive and jealous and they need a lot of security.

Snake Years: 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025

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

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Masterpieces of Chinese Painting (Hardback)||RHFPR

Masterpieces of Chinese Painting (Hardback)||RHFPR

Painting has always been regarded by the Chinese as a supreme art, its merits equal to those of poetry and philosophy. The tradition can be traced ove…

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What is Luxury?

25 April – 27 September 2015. What is Luxury? interrogates ideas of luxury today, addressing how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.

VIsit the V&A exhibition What is Luxury?

Event - London Life and Times: Medieval to Modern

Wed 09 December 2015–Wed 06 July 2016

NEW 2015-2016 YEAR COURSE: London is one of the greatest cities on earth. It sits at the centre of time and the world sets its clocks by GMT. Its famous inhabitants include William Shakespeare, Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes, Virginia Woolf, and Jimi Hendrix.

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