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China Daily Website

Traditional Mission

Rabbit God

Updated: 2012-09-12 14:49
By chinadaily.com.cn

Hu Pengfei is from Northwest China' s Baoji of Shaanxi Province, and his family has a tradition of making clay figures that are well-known in the region, but Hu Pengfei, the black sheep of the family, devotes his time to the folk art form widely in Beijing, specializing in Tu’er Ye, or the Rabbit God, a clay rabbit collect in glossy clothes.

" Rabbit God is a symbol of old Beijing. The art craft is usually sold before the Mid-autumn festival in Beijing. Originally it was made as a shrine, but had now evolved to a toy for the kids. Furthermore, it is regarded as part of the folk art of Beijing."

As a traditional artwork, the Rabbit God has its own appeal for the young as well as funs to its many outfits and unusual looks.

" Rabbit God has tigers’ eyes, and the leaf-like eyebrows are unique in Chinese mythologies. His mouth is different from the rabbits, too. He wears golden armors with a breast protector. However, his coat is the style of the civil official in ancient China. Altogether, it’s like a perfect dress, blending the quintessence of different dressing styles."

The uniquely-dressed Rabbit God has an equaling amazing story about regarding how it came about.

" Legend goes that there was an epidemic in North China long ago, a nd doctors could not do anything about it. So the Moon Goddess sent her rabbit to earth to treat the disease. However, because the rabbit is white and ‘the white color was actually related to death in the past, people did not allow the rabbit to enter their houses to treat the disease. The rabbit realized it and went to the temple to borrow the outfit of the saints there. That’s where Rabbit God’s look is from. People began to revere him after that."

Related stories: Making a Moon Cake

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