A Happy Scene to Welcome Spring

What do nine rams and three boys symbolize in this colorful tapestry?

By The Palace Museum

Silk Tapestry with Embroidery of Nine Yang Dispersing the Cold by Suzhou ManufactoryThe Palace Museum

The technique

This work is a combination of silk tapestry and embroidery.

The background is a silk tapestry on which the main figures, animals, and trees are embroidered. 

The scene

You can see three boys and nine rams frolic about the scene. 

The meaning

The nine rams (pronounced yang) allude to the figurative nine yang (the male-principle, which represents heat and the sun) driving away the cold of winter. 

The three boys symbolize an auspicious beginning to a new year. 

The color

The brilliant colors are neatly arranged. The blue contrasts with the red and white and serves to highlight the theme and the figures in the scene.

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