Chinese Zodiac Mosaic, Chinatown

The Ox is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard. CREDIT: Venture Vancouver, SOURCE: www.venturevancouver.com

The Ox, one of the mosaics embedded in a circle in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.

STATS

Type:

Activity

Season:

All Seasons

Weather:

All Weather

Time:

15 minutes

Cost:

Free

What to bring:

Camera, Sense of Curiosity

Every Year in Vancouver's Chinatown, Chinese New Year is brought in with the sound of giggling children, crackling fireworks and glee. According to ancient lore, once, twelve animals competed to be in a cyclical calender. To attain their position they had to cross a wide river. The Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig are the animals that compose of the Chinese Zodiac represented in the embedded mosaic in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.

Located between the China Gate and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park, the square is sandwiched between various store fronts typical of the Chinatown built form.

The true treasures within this sparse square are the carefully constructed mosaic Chinese Zodiac symbols representing the twelve original animals ( Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar) in order of which arrived to the opposite side of a river bank according to ancient Chinese lore.

Each represents one year in a twelve year cycle.

The animal within one of these cycles represents many traits associated to those born within it.

On a yearly basis, Chinese New Year celebrations will light up the streets of Chinatown and the animal next in the cycle depicted in Chinese lore and on the mosaic will be celebrated.

The Story is as Follows:

Long ago, the Jade Emperor of China decided to create a means of deciding time so he told all the animals that the first twelve animals across the river would be the winners and they would have a year of the zodiac named after them.
The Rat and the Cat jumped onto the Ox's back and had almost reached the other bank when the rat pushed the cat in order to be first, this is the reason cats neither like mice or water and never attained a position on the zodiac. Just before the Ox was about to climb ashore, the Rat jumped onto land to become the first animal on the zodiac, the Ox was the second. The Tiger clawed his way to the river bank to claim third place.
Fouth place was awarded to the Rabbit who had hopped across on stepping stones a floating log.
The Dragon was fifth because he had been delayed helping the other animals.
The Horse would have been sixth if not for the Snake who had clung onto one of its hooves and startled it backwards. Therefore the Snake took the sixth position and the Horse the seventh.
The next animals to arrive were the Goat, Monkey and Rooster who had worked together to cross, the rooster had found a raft and the goat and monkey had pushed it and cleared the weeds that were holding them back. Therefore the Goat became Eighth, the Monkey the Ninth and the Rooster the Tenth.
The dog was Eleventh because he had taken a bath.
Lastly, the Boar became the last animal of the zodiac. He had been late after snacking and falling asleep along the way and was therefore named the final animal of the Chinese Zodiac.

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Photo and Image Gallery

One of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Tiger is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Rabbit is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Dragon is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Snake is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Horse is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Goat is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Monkey is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Rooster is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Dog is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Boar is one of the twelve animals from the Chinese Zodiac represented in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard.
The Chinese Zodiac plays an important role in Vancouver's Chinatown and this beautiful art piece embedded in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Courtyard is in celebration of Ancient beliefs of the twelve animals in the Chinese calendar.


Location of Chinese Zodiac Mosaic

Use the interactive map below to locate and explore the areas around Chinese Zodiac Mosaic

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park Courtyard
Chinatown


Map of Chinatown, Downtown Vancouver

Click the brown GEMS on the map to navigate to the other activities within this region

Things to do in Chinatown Vancouver

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