Yu Yuan 豫园
Frog Mosaic

The frog is a symbol of both longevity and wealth in China. Longevity because they can live up to 30 years. They don't croak early. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

It became a symbol of prosperity and wealth due to an eccentric who had a pet frog. Liu Hai lived in the 900s around the time of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. Legend has it that he was an official who devoted himself to Daoism. He had a pet frog named Chan Chu who kept hopping away. One day he landed in a deep well. To fish him out of the well, Liu Hai tied some cash1 to the end of a string and lowered it down to the mischievous frog. Chan Chu bit on the coin and was brought out of the well. Since then Chan Chu has been a symbol of finding wealth and properity and today is often pictured with a coin in his mouth. His coins are at the top of the picture.

1Cash is an old form of Chinese money that has a square hole in the middle of a round coin. It was used into the twentieth century.

China Index >> History of Shanghai and Suzhou Region >> Yu Yuan

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Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007