Even though the butterfly more commonly represents change, I have taken inspiration from the Chinese story of “The Butterfly Lovers” as inspiration for this drawing.
The Butterfly Lovers is a Chinese legend of a tragic love story of a pair of lovers. The legend of the lovers, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, is set in the Eastern Jin dynasty (265-420 CE). The story is so popular it is now counted as one of China's Four Great Folktales. It's a beautiful story and one you should definitely read if you haven't done so already.
Cats are revered in many different cultures.
The Celtics believed that cats were guardians of the of the gates to the Otherworld, guardians of their treasures and also bring to the people the wholeness, as a spiritual link between humans and the universe.
In ancient Egypt cats were considered to be sacred and killing a cat (even accidentally) would incur the death penalty.
Japan popularised the “beckoning cat” or what they know as “Maneki Neko”. The cat figurines are believed to draw good fortune and ward off evil spirits.
Next to the Phoenix, the Crane is the most favoured all Chinese bird symbols. The Crane is the ancient symbol for longevity because of its exceptionally long life span. In many legends, the spirits ride on cranes to the heavens. Cranes are also believed to be harbingers of wealth and good luck.
The elephant is considered a symbol of responsibility because it takes great care and responsibility of its offspring as well as their elders. It also represents strength and patience.
To the Hindu way of thought, the elephant is found in the form of Ganesha who is the god of luck, fortune, protection and is a blessing upon all new projects. Ganesha in all his magnificently vibrant elephant glory, is intent on bulldozing obstacles on your behalf.
The Celts believed the fox to be a guide in the spirit world, and honoured it for its wisdom.
In Japan, the fox was considered one of the rain spirits, and a messenger of Inari the rice god. Here, the fox also symbolised longevity and protection from evil.
With its head lifted as high as the treetops it loves to snack on, the giraffe's vision is focused on the horizon. It's fascinating that the giraffe has not two, but three horns (they're called ossicones). The third horn is situated right between and just above its eyes. This is symbolic of the "third eye" which talks about intuition, delicate perception, and heightened sensory awareness.
The term “lionheart” exists for a reason.
In ancient Greece, lions were identified with Dionysus, Phoebus, Cybele, and Artemis because myths indicated that lions drew the chariots for these gods and goddesses. Here, the symbolic meaning of lions revolved around protection. Thus, the lions were viewed as guardians of the dead as well as guardians of palaces, doorways, shrines and thrones.
The word rhinoceros is a combination of two Greek words – “rhino” (nose) and “ceros” (horn). One of the top three largest land mammals, the rhino's physical presence is formidable. Although rhinos are known to display aggressive behavior, for the most part it is a passive creature - preferring to roam its wide-open grassy spaces in contemplative solitude.
Even though the rhinoceros' large size brings to mind strength, three of the five surviving rhino species – the black, Javan and Sumatran - are Critically Endangered. This means there is at least a 50% chance that these species could become extinct sometime this century.