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Pictures and Puns (lesson)

Spherical jar with dragon chasing a pearl, Ming dynasty (1368-1644), reign of the Wanli Emperor (1573-1619). China. Porcelain with multi color decoration. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1616.

Spherical jar with dragon chasing a pearl, Ming dynasty (1368-1644), reign of the Wanli Emperor (1573-1619). China. Porcelain with multi color decoration. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1616.

Objective: 

Students create a rebus using Chinese symbols, and in the manner of Chinese new year traditions, decorate a red envelope to send good fortune to another classmate.

Duration: 
45 minutes

Materials: Red envelopes, metallic pens, scissors, glue, pencils, pens, magazines; See "Related Resources" (below) for the following: Handout: Rebus Key; Video: The Dragon’s Pearl; Images/Artworks: Spherical jar with dragon chasing a pearl; Rug; A pair of rectangular blue flags depicting a dragon chasing a black pearl; and Chinese New Year Parade.

Procedure:

  1. Compare images: spherical jar with dragon chasing a pearl; Rug; A pair of rectangular blue flags depicting a dragon chasing a black pearl; and Chinese New Year Parade. Why do you think that showing a dragon chasing a pearl is such a common picture in art? Flags and banners with dragons were also common images that brought good luck.
  2. Watch the video: The Dragon’s Pearl. Now that you’ve heard the story, why do you think this was a common theme in art?
  3. Brainstorm symbols that send a good message, such as good job or good luck (evil eye, star, smiley face, crossing our fingers).
  4. Using the Rebus Key, introduce some of the good luck symbols and their meanings in Chinese art and find these different symbols in artwork (see "Related Resources/Artworks/More+" below).
  5. Create a rebus for a classmate using the Rebus Key and decorate a red envelope with metallic pens, drawings, art images, or pictures from magazines.
  6. Insert a gift (gold coin, chocolate, a little drawing, note, or play money).
  7. Exchange envelopes with a classmate with wishes for a prosperous new year.

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