Bats enjoy the status of auspicious symbol in the Chinese culture. This because of the fact that the pronunciation of the word bat (fu) is identical to the pronunciation of the word meaning good fortune (fu).
The written characters for these words are different but in spoken language bat and good fortune are homophones. For this reason the depictions of bats were widely popular and warmly welcomed in China, being seen as the luck-bringing symbols or good omens.
I don´t know whether the Vietnamese language has similarly auspicious meaning of the word bat. It would be interesting to find out. As far we may notice that artists working for the Imperial City of Hué were generous with using bats as decorative elements. Which was surely appreciated by the beholders.
Flying bat as a wooden detail decorating a screen. Placed in the Queen Mother´s residence. Photo: Zdzislaw Kierebinski, March 2012
Flying bat composed of the ceramic sherds. Photo: Robert Myslinski, March 2012
Window in the wall of the building where the mandarins used to prepare themselves for the ceremonies. Photo: Zdzislaw Kierebinski, March 2012
The building is now serving as a museum displaying various objects and photos. Here we can see four bats in every corner of the composition with the emblem shou, meaning in Chinese long life, in the center. The bats, stretching their wings, support the central symbol.
The line which could be drawn along the upper contour of the wings and the bat´s head forms sketchy version af a bat depiction. This schematic reminiscence can be seen on many details.
Yet another composition with the character Shou and supporting bats. This time in the wall surrounding the Imperial library. Photo: Krystyna Kierebinski, March 2012
Here the bats are monochrome (at least now) and even more sketchy than on the previously shown detail. Closer look reals the shape of a bat´s tail and it´s conical form. This will help to recognize more decorative details as bats.
Base of a semi pillar supporting one of many wooden walls of the the main gate. Photo: Krystyna Kierebinski, March 2012
The bronze urns, ordered and created in the auspicious number of nine also include bat- elements. Photo: Zdzislaw Kierebinski, March 2012
Close up of a decorative and auspicious element on the leg belonging to one of the urns. Photo: Zdzislaw Kierebinski, March 2012
Roof-covered arcades between the theater and the library. The bat-shaped supporting element on the each beam. Photo: Krystyna Kierebinski, March 2012.
Roof tiles covering buildings in Imperial City. While the upper tile bears the Shou symbol, the lower one reminds with its edge of a bat. Photo: Krystyna Kierebinski, March 2012