Welcome to the David Victor Vector Blog

Welcome to the David Victor Vector blog. This is blog that covers religious observances around the world international affairs and global business. This blog describes religious holidays for most major religions as well as raising issues dealing with globalization, international business ethics, cross-cultural business communication and political events affecting business in an integrated world economy. I look forward your discussion and commentary on these articles and subjects. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Year of the Green Wood Goat/Sheep/Ram: Some Background

Thursday, February 19, 2015 begins the Year of the yáng, which can mean either the Year of the  Ram, Sheep or Goat. It is the beginning of the year 4712 (in some traditions, 4713) in the Asian lunar system, which is the Year of the Green Wooden Ram/Sheep/Goat.

In today’s posting, I would like to share with you some specifics about the Year of the Ram//Sheep/Goat  as well as some background to the Asian Zodiac system as a whole.

That said, you may also be interested in reading three related posts on

1)  Lunar New Year Customs around the world at

2)  Year of the Ram/Sheep/Goat: Business Impact  This post covers the business effects from travel to special editions of coins, stamps and gifts for the Lunar New Year around the world. http://davidvictorvector.blogspot.com/2015/01/year-of-sheep-business-impact.html

3) List of 153 Year of the Horse Festivals A listing of 153 major celebrations (parades, galas or other celebrations) for the Year of the Ram/Sheep/Goat in 22 countries beyond where it is officially part of the tradition. Of these, 71 are in the United States, 19 in Canada, 17 in the United Kingdom, 14 in France, 13 in Australia, 4 in New Zealand, and 3 each in the Netherlands, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, with the others spread across the globe. http://davidvictorvector.blogspot.com/2015/01/year-of-ramsheepgoat-lunar-new-year.html

In today’s posting, though, we look only at the background to the Year of the Ram/Sheep/Goat specifically and the Asian Zodiac system as a whole.

Is it the Year of the Ram/Sheep or the Year of the Goat?

Yáng in Chinese means
both sheep and goat
The first question to address for this year's animal is whether this is the Year of the Ram (or Sheep) or the Year of the Goat? The answer to this is, confusingly, both.

The reason that this year is equally the Year of the Ram/Sheep and Year of the Goat is that the animal for this year is, in the original Chinese, the yáng. Chinese has a word for ruminants that have curving horns on their head. That word is  or in Pinyin yáng. We can see this in the Chinese words  shān-yáng (or mountain yáng, meaning goat) and  mián-yáng ('cotton yáng' meaning sheep or ram).   
Sheep and goat, Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322)
Freer Gallery, Washington DC

Zhao uses one word yáng is used to describe both animal

Unlike the original Chinese, English does not have word that encompasses both sheep and goats, so for any translation into English, we have to choose between either the Year of the  Ram or Goat. For my part, I have chosen to translate  as Ram/Goat (assuming that using the pinyin of yáng might not be as easily followed). 

Ram ornaments atop ceremonial yurt, Ulaan Batar, Mongolia
In Mongolia, the ram and goat are also viewed as separate species but unique among the so-called "Mongolian Five Snouts" of traditional herding animals, sheep and goats are usually herded together. The other three "snouts" -- camels, horses and yaks -- by contrast, are herded separatel. Also called the "Five Jewels",Mongolians define themselves as the tavan kosighu mal (roughly translated as the people of the five snouts) and these five animals carry symbolic value in folklore, religion and values associated with these five animals. For centuries these five herding animals have played the central role in most Mongolians' lives providing food, clothing, leather and primary income. For Mongolians, sheep are considered higher ranking than goats since it is from sheep's wool that Mongolian felt  comes which is used to make the traditional yurts in which the nomadic Mongolians traditionally live.  Because the sheep is ranked higher in this regard, it is usual (though not absolute) association with the Lunar Year is as the Year of the Ram or Sheep. 

Also in Mongolian tradition, the sheep is considered to symbolize the ideal qualities of a wife. The sheep provides others with wool (from which clothing and even the yurt or traditional home is made) and willingly holds still when it is sheared. Mongolians traditionally view the sheep as providing for others in a willing submissiveness (considered a prime wifely trait in Mongolian traditional society). 

These Mongolian associations with the sheep are the reason for the famous "sheep guardians" that protect the 14th Century tomb of Queen Noguk at the Hyonjongrung Royal Tombs. Noguk was a Mongolian princess who married King Kongmin of Korea's Koryo Dynasty. When she died in 1365, King Kongmin placed the sheep guardians by her tomb to honor her with the most wifely of Mongolian "Five Snouts." 
Sheep guardians, 14th Century
Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin
Kaepung County, North Korea
While Chinese see goats and rams as different varieties of yáng, few other languages in which the Asian New Year is celebrated share such a concept (most notably, in the Tamang language in Nepal), the concept of sheep/goat exists. By contrast, most languages in which the Asian New Year is celebrated do distinguish between the two, just as English does. 

Celadon ram
Baekje Kingdom, 3rd Century
National Museum of Korea, Seoul
While the Korean zodiac often still employes the old Chinese characters so that both meanings are possible. In spoken Korean, though,  yang (양 in hangul) only means sheep. Goat is 염소 (pronounced yeom-so) and is thus an entirely different word. As a result, except in older Korean writings that still may have employed Chinese characters, for Koreans, this is always the Year of the Sheep. 

In Japanese, the translation of  (hitsuji in Romaji) refers only to sheep. The kanji is the same as the Chinese character but refers only to sheep. The Japanese for goat is  (yagi in Romaji). The word yagi includes in its kanji part of the same symbol but is a separate word (the difference in English, to use Mark Twain's famous example, between lightning and lightning bug). In Japan, as a result, the Zodiac animal is always a ram and never a goat.

In Tibet, and Bhutan, the usual animal association is also that of the ram or sheep.
Goat by Vu Van Diep (wood, 20th Century)

In Vietnamese, by contrast, this is always the Year of the Goat. As with the other languages discussed above, Vietnamese has no word for a shared category of animal for both goats and sheep as in Chinese. In Vietnamese, the word for goat is  and the word for sheep is cừu. In Vietnamese, though, is always used for the Tet zodiac so this year of the cycle is always the Year of the Goat (and never a sheep).

The Asian Zodiac Briefly Explained

The Asian Zodiac (or horoscope) associated with the Asian or Chinese New Year is taken very seriously by those who follow it in their tradition. The significance attributed to the combinations associated with the Asian horoscope affect business decisions, dates selected for important events such as weddings, and many other aspects of daily life. These views are widely shared, with a larger following than any single religion -- Western or Eastern. As a result, these beliefs should be treated with the respect accorded a religious belief (rather than with that of superstition as Western astrology is sometimes treated).

The Lunar Calendar

Because the Asian lunar calendar follows the moon, it seems to move within our solar-based Gregorian calendar. Moreover, the Gregorian calendar does not correspond fully with the Asian lunar calendar. Thus, February 19  marks the beginning of the Asian lunar calendar only this year  for the Year of the Ram.Goat. For instance, it began last year on January 31, 2014 for the Year of the Horse with the last day falling on February 18, 2014. The year before the New Year began on February 10, 2013 with the last day of that year -- Year of the Snake -- falling on January 30, 2014, and so on.

The Twelve Animals of the Zodiac

The lunar calendar runs on a cycle of 12 years each represented by an animal.  The animals all have a balance of compatibility or incompatibility as represented in their place in the circle of the 12-year cycle. This year is the Year of  the yáng, which in Chinese can mean either the Year of the  Ram or Goat (as explained above). 
The 12 Animals of the Zodiac

The 12 animals in their order are

  1. Rat
  2. Ox
  3. Tiger
  4. Rabbit
  5. Dragon
  6. Snake
  7. Horse
  8. Ram/Sheep/Goat
  9. Monkey
  10. Rooster
  11. Dog
  12. Pig

Each animal corresponds to a month of the lunar year. The ram or goat, this year's governing animal,  corresponds to the eighth animal in the cycle.

The Five Elements of the Wu Xing Cycle

Additionally, each 12-year cycle of animals runs on an additional cycle corresponding to the Wu Xing cycle of the five traditional Chinese elements. These are
  1. metal
  2. fire
  3. wood
  4. water
  5. earth
  6. Wu Xing Cycle

The five elements are in balance with each other, the basis of much of feng shui.

Combined, each element combines with each animal over a period of 60 years.  The current 12-year cycle combines with the element of Wood.

Each element is also associated with a color. In the case of wood, that color is green.

Thus, this year is the Year of the Green Wooden Ram/Sheep/Goat.  

Spiritual Importance of the Asian Horoscope

Many followers of the Asian zodiac have a formal religious belief in the importance of the animal element combinations associated with each year in the 60-year cycle. This is clearly the case for those practicing Taoism.

For Taoists, the New Year is always of religious significance. This because in Taoism, the Lunar New Year's first day is a time when lesser deities or spirits are believed to ascend to the throne of the Jade Emperor (King of Heaven).  In Taoist tradition, the 12 animals were in a contest to greet the Jade Emperor; a 13th animal – the cat – was tricked by the rat (about five variations of how exist), which explains why cats have hated rats ever since.  A children's version of this story is told in an very pleasant rendition at the Topmarks education site. I encourage you to take a look at this version at 

The 12 Zodiac animals
in their race

The New Year is a religious event as well for a great number of the sects of Buddhism, and most famously for Tibetan Buddhists. In Buddhist tradition, the 12 animals were in a race to do honor to Lord Buddha on the eve of his death.  The rat and cat story is part of this tradition, too.  Incidentally, the rat was the first animal to greet Buddha.  He did so by helping the ox (which had poor eyesight) find his way across a stream by riding on his head.  When the two reached Lord Buddha on the other shore, the rat jumped off the ox’s head, reaching Lord Buddha first.  

Additionally, though Confucianism is not technically a religion (but rather a philosophical system), its followers also traditional observe the lunar New Year to show reverence to their ancestors.  Because of this, even Christians and practitioners of other faiths in such countries as  as Korea or Vietnam generally celebrate the holiday. The same holds true for those people in cultures with strong Confucian customs who have no religion at all or for those with mixed traditions.

Personality Traits and Asian Astrological Year
Jade ram, Qing Dynasty,
Asian Art Museum, Seattle

Many people attribute a great deal of significance to the personality traits attributed to the animal associated with the year in which they are born.  Each animal has its own traits, and then each animal and element combination has their own subtraits. These are explained later in the blog.

Zodiac Ram, Three Mountain Kings Temple
Kuching City, Sarawak
The Year of the Ram/Sheep/Goat is associated with passiveness, small changes (if any at all), and harmonious calm. As with all Asian Horoscope years, those believers born in a previous Year of the ram/Goat (e.g., 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 or 2003) will find this year an especially auspicious year.

It is important to note that the animal of one’s birth year is not seen as fully able to stand on its own in understanding an individual’s personality traits and tendencies. These must at a minimum, as we have discussed, take into account the associated five elements. Additionally, East Asian astrologers account for the inner or secret animal assigned by the day of the month and hour of the day on which one is born.  In all, there are 8640 combinations (e.g., 12 months, 5 elements, 12 months, 12 times of day).

Chinese Astrology Not A Particular Accurate Term

The system discussed here is often called Chinese astrology. This is a misnomer for two reasons.  First, the holiday is far more widely observed than in just China, especially in Korea, Singapore, Bhutan, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia and Vietnam as well as those from these backgrounds living in other countries. 

I have described the holiday in general in this post. In a future post, I will discuss followed the culturally specific differences in customs at the close of this summary.

East Asian lunar zodiac
That said, for all the culturally diverse places in which the Asian New Year is celebrated, the calendar on which it is based does have its origins in China. The first written records of the calendar and the celebration of the New Year date to China’s Shang Dynasty (1766-1050 BC), although traditionally it is believed to date back to the rule of the semi-mythical Yellow Emperor Huang Di around 2600 BC.

A second reason the phrase Chinese astrology is a misnomer is that the system really has nothing to do with constellations as astrology does in the West. It is less a reading of the stars than an interpretation of the importance of the time, date and year in which one is born.  To the extent that when one is born matters to Western-style astrology, there is a correspondence. Moreover, there is another similarity as the five elements in the system, in fact, do correspond with the five planets known in ancient China.

Because of these corresponding commonalities with Western astrology, many people call the Asian system’s combinations of animals and elements the lunar or Chinese “horoscope”.  This is a bit of a misnomer, however, not only for the reasons just described but because the way in which people view the two “horoscopes” is very different.  

The difference here is that many people (although with many exceptions) in Europe, Australia and the Americas consider the Western zodiac horoscope of star signs (Scorpio, Sagittarius, etc.) to be a form of superstition, a game or something believed only partially. 

This is NOT the case with the Asian lunar horoscope cycle, where people follow their sign very seriously. As a result, the system, though it transcends that of any specific religion, should be treated with the respect accorded religious beliefs. In any case, the point here is that in a cross-cultural and inter-religious sense, the issue of lunar horoscope animal element signs should be treated with respect.

Special Significance for Taoism

The birthplace of Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, is in Chengdu at Qing Yang Gong or Green Ram/Goat Temple. It was here where Taoists believe Lao Tzu also gave his first sermon explaining the Tao. 

The temple houses two bronzes ram/goats called the black yang and the green yang. Of these, the most important is the green yang -- the Qing Yang from which the temple gets its name. Although not particularly green, the famous Green Yang has only one horn and -- if examined closely -- is supposed to simultaneously hold the characteristics of all 12 zodiac animals.

In the Year of the Ram/Goat, visiting the temple and rubbing the Green Yang sculpture is considered to be especially propitious.Since this is specifically the Year of the Green Ram/Goat, the significance is even more notable.

The "Green Yang"
Qing Yang Gong (Green Sheep/Goat Temple),
Chengdu, PRC

Lao Tzu is supposed to have told his followers:  “Practice the Dao for a thousand years, and you may find me again at Qing Yang Gong.”

The Ram/Sheep/Goat in Buddhist and Taoist Tradition

The ram/goat in Buddhist and Taoist tradition was credited for bringing agricultural crops fot mankind. The ram/goat was therefore the most beloved spiritual animal of the people.

 Chang Dynasty ram, 7th Century
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Man-Ho Kwok in his book on Chinese Astrology (listed in the bibliography below) relates the rest of this Taoist tale regarding the Ram/Goat and the Jade Emperor as follows:
One autumn in the earliest days of humanity, the heavenly ram came down to earth. He saw that the people seemed depressed and sickly, and soon realized that the cause was the lack of crops. In heaven, the gods were accustomed to vast field of grain, but none grew on the earth by decree of the Jade Emperor himself.
The ram thought this was unjust and decided to steal the crops for humanity. When he went back to heaven, he sneaked into the fields and plucked up the grain seeds. Returning to earth, he gave the seeds to the people and explained how to sow them. The first planting reaped a bumper harvest; the people were ecstatic, and thanked the ram for his generosity.
News of this drifted back to the Emperor, and in a rage he ordered that if the ram wanted to feed people so much he should be slain and his body fed to the humans. This was done, but the next year a new ram appeared on the same spot where the heavenly ram had been killed, the first of the rams as we seem today. When the people heard that the Emperor wanted to select twelve animal signs, the ram was one of the first to be suggested. Bowed by the people's will, the Emperor was forced to forgive the ram and offer him a place. (p. 26)

The view of the ram/goat has important positive associations with Buddhism as well.  .  

The Five Rams Sculpture
Yuexiu Park, Guangdong

Charles Alfred Speed Williams in his 2000 book Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, writes that the goat/ram is of particular importance in South China where 
according to an ancient legend, five venerable magicians clothed in garments of five colours, and riding on five rams, met at Canton [modern-day Guangdong]; each of them bore in his mouth a stalk of grain having six ears, and presented them to the district, to whom the magicians said: 'May famine and dearth never visit your markets.' Having said these words they immediately disappeared, and the rams were changed into stone. Canton has therefore come to be known from this legend as the City of Rams. (p. 358)

Today, the Five Rams Sculpture in Guangdong's Yuexiu Park is the city's symbol.

Personality Traits Associated with Year of the Ram/Goat
Nephrite Zodiac Ram/Goat
Qing Dynasty, 19th Century
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

It is important, again, to emphasize that for many people, the traits described here are taken very seriously and, by many others, at least somewhat seriously. The descriptions that follow are general traits. Professional astrologers in East Asia bore down through the specific year in the 60-year cycle (the element), the specific day and the specific hour of birth. As mentioned above, this produces 8640 possible permutations. The characteristics of any given year's zodiac animal, therefore, is considered by believers to be a very general influence.

Positive Horse Traits

Ai Weiwei
Ram from the Circle of Zodiac, 2011
Those born in the Year of the Ram/Sheep/Goat are – on the positive side -- considered to be very easy-going. It is the most risk-averse of the zodiac animals. The site Senn sums this up well, noting: 

The sign of the Sheep produces a person who is not overly fond of sudden changes or impulsive decisions. Rather, the tend towards the opposite end of the spectrum, finding comfort in both repetition and well-laid plans. Luckily for them, they have a natural inclination towards this type of work and are quite skilled at pulling together actions and events in a manner that flows naturally. Which allows both Sheep and anyone with them to enjoy a smooth and unhindered ride over life's many tiny bumps.

The Sheep carries the strongest yin of all the Zodiac animals. Therefore, the Sheep is a strongly feminine and nurturing figure. As a major Chinese Horoscope site explains:
the most feminine and most artistic sign of the Chinese zodiac. A person of the Sheep is called the good Samaritan of the cycle. The Sheep is gentle, delicate, mild-mannered and lovely. They are extremely creative, elegant, charming and has a highly developed aethestic sense. He loves beautiful things in life and has a keen eye for design and art. Peace-loving, sincere and serene, Sheep can get along with almost everyone. It is hard to resist a trustworthy and caring Sheep. Sheep are regarded by astrologers as having a strong essence of “Yin”, therefore it is the most feminine of all the animal signs. http://chinesehoroscop-e.com/Sheep%20Zodiac.html
Professionally, people born in the Year of the Sheep/Goat/ Ram are believed to have innate
Sheep-shaped ceremonial wine holder
Shang Dynasty (13-11 Century BCE)
Nezu Museum, Tokyo  
talents in music and the visual arts. They are believed to excel at any calling that requires nurturing (nursing, coaching, growing plants, etc.). Those born during the Year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat are supposed to be characterized by a deep sense of spirituality. Finally, because of their desire to maintain peace and harmony, they excel at finding common ground and are natural moderators, negotiators and peacemakers. Famously, both Barbara Walters and Mikhail Gorbachev were born in the Year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat.

Negative Traits

On the negative side, people born in the Year of the Sheep are stable to a fault. They decide things very slowly and with great caution, which leads them to perform poorly in a crisis or rapidly changing situation. 

Also, while yàng people are excellent at working out compromise among others, they are believed to be torn by their own internal conflicts. As Camlo de Ville explains:

Although good at solving the problems of others, sheep find it difficult to face their own. Many troubles of everyday life frighten the timid sheep. Rather than deal with them, sheep prefer to sweep them under the carpet. http://camlodedragon.com/signs-of-the-chinese-zodiac/small-signs/chinese-zodiac-sign-sheep/
People born under the influence of this animal are exceptionally conflict-averse, which leads them to agree to things to which they may not actually have wished to agree. This leads to their most-notable negative characteristic: passive aggression.

Year of the Wood Ram/Sheep/Goat Predictions

Predictions for the Year of the Wood Sheep are based on the personality attributes ascribed
Three white jade sheep
Qing Dynasty (app. 1900-11)
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
to the characteristics believed to describe all people born under the Ram/Sheep/Goat zodiac sign. The attributes of wood are then superimposed on this.

While the personality attributes of people born in the Year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat were described in greater detail above, generally speaking they are gentle, nurturing, diplomatic, risk-averse, indecisive and artistic.

The central characteristic of years governed by the element of wood is growth. This is often added to a tendency for people to lean on others and to take on more than they can handle.

The professional astrologer Paul Ng  places the year within the 60-year cycle. Ng explains that this is the "Mountain-Thunder Yi" in that cycle, with an uneven balance of yin and yang (2 yang influences as against 4 yin ones). In one of his gloomiest predictions in years, Ng anticipates a year of   "many uncertainties in the world, both politics and climate. There would also be many problems to do with food, plus new sources of disease."   http://www.paulng.com/CMS/uploads/2015-geo.pdf This is, however, one sentence in a an extensive prediction that varies according to where one is located and what one's own zodiac sign and time of birth are.

Not all predictions are as gloomy, though few bode well for business or career decisions. Emphasizing the diplomatic and nurturing elements of the animal combined with the growth aspect of wood, astrologer Susan Levitt puts it, "Sheep year is a time for healing and diplomacy." http://susanlevitt.com/astrology/sheep-year-2015/

Whatever your outcome for the year, Happy Year of the Wood Sheep/Ram/Goat!

Want to Learn More

For more on the animal for 2015, please see

Chinese Horoscop-e.com, "Sheep"   http://chinesehoroscop-e.com/Sheep%20Zodiac.html

Chinese Zodiac.com, "Year of the Goat: http://www.chinesezodiac.com/goat.php

Susan Levitt, "Wood Sheep Year 2015":  http://susanlevitt.com/astrology/sheep-year-2015/

Paul Ng, "Predictions for 2015 (Year of the Wooden Sheep)":  http://www.paulng.com/CMS/uploads/2015-geo.pdf

Neil Somerville (2014), Your Chinese Horoscope 2015: What the Year of the Goat Holds in Store for You,  Harper, 2014.

Rocky Siu-Kwong Sung (English edition translated by Leong Hui Ling), 2015 The Year of the Sheep, Thorsens Publishers (Hong Kong), 2014.

Year of the Sheep or Year of the Goat?" http://www.cjvlang.com/Spicks/sheepgoat.html

For more on the Green Ram Temple and  Chin Yang Gong Temple, please see

Taoist Study.com, "Green Ram Temple":
Visitourchina.com "Qingyang Gong" 

For more on the Asian Zodiac and Astrology in General, please see:

Camlo de Ville,  "The Fascinating World of Chinese Astrology," http://camlodedragon.com

Man-ho Kwok, Chinese Astrology: Forecast Your Future from Your Chinese Horoscope, Tuttle Publishing, 1997.

Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes (6th edition), Collins Reference, 2007.

Kah Joon Liow, "12 Chinese Zodiac Sign," Living Chinese Symbols http://www.living-chinese-symbols.com/12-chinese-zodiac-sign.html

David W. Pankenier, Astrology and Cosmology in Early China: Conforming Earth to Heaven, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Xiaochun Sun, "Crossing the Boundaries Between Heaven and Man: Astronomy in Ancient China," in Astronomy Across Cultures, ed. Helaine Selin and adv. ed. Sun Xiaochun: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000.

David Twicken, Five Element Chinese Astrology Made Easy, iUniverse, 2000.

Derek Walters, The Complete Guide to Chinese Astrology, Watkins Publishing, 2005.

Suzanne White, The New Chinese Astrology, Thomas Dunne Books, 2009.

Charles Alfred Speed Williams. Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs (2000), New York: Castle Books.

Shelly Wu, Chinese Astrology: Exploring the Eastern Zodiac, New Page Books, 2005.

Ho-Peng Yoke, Chinese Mathematical Astrology: Reaching Out to the Stars, Routledge, 2003. This is the pre-eminent book on the mathematical science of Asian lunar horoscope calculations. It is downloadable at http://www.ebook3000.com/Chinese-Mathematical-Astrology--Reaching-out-for-the-stars--Needham-Research-Institute-Series-_130932.html

For general popular websites on Asian Astrology and the Zodiac, please see:

China Voc.com "Zodiac" http://www.chinavoc.com/zodiac/index.asp

Chinese Fortune Calendar http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/5EBasic.htm

Chinese Horoscope-e.com, "Basic Chinese Horoscope," http://chinesehoroscop-e.com/index.html

Online Chinese Astrology http://www.onlinechineseastrology.com/

Topmarks Education, "Zodiac Story, Chinese New Year."  http://www.topmarks.co.uk/ChineseNewYear/ZodiacStory.aspx

Clip Art Sources:

Opening Clip Art: http://beafengshuiconsultant.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/year-of-sheep.jpg

Yang as Goat/Ram illustration: 

Sheep and goat, Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322), Freer Gallery, Washington DC: http://depts.washington.edu/chinaciv/painting/tschfigu.htm

Celadon ram, Baekje Kingdom, 3rd Century, National Museum of Korea, Seoul, photo by pressapochista: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pressapochista6.jpg

Vu Van Diep, Goat  (20th Century): http://vietnamnews.vn/sunday/features/236837/carving-a-niche-as-a-master-craftsman.html

Ram ornaments atop ceremonial yurt, Ulaan Batar, Mongolia (photo by Frans Lanting): http://franslanting.photoshelter.com/image/I0000yJUurEK4AVA

Sheep guardians, Hyonjongrung - Tomb of King Kongmin, Kaepung County, North Korea (photograph by John Pavelka): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_King_Kongmin#mediaviewer/File:Stone_Sheep_at_King_Kongmin%27s_Mausoleum.jpg

The Green Yang of the Ching Yang Gong:

The 12 Animals of the Zodiac: http://creatingyourvelocity.com/www.knowledge2work.com/wp-includes/css/12-chinese-zodiac-animals-i13.gif

Wu Xing Cycle: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/Wuxing_en.svg/220px-Wuxing_en.svg.png

Green Wooden Sheep/Goat: http://www.astrowikia.com/2014/10/wiki-2015-chinese-year-of-sheep-goat-of.html

Yin Yang animation: http://www.eharrishome.com/Kungfu.html

The 12 Zodiac animals in their race:  http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/firefoxthief/zodiaccolor.jpg'

Jade ram, Qing Dynasty, Asian Art Museum, Seattle: http://searchcollection.asianart.org/view/objects/asitem/search$0040/7/title-asc/designation-asc?t:state:flow=c73f060c-723d-42c6-9f50-bd7bb0249b45

Zodiac Ram, Three Mountain Kings Temple, Kuching City, Sarawak: Own photograph

Nephrite Zodiac Ram/Goat, Qing Dynasty, 19th Century, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (cropped), http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/02.18.730
Ai Weiwei, Ram from Circle of the Zodiac, 2011:  http://www.designboom.com/art/ai-weiwei-circle-of-animals-zodiac-heads-world-tour/

Five Rams Sculpture Yuexiu Park, Guangdong (photo by Jian Huang) http://wikitravel.org/en/File:FiveRams.JPG 

East Asian Lunar Zodiac:  http://www.china-family-adventure.com/chinese-zodiac.html

Chang Dynasty ram, 7th Century, Victoria & Albert Museum, London: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/chinese-zodiac-sheep/

Sheep-shaped ceremonial wine holder, Shang Dynasty (13-11 Century BCE)
Nezu Museum, Tokyo:  http://www.nezu-muse.or.jp/en/collection/
Three white jade sheep, Qing Dynasty (app. 1900-11), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco: http://janestreetclayworks.com/2012/05/25/chinese-astrology-symbols-through-asian-art/


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