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Image of Stone Rat with Melons
Item No. 16384

19th Century, N/A, China
4.5" x 5" x 4.25"
( 11.43 x 12.7 x 10.795 cm)
(H x W x D)

Stone pieces like this were used for two purposes that we know of: either as a mat weight to hold down mats so they would not blow in the wind or as agricutlural measures, i.e., for weight. The rat is the first creature in the old Chinese zodiac. It a propitious sign as it is associated with money, and is a symbol of industry and prosperity due to its ability to find, acquire and hoard abundant supplies of food. The melon has numerous seeds, symbolizing a large number of male descendents. The appearance of these two symbols together, therefore, makes it likely that the meaning is a wish for many sons who are both industrious and successful in their ability to bring wealth to the family.

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