Chinese Porcelain Decorative Patterns - Five Bats│Wu Fu

The Chinese word fu (福), translated as blessings or happiness, encompasses all that is auspicious in life. Foremost among the motifs related to blessings is the bat, also pronounced fu (蝠) but written with a different character. Many other traditional symbols for blessings, such as the Buddha’s-hand citron and the sheep, extend their cultural context to popular beliefs and the cult of Daoism.

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Called bianfu in Chinese, the second character, fu, is a homophone for good fortune (also pronounced fu); it also symbolized longevity and happiness. Red bats mean “widespread good fortune” and five bats are a wish for the Five Blessings: longevity, wealth, good health, virtue, and a peaceful death. Bats and the swastika mean “ten thousand-fold wishes for good fortune and happiness.”