17 July 2007

Wooden fortune toad

Coin toadToads may not be as attractive as frogs to most people owing to their dry warty skin that can exude poison. However, to those Chinese feng shui practitioners, toads (蟾蜍, chanchu) are auspicious animals which bring wealth and good fortune.

It is not uncommon to see in a shop or at an ordinary home a toad statue holding a Chinese coin (a round one with a square hole in the centre) in its mouth a well as sitting on a pile of thme. People would place the statue near the front door facing inwards in hopes that they can amass a huge fortune.

Last Sunday I went to Dajia (大甲), an urban township in Taichung County, to visit my elderly grandpa and to deliver wedding invitations to some of my father's siblings. On my way back to Taipei, I made a detour to Shenkeng (深坑) and bought an interesting handicraft – a wooden toad.

Wooden toad
There aren't any coins, neither in the toad's mouth nor beneath its bum. Instead, there are some sawtooth notches on its back. When scraped with a wooden stick against the notches from its tail to head, the wooden statue produces a rasping sound which resembles a toad croak. I have no idea if this wee toad is meant to be a fortune toad, but to me it seems to be more an instrument than a feng shui device. It really reminds me of the güiro, a kind of Latin percussion instrument.



P.S. I haven't yet got my new MacBook Pro, but after two weeks of rest, my champagne-poured old PowerBook has become alive and kicking. It decided to serve me again and that's why I could produce silly stuff on Principal Wei's Weblog again. Although this wooden toad may not be a feng shui talisman to bring in a bunch of wealth, it indeed inbues my once retired PowerBook with new life and vitality.

1 comment:

chkuo said...

The toad should be an Asian instrument, I've seen that here before. Someone told me that it is originated from Vietnam and the other said it's from Tibet. I don't know which one is right.