When the husband and I were newly dating, we found ourselves at a Chinese buffet. We were still making googly eyes at each other over the table; that’s how young our love was.
We broke our gaze for a brief moment to look over our place mats, which had a pictorial list of all the signs of the Chinese zodiac. It told us that our respective animals were meant to be together. Then, when my future husband opened his fortune cookie, it taught him how to say my animal in Mandarin.
Of course, that’s not why we got married, but it was a happy sign to two new lovers.
$20 Date Night: Chinese Zodiac Art Installation
Many years and a couple children later, we went on a much needed date night. We don’t do enough of those anymore. We decided to make it an under $20 affair, and spent $9 total to go see the newest art installation at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. (If you’re a yinzer wondering how that’s possible, read on.)
On display was Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. Ai created them in honor of a similar installation that appeared as a clock-like display in front of a royal building in Beijing. The original installation was destroyed by the British in the 1800s.
Ai’s pretty political, so when he spoke out against the communist regime, he was imprisoned. Even through his imprisonment, this installation toured the world. Ai was eventually released. Currently, he’s in Greece helping with the refugee crisis.
But now his art is here in Pittsburgh, and it was impressive to behold. In the Carnegie Museum, it is displayed in the self-same hall that we visited whenever we were pursuing our staycation-esque Paris in Pittsburgh project. This room is full of European reliefs, including a massive structure that replicates the front of the Cathedral of Saint-Andre (Bordeaux,) which was built in the 13th century. As you walk around and take pictures, it creates a powerful mesh of two very old traditions, contrasting the East and the West.
As we walked around, I couldn’t help but question: was there a geometric relation to the signs that did well together or the signs that were enemies? Were these animals based on constellations in their relationship to the moon? (It is a lunar calendar, after all.)
Why the Chinese Zodiac is Important to Your Wallet
The answers I found weren’t necessarily what I was expecting, but they were amazing. Believe it or not, the Chinese Zodiac is important to your wallet, even if you think it’s all bull.
Normally I’d expand, but this is only a six-minute video and I really want you to watch it as ShaoLan explains it natively—something I can’t do. Here’s some of the things you’ll learn:
- Even if you think the Chinese Zodiac is in no way predictive or real, a quarter of the world’s population would argue with you. With that many people making decisions (sometimes financial) based on this belief, it doesn’t really matter if you believe or not—you will experience the influence of others’ beliefs.
- Why the world’s richest people are born in unlucky years.
- How the Chinese Zodiac is now affecting the stock market. As world economies become increasingly interdependent, this is something investors are going to want to understand.
The Art and How the Chinese Zodiac Applies to You
The Chinese calendar is not linear like our own, but cyclical. It runs for sixty years and then starts over again. During those sixty years, five elements and twelve animals interact with each other. Below you’ll find which animal (and which element) you are.
Want to be super cool? Pin your animal using the Pinterest button at the very bottom of this post!
Also outlined below are the animals that are complimentary to you. These may be your ideal love interests, or they may help you decide when to have a baby as complimentary animals tend to work well together in family units. This is only one aspect of family planning that ShaoLan discusses in the above video.
Additionally, you’ll find quotes about each animal’s qualities from the Ai exhibit.
Keep in mind that if you have a January or February birthday, you’ll want to check when the lunar calendar turned over in the year you were born; it’s not always January 1.
Wood Rat: 1924, 1984, 2044
Fire Rat: 1936, 1996, 2056
Earth Rat: 1948, 2008, 2068
Metal Rat: 1960, 2020
Water Rat: 1972, 2032
Best Compatible Signs: Monkey, Dragon
Sign in Opposition: Horse
Wood Ox: 1925, 1985, 2045
Fire Ox: 1937, 1997, 2057
Earth Ox: 1949, 2009, 2069
Metal Ox: 1961, 2021
Water Ox: 1973, 2033
Best Compatible Signs: Rooster, Snake
Sign in Opposition: Goat/Sheep
Fire Tiger: 1926, 1986, 2046
Earth Tiger: 1938, 1998, 2058
Metal Tiger: 1950, 2010, 2070
Water Tiger: 1962, 2022
Wood Tiger: 1974, 2034
Best Compatible Signs: Horse, Dog
Sign in Opposition: Monkey
Fire Rabbit: 1927, 1987, 2047
Earth Rabbit: 1939, 1999, 2059
Metal Rabbit: 1951, 2011, 2071
Water Rabbit: 1963, 2023
Wood Rabbit: 1975, 2035
Best Compatible Signs: Pig, Sheep/Goat
Sign in Opposition: Rooster
Earth Dragon: 1928, 1988, 2048
Metal Dragon: 1940, 2000, 2060
Water Dragon: 1952, 2012, 2072
Wood Dragon: 1964, 2024
Fire Dragon: 1976, 2036
Best Compatible Signs: Monkey, Rat
Sign in Opposition: Dog
Earth Snake: 1929, 1989, 2049
Metal Snake: 1941, 2001, 2061
Water Snake: 1953, 2013, 2073
Wood Snake: 1965, 2025
Fire Snake: 1977, 2037
Best Compatible Signs: Rooster, Ox
Sign in Opposition: Pig
Metal Horse: 1930, 1990, 2050
Water Horse: 1942, 2002, 2062
Wood Horse: 1954, 2014, 2074
Fire Horse: 1966, 2026
Earth Horse: 1978, 2038
Best Compatible Signs: Tiger, Dog
Sign in Opposition: Rat
Metal Goat/Sheep: 1931, 1991, 2051
Water Goat/Sheep: 1943, 2003, 2063
Wood Goat/Sheep: 1955, 2015, 2075
Fire Goat/Sheep: 1967, 2027
Earth Goat/Sheep: 1979, 2039
Best Compatible Signs: Rabbit, Pig
Sign in Opposition: Ox
Water Monkey: 1932, 1992, 2052
Wood Monkey: 1944, 2004, 2064
Fire Monkey: 1956, 2016, 2076
Earth Monkey: 1968, 2028
Metal Monkey: 1980, 2040
Best Compatible Signs: Rat, Dragon
Sign in Opposition: Tiger
Water Rooster: 1933, 1993, 2053
Wood Rooster: 1945, 2005, 2065
Fire Rooster: 1957, 2017, 2077
Earth Rooster: 1969, 2029
Metal Rooster: 1981, 2041
Best Compatible Signs: Ox, Snake
Sign in Opposition: Rabbit
Wood Dog: 1934, 1994, 2054
Fire Dog: 1946, 2006, 2066
Earth Dog: 1958, 2018
Metal Dog: 1970, 2030
Water Dog: 1982, 2042
Best Compatible Signs: Horse, Tiger
Sign in Opposition: Dragon
Wood Pig: 1935, 1995, 2055
Fire Pig: 1947, 2007, 2067
Earth Pig: 1959, 2019
Metal Pig: 1971, 2031
Water Pig: 1983, 2043
Best Compatible Signs: Rabbit, Sheep/Goat
Sign in Opposition: Snake
Get into Carnegie Museums for Cheap
Those of you from Pittsburgh are probably choking at the price of admission (including parking!) that we got. Per diem at the museums are expensive, but there are ways to get in for cheap. You can:
- Buy a membership. From $50-$250 depending on how many people you want included. If you go to the museums a lot, this can save you a bundle.
- Bring your student ID. Get $8 off the price of admission. ($10 off at the Andy Warhol Museum.)
- Check your student life office. Student life offices typically have discounted, or sometimes even free, tickets to local attractions.
- Bring your ACCESS card. If someone in your household has a disability and is on Medicaid, or if you receive state benefits, the state should issue you an ACCESS card. This gets you into many attractions in Pittsburgh for a pittance. At the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History, admission will only be $1 for everyone in your household when you present your card.
- Go later in the day. If you make your visit at 3PM or after, you’ll get half-price admission through 8PM.
- Go on Thursday evenings. In February and March, you can get into the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History for free on Thursday evenings.
The Ai exhibit will be at the Museum of Natural History until August 28th. It is running concurrently with another Ai exhibit at the Andy Warhol Museum.
Which sign are you? Do you believe in the Chinese Zodiac? Do you agree with ShaoLan that belief is irrelevant?