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Celebrate the Year of the Ram this Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year begins today, and to celebrate the year of the ram here are 12 pieces featuring the 2015 animal. The debate as to whether the year should be referred to as goat, sheep, or ram can be complicated to grasp, but it all winds down to simple Chinese 101.  

The character for both goat and sheep in the Chinese language is (yáng).   To specify between each one, the character for mountain, shan ( 山 ) or soft, mián ( ) is added before yang, for each animal respectively. 

Therefore, mountain ( 陽 ) yáng = goat and soft ( 陽 ) yáng = sheep.  The phrase “Year of the Ram” came from countries like the U.S, Canada, and Australia.  Appreciate all three or continue to battle for your favorite amongst family and friends. 

 

A Royal Ram Standing in a Landscape Tethered with a Gold Chain, c. 1585, Northern India, Mughal court, 16th century, Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Miniature - h:14.50 w:17.00 cm (h:5 11/16 w:6 11/16 inches) From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection. 

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Hair Ringlet with Ram Head, c. 4th Century BC, Greece, Hellenistic period, Gold, Overall - w:3.50 cm (w:1 3/8 inches). Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund.  

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Striding Goat, c. 3200-3000 BC. Sumerian, Iraq, c. 3200-3000 BC. Limestone and Egyptian blue inlay, Overall - h:2.40 w:1.40 d:3.30 cm (h:15/16 w:1/2 d:1 1/4 inches). Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 

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Ram and Two Sheep, Johann Heinrich Roos. 1665 (German, 1631-1685) Etching, Dudley P. Allen Fund 

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Ram Amulet, Ptolemaic Dynasty. 305-30 BC. Egypt, Light robin's egg blue faience, Overall - w:2.10 d:1.10 l:3.20 cm (w:13/16 d:3/8 l:1 1/4 inches). Bequest of James Parmelee

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Waterpot with Ram's Head Spout, Qing dynasty 1700s. China, (1644-1911) White jade.  Overall - h:4.70 w:11.80 cm (h:1 13/16 w:4 5/8 inches). Severance and Greta Millikin Collection

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Nanny Goat, late 2nd Century BC. Greece, Hellenistic period. Bronze, Overall - h:30.50 w:31.10 cm (h:12 w:12 3/16 inches) Wt: 14.5 lbs.. Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund. 

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The Square Book of Animals: The Toilsome Goat, William Nicholson (British, 1872-1949) Color lithograph, Sheet - h:25.00 w:23.80 cm (h:9 13/16 w:9 5/16 inches) Image - h:13.00 w:12.90 cm (h:5 1/16 w:5 1/16 inches). Gift of John Bonebrake

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Fragment of a Floor Mosaic: Ibex near a Tree, Byzantium, Northern Syria, Byzantine period, 5th century. 400s Marble tesserae, Overall - h:85.09 w:94.61 cm (h:33 1/2 w:37 3/16 inches) Mounted - h:87.63 w:96.52 cm (h:34 1/2 w:38 inches). John L. Severance Fund 

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Ram-Head Rhyton, Brygos Painter (Greek) c. 480-470 BC. Earthenware with slip decoration, Overall - h:19.00 w:12.80 cm (h:7 7/16 w:5 inches) Diameter of rim - w:11.40 cm (w:4 7/16 inches). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund

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Ram-Head Drinking Vessel,  c. 600 BC  Iran, Median, late 7th Century BC Silver, Overall - h:30.30 w:19.80 d:18.70 cm (h:11 7/8 w:7 3/4 d:7 5/16 inches). John L. Severance Fund 

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Mortuary Figures of the Zodiac Signs, Northern Wei dynasty (386-534). 500s China, Gray earthenware with traces of slip, Overall - h:22.60 cm (h:8 7/8 inches). The Norweb Collection

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