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Symbolism of the Rabbit

Many historians believe the original zodiac was Greco-Roman in origin, then introduced to Egypt, from which it travelled to China via Bactria. As a result, one of the Chinese zodiac animals’ more charming 4-footed members has a longer, richer and more global history of symbols and meanings than you might realize. Our speaker will trace their appearance from the Temple of Dendera in ancient Egypt to coconut scrapers in today’s Thailand, with stories from “The White Hare of Inaba” to the Throne of Maximianus and the “Madonna of the Rabbit” to China’s mixer of elixirs of immortality.

About the speaker

Ms Patricia Bjaaland Welch is a former Lecturer in Chinese history & art (at Boston University and the University of Oslo, Norway) and after a career in Asia in the private sector as regional head of marketing for American Express, the consultancy McKinsey, ABN AMRO Bank and others, returned to her academic love: Asian studies. Today she is an independent art historian and author of several books including Oxford University Press’ Chinese New Year and Tuttle’s Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, and is a frequent contributor to Arts of Asia magazine, as well as a frequent speaker on cruise ships as well as here at the Siam Society. She and her husband resided in Bangkok in the late 1990s when Patricia was also an active member of the British Library and guided at the National Museum. Today, they live in Singapore, but still maintain a home here on Soi Thonglor, and return as often as work and other commitments allow.



Thursday, 2 March 2023 at 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200

For more information, please contact

To book your place, please contact Khun Pinthip at 02 661 6470-3 ext 203 or

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