I had a really interesting bat care call this week, with a heavily pregnant female pipistrelle found after hitching a ride from Liverpool to Little Aston. The people who found it are shortly going to be married, and were wondering if finding a bat might be good luck!
Well, actually, they are! Unlike our western society which views bats as sinister ‘creatures of the night’ and associates them with vampires and other things to be feared, in the Far East the bat is a symbol of luck and fortune!
The Chinese word for ‘Bat’ is the same as their word for ‘Luck’: Fu. Because of this association, the term Wu Fu, or Five Luck is represented by five bats! Each bat stands for one of the five lucks: health, wealth, long life, virtue/peace and a good death. You can see the Wu Fu symbol to the left, on a coaster that my brother brought back for me on his trip to China last year.
Because of this long-standing association of bats with fortune, you can see bats engraved and painted onto many buildings, art works and especially historical artifacts. Take a look through the photos below and you’ll see just a few images of carvings and paintings from China and Malaysia (thanks to Tam & Xander for the photos from Malaysia!).
A trip to the V&A museum in london results in a surprisingly batty experience! Just take a look at the bats in the collections on their website!
Oh, and p.s. the little bat from Liverpool (named Shirley!) was successfully released near Sutton Park and the householders who found her have now bought a bat box to encourage a few more lucky bats into their garden!