Polychrome woodblock print of a rooster holding a praying mantis in its mouth with four characters at top center framed by a floral scrolling border
As early as the sixth century AD, it was customary in China to paste an image of a rooster on the door on the first day of the lunar New Year to protect the household. The rooster is associated with the sun, and when the rooster crows it is believed that all darkness of evil disappears. The rooster holds a mantis in its beak. The pronunciation of the characters for "mantis" (tanglang) are similar in sound to those for "promotion to a high official post" (dang lang), implying that the rooster brings good fortune too the family. In addition, the pronunciation of the character for rooster (ji) is identical to that for "auspicious." Other, propitious motifs in this print include a branch of red coral (for wealth), a red peony (for honor) and a pointed green Artemisia leaf (whose strong scent provides protection against evil).