Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, July 28 – Yesterday, while in Guangzhou, we happened to walk past the Sun Yat-sen Children’s Library. I like looking at old Chinese architecture so we went inside of the gates to get a better look. One of the features it had were the “wenshou,” or “zoomorphic ornaments.” These ridge animals have been used in Chinese architecture for over 2000 years! They are considered to be a good luck symbol as it was traditionally believed that they were capable of putting out fires. The number of animals was indicative of the status of the owner of the building. The Throne Hall at the Forbidden City in Beijing has eleven animals, which is the largest known amount. This library, built in 1933, has six animals on each sloping ridge point, arranged in the standard order: first comes a god riding a phoenix, then a dragon, a phoenix, a lion, a “heavenly” horse, and a “sea” horse. The ferocious looking creature at the back of the line of animals is “chiwen” also known as the “ridge devouring beast” when used like this.