Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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The Chinese zodiac (shí’èr shēngxiào 十二生肖 ‘twelve birth signs’ or ‘twelve birth resemblances’) is an ordered cycle of twelve animals with cultural, calendrical, and astronomical significance used throughout China and many parts of North, East, and Southeast Asia, including Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos, among others. The animals are most commonly associated with years of the traditional lunisolar calendar, in one-to-one correspondence with the twelve cyclical signs called dìzhī 地支 ‘earthly branches’ that have been employed in Chinese time-kee…

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Zev HANDEL, “Zodiac”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 02 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_000202>
First published online: 2015

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