So why is the sheep so important in China?
The sheep is the eighth sign of the Chinese calendar, and as the number eight is particularly lucky, so is the sign of the Sheep. People born in the Year of the Sheep are known to be tender, polite, clever, gentle, creative and compassionate and are fond of quiet living. Those born in the Year of the Sheep can also be very shy, overly-sensitive, indecisive and anxious about their appearance.
Sheep were one of the earliest domesticated animals in China. Sheep husbandry was a common activity and many households had a sheep at home. The symbol for sheep in Chinese also means happiness.
As sheep are fond of grains, tree bark and grass, ancient Chinese believed the sheep to be the god of the five grains.
Sheep are also important in Western cultures, and the sheep is often depicted as timid and unintelligent, although the ram is frequently a symbol of virile power. Sheep also often appear in children's nursery rhymes, such as 'Mary had a little lamb', and 'Baa baa black sheep' and of course insomniacs across the western world are familiar with the idea of counting sheep to go to sleep!
At MiniJumbuk, sheep are very important to us as they provide us with wool to make our fantastic wool quilts, pillows and mattress toppers. With Australia's low population, low pollution and abundant open spaces to raise and nurture healthy sheep, the wool in Australia is superb. This enables us to choose only the finest quality wools to use in our products.
So as we have welcomed the Year of the Sheep, take a moment to ruminate on the many sheepish stories and fleecy facts that this gentle creature has inspired in both eastern and western cultures!