CNY 2019, Year of the Pig: End of pigtails, dawn of pig tales

Pigs are not always objects of scorn and ridicule, but are actually much prized by the Chinese. And if past examples show, the Year of the Pig is one that can be very exciting

In the world of Chinese fiction, the most famous pig character is Zhu Bajie from the Ming Dynasty novel, Journey To The West, who embodies traits such as gluttony, lasciviousness and, well, pig-headedness.

And in the waning days of China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing, Chinese labourers shipped off to places like South-east Asia were also called zhu zai (piglets), as the cramped ships resembled pig pens.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 03, 2019, with the headline 'End of pigtails, dawn of pig tales'. Print Edition | Subscribe