Find out about the Chinese zodiac wheel and how its evolution is linked with the adoption of the animal signs in place of the previous system of recording the zodiac calendar.
The Chinese zodiac is one of the most unique elements of this mysterious culture. The west has only recently been exposed to this ancient tradition that has been around for millennia in China. Traditionally the Chinese would make use of a zodiac wheel to display the zodiac signs. This wheel was actually a chart that would be used as a calendar.
The Chinese zodiac wheel is a rather animated chart. It has the images of the twelve animals that represent the twelve year repetitive cycle of the zodiac calendar. These images are nicely composed in the form of a circle thereby showing the entire twelve year cycle to the observer.
The illustration of animals may vary with respect to the wheel. The earliest zodiac wheels displayed the animals in a simplified and abstracted manner. Today you will be able to find highly animated cartoon like or even life like illustrations of the zodiac signs. This change in the traditional style of representing the animals has come about as a result of the changing culture of China. Furthermore as the zodiac wheel has now become popular amongst the western nations China has revamped the wheel to appeal to their sense of style.
The evolution of the wheel
The wheel evolved as a result of the inability of the illiterate masses to comprehend the complex system of recording the zodiac signs that was used before the adoption of the animal signs. The system that was previously used was much more scientific but only the literate few could comprehend and learn the zodiac.
The desire to let the common people in on the zodiac led to the adoption of the animal signs in place of the previously existing complex system. This made it really easy for the masses to understand and make use of the zodiac calendar. The evolution of the zodiac wheel made things even easier for the masses as now they had a complete pictorial of the calendar and could easily make out whatever they were looking for.
The adoption of the animal signs along with the development of the zodiac wheel led to the popularity of the Chinese zodiac. Since more and more people could now understand the Chinese zodiac it became widely spread across the country. From the farmers to the elite everybody was making use of zodiac calendar.
This however raises one important question. How and where did the Chinese zodiac animals come from to replace the previously existing complex system? Well, the legendary origins of the zodiac animals are attributed to a race that was conducted by the Buddha amongst the twelve animals. They came to represent the zodiac years in the order that they finished the race. With the rat coming out first and the pig finishing off last you had the entire list of zodiac calendar animals based on this particular legend.
Irrespective of whether this change can be accepted by reason the fact of the matter is that it was highly effective and is indeed the reason behind the popularity of the zodiac calendar.