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Exploring the symbol and its uses.
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Each new year is associated with an animal in a 12-year cycle which is found across the eastern Silk Roads and 2023 is the year of the hare or rabbit. This recalls a design which is found across the Silk Roads in Buddhist, Christian and Islamic contexts, the so-called ‘Three Hares’.
Despite the great variation in Buddhist art and architecture across the centuries throughout Eurasia, many sites still to this day embrace an aesthetic based on rich décor, bright colours, and elaborate patterns.
Before the arrival of Christianity, with its assimilation of previous beliefs and festivals, the period we now call Christmas, around the mid-winter solstice, was also an important annual event for people of many cultures and times. We can see from archaeology how deep this marking of the close of one year and beginning of the next goes back into the past.