Rat Art in Chinese and Western Cultures Present Contrasting Views of the Animal

Through artworks that feature rats as subject, there’s a contrasting difference of rat reputation in Chinese and Western cultures, particularly in the UK. While traditional Chinese paintings show rats as symbols of wealth, abundance and intelligence, traditional Western artworks that include rat images are often related to conditions of squalor and notoriety.

The high esteem for rats in Chinese culture is demonstrated through its inclusion in the list of 12 prominent animals representing the zodiac symbols in China’s calendar system. The rat symbol actually kick starts the first year of a 12-year cycle, the most recent Year of the Rat being year 2020. Although the rat symbolism denoted prosperity and surplus, the exact opposite happened and is still happening in 2021, not only in China but across the globe.

What Chinese Horoscope Readers Predicted about the 2020 Year of the Rat

it’s interesting to note that the website ChineseZodiac.org had a different prediction about the 2020 Year of the Rat. Their read of the year’s horoscope indicated challenges in terms of health and financial conditions.The website’s horoscope had foreseen a negative energy from a so-called annual Flying Star 5; of how it could result in unpredictable situations, impediments and obstacles occurring during the first half of the year.

Famous UK Street Artist Banksy’s Popular Rat Graffitis

Sometime in July 2020, the UK’s famous but mysterious street artist Banksy came out with several pandemic-themed art. One of which included a rat graffiti that appeared in a London underground train station. It featured images of rats in face masks, which the artist captioned as “If you don’t mask – you don’t get” The art work apparently pointed to the UK government’s indecisiveness in making it mandatory for people to wear face masks in public places.

Banksy has been using rat graffiti to express social commentaries on how the growing rat population could once again allow another to hit the country. He gave the title “Our Time Will Come” to one such rat graffiti art stenciled in a busy London street.

His “Rat Radar” suggested that as the rodents are spreading throughout the country, they are not just scavenging for food, but are also observing and listening to what is happening in the surroundings. The art actually has a double meaning, as it also denotes Banksys’ criticism of the government’s increasing surveillance systems and activities in London.

The Art and Science of Rat Control in the U.S.

Like in many other countries, the U.S. consider rats as nuisance animals, which if not controlled would result in infestations. Wildlife control companies that render rodent removal services remind the public that rat issues in the home should be taken seriously. Rats, like other wildlife animals, are also carriers of disease-causing viruses. The hantavirus for one, is a rat borne disease that could easily spread, if rats are allowed to invade and infect spaces in which humans live, eat and interact.

While there is still no scientific evidence of how the COVID-19 coronavirus evolved into another type of SARS, the hantavirus disease has been considered as a possible contributor. After all, hantavirus is also a common cause of pulmonary disease in China but is said to be still rare in the U.S. Mainly because rat control and removal is widely addressed across American states.