CHONGQING, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- An exhibition on relics about the rat, the first of the Chinese zodiac animals, is organized in Chongqing to greet the coming lunar Chinese New Year.
The exhibition shows more than 90 rat-themed cultural relics in the Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum. Highlights include rat-shaped jade accessories and clothes made of rat fur from years past.
A green jade exhibit drew the most attention. The small item is in the shape of a lychee fruit, with a carved rat appearing to hold the fruit. It indicates prosperity.
The public can also join in rat-themed riddle-guessing activities in the museum.
The event will last until March 29, 2020.
In accordance with the Chinese zodiac cycle, the Year of the Rat will start on Jan. 25, 2020 and last until Feb. 11, 2021, when the Year of the Ox begins.
Twelve animals, namely the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, are used to represent the Chinese zodiac to record the years and reflect people's attributes.
According to the Chinese zodiac story, in the competition held by the Jade Emperor to decide the zodiac animals, the quick-witted rat asked the diligent ox to let him ride on the ox's back as it crossed a river, and jumped down before the ox crossed the finish line, winning the race and becoming the first of the zodiac animals.