The Chinese Zodiac/Sheng Xiao
00:00 / 03:02

Brenda Nguyen

About Brenda

Ni hao! During the last few years, I have been studying at MSU Denver, specializing in art and digital media. I am passionate about the ability of art to tell stories, and reflecting on my project, about how art can convey the history of my subject matter. For me, there is nothing better than discovering the connections and learning through art. On my journey in MSU Denver, I have been challenged to think and design around a range of topics, that tell people the meaning and the history of that topic.

About Brenda's Research

Have you been asked by your Chinese friends “What is your Chinese zodiac sign?” Do not think that they are just trying to make a conversation. If you say, “I am a Monkey,” they immediately know that you may be either 24, 36, 48, or 60 years old. Asking for your zodiac sign is a polite way of asking for your age. Your personality, Career prospects, and your fortune for that year, are also being evaluated based on your zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac is a 12-year annual cycle starting with the rat ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and ending with the pig. There are a lot of myths that tells about how the Chinese Zodiac came to be part of the lunar calendar, but there is one that my mom told me when I was a young girl: The Great Race to the Banquet. This project explores this cultural history.

You have a total of three zodiac animals, your year, an inner animal that is based on your birth month, and a true animal based on your birthday of the month. 


I am born in the year of the rooster, month of the ram, day of the monkey

Shengxiao Lunar Calendar

The water fountain, Shengxiao Lunar Calendar

Shengxiao Lunar Calendar

A upper view of Shengxiao Lunar Calendar

Shengxiao Lunar Calendar

Close up

Shengxiao Lunar Calendar

Close up and side shoot

Shengxiao Lunar Calendar-dice

2 six-sided dice, each side having the symbol of a zodiac animal

Clip of me playing with my Sheng Xiao Lunar Calendar