Skip to content Skip to navigation

Exhibit: 兔兒爺 Tu’er Ye: Old Beijing’s Rabbit God


兔兒爺 Tu’er Ye: Old Beijing’s Rabbit God

In celebration of China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, taking place this year on Sunday, September 27, we have on display over 35 statuettes of the Old Beijing Rabbit God, Tu’er Ye.  Tu’er Ye is the predominant icon of the Mid-Autumn Festival, held annually on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. The Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates the bounty of the harvest and the moon, as it appears especially full and bright during this time of year.

Tu’er Ye is symbol of the autumn season; historically used in feminist ritual, the statuette today serves as a toy to occupy children during festival preparation and ceremonies. Considered folk art, Tu’er Ye is a rabbit with a human body adorned with the accouterments of an ancient general: helmet, scarf, shoulder-draped golden armor, broad belt and big boots, while holding an alchemist’s pestle and mortar. The statuette is usually a solitary figure, sitting or standing, however contemporary versions may depict a buck and doe rabbit together.

The items in this exhibit are on loan from the Lanfranco Chinese Traditional Folk Art Collection. Edward C. Lanfranco is a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program at UC Merced. He lived in Beijing from 1988 to 2009 and obtained these objects during his stay there.

For additional information about this display, please contact Ed Lanfranco at