The Money Sword is regarded as all-powerful against ill-luck to the house and against the machinations of evil spirits, and it attracts cash to its fortunate possessor when suspended from right to left above the head of his bed. This Cash Sword is composed of two iron rods along which a quantity of coins, having holes in the centre, are tied with red silk, making a potent charm which is very popular (see Illustration No. 44, Plate III).
For talismanic purposes, Red is indispensable in China. It is interwoven with the pig-tail, and must form a part of children's clothing. Written charms must also be in red ink on yellow paper to be efficacious against the multitudinous ill-omens and evil spirits which seem to surround the Chinaman, and for this reason all Imperial decrees are written in vermilion. One of the commonest amulets worn by an only son is a small silver lock (see Illustration No. 45, Plate III). The father collects coins from about a hundred different heads of families and has them exchanged for silver, which is converted into a native padlock used to fasten a silver chain round the boy's neck; this it is believed will preserve him from evil spirits, lock him to life, and contribute to his health and longevity.
Bells are also worn by Chinese children to avert the Evil Eye and preserve the teeth.
The Tortoise is regarded as a symbol of the Universe in China, Japan, and India, its dome-shaped back representing the vault of the sky, its belly the earth which moves upon the waters, whilst the great age to which it attains and the endurance and strength of its shell make it a fitting emblem of the longevity for which it is worn as a Talisman. It also repels black magic.
It represents the feminine principle in Nature and, as such, it penetrated to the West, so that in Greek and Roman art Aphrodite and Venus are frequently found associated with the Tortoise, whose virtues or gifts were said by Pliny to number sixty-six (see Illustration No. 36, Plate III).
The Tiger is the god of the gambler in China, and a tiger's tooth is regarded as a Talisman for good luck in speculation and in games of chance; whilst the claws and whiskers are worn as love charms, and for success and good fortune generally. Pigs are also considered lucky; and luck-bringers in the shape of little pigs made of gold and silk are worn to attract fortune's favours, but the black cat, which in our own country is regarded as a mascot, is not favoured by the Chinese, who believe it to be a harbinger of poverty, misfortune, and sickness.