With the explosion of popularity of Feng Shui in the West,many western people are familiar with the mirror type of pakua. Pakua in fact come in a variety of shapes and sizes,depending on customs and beliefs. Pakua are used to ward off ghosts, evil spirits and malign influences from a house. Their use is, paradoxically, declining by Chinese people.
Chinese talismans have the same function as pakua- to ward off evil spirits, and are often small pieces of paper or cloth with prayers or mantras written on them. Buddhist talismans are small pieces of yellow cloth with sacred writings from Buddhist scriptures and a picture of Buddha painted on it. Taoist talismans are similarly of yellow cloth, but contain mantras from the I-Ching. Talismans are traditionally written using the blood of a dog, chicken or human. Talismans can be worn or hung on doors, and it is particularly common for children and adolescents to wear talismans as it is believed that they have not grown sufficiently yet to fight of malign influences themselves.
Jade, a recurrent theme in Chinese culture and mythology, is also credited with the powers of
warding off evil and is often worn by children. If the jade becomes darker, it is believed that wealth will come the wearer’s way; conversely, if it pales, misfortune will befall him/her.
Jade does not only function as a talisman. It symbolises majesty, beauty, good manners and
goodness and is a favourite jewel among Chinese women, not only for the former mentioned properties, but because it is believed that it can bring wealth and good health to the wearer. Jade is sometimes worn before long journeys in the belief that it can ward off accidents and misfortune. Wealthy Chinese families will often adorn their dead with jade as it is believed that jade can strengthen the bonds between a family and its departed.