3D printed Chinese New Year, Year of the Horse plaque. Source: WhiteClouds
3D printed Chinese New Year, Year of the Horse plaque. Source: WhiteClouds

In celebration of Chinese New Year, occurring this year on January 31, 2014 we have 3D printed a plaque honoring the Year of the Horse. We have created the plaque on the Connex 500 3D printer using the Rigid Plastic material in black and white.

Chinese New Year has been celebrated for centuries and is a rich and storied tradition. Also called the Lunar New Year Festival, Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, typically occurring on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, so the date changes from year to year.

According to legend, Chinese New Year started with a bang: a fight with a mythical beast called the Nian. The Nian always appeared on the first day of the New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, particularly children. As protection, the villagers placed food in front of their doors each New Year’s Day to appease the Nian. One day, a child wearing bright red clothing scared off the Nian. The villagers knew that the monster was afraid of the color red, so they hung red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors and lit off firecrackers to scare the beast away. Since then, the terrifying beast has never once returned.

There are other traditions as well, such as spring couplets on paper squares or scrolls that are hung around the house and inscribed with words such as “good fortune,” “wealth,” “longevity,” and “springtime.” The paper squares are pasted upside down because the Mandarin Chinese word for “upside down,” is also a homonym for “arrival.” This would help the inscribed blessings to arrive at the home. Lighting lanterns, eating sumptuous feasts, staying up late to increase longevity, and giving red envelopes containing “lucky money” are also traditional.

According to Travel China Guide, people born in the Year of the Horse are spirited, clever and kind.  The website states, “The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).


“People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely. 


“They cannot bear too much constraint. However, their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot-blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some people born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers.  They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.” (From www.travelchinaguide.com)

Maybe the Year of the Horse will bring exciting new innovations to 3D printing. What exciting arrivals would you like to see? Upload your files to a 3D printing service such as WhiteClouds to bring your designs to life.