Decoding the Chinese Zodiac

Legend states that the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac were determined by a great race of which there were twelve winners from among the animal kingdom. Through their wits, tricks and natural talents the animals raced across a turbulent river to the finish line on the other side of the shore. The order of the lunar calendar is determined by the outcome of this very race with the rat being the first to finish and the pig the last.

Your personal Chinese zodiac corresponds to the lunar year in which you were born with each zodiac possessing a distinct character that is thought to have a profound impact on the personalities and destinies of those born in said year. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, a sign that traditionally signifies ingenuity and adaptability. Discover your sign using our zodiac wheel and then find out what it reveals about your personality below…


These quick-witted creatures are both funny and accomplished. Whilst one of their vices is their curious nature they are loyal to a fault and are most compatible with the Dragon or the Monkey.


Kind-hearted and hardworking the Ox can be prone to a touch of stubbornness but you will never find a surer companion. These steadfast characters are most compatible with the Snake or the Rooster.


Natural born leaders, the Tiger is defined by a combination of charm and ambition with a healthy dose of courage. Some may find their intensity overwhelming but they fall in easily with the Horse or the Dog.


Loved by all, the Rabbit owes its popularity to its compassionate and sincere nature. Often shying away from conflict, their peacekeeping talents can sometimes be misinterpreted as passivity. They are the most compatible with the Goat or the Pig.



These powerful creatures are known for their energy and charisma but can fall prey to a touch of egotism. These passionate leaders are often found in the company of the Monkey or the Rat.


Highly intelligent, the Snake is both organised and intuitive. Gregarious and seductive they are sometimes inclined towards vanity but are highly compatible with the Rooster or the Ox.


Born with an innate sense of wanderlust and fiercely self-reliant, the Horse is considered by some to be impatient. However, these adventurous creatures are never at odds with the Dog or the Tiger.


Introverted and intelligent, these creative thinkers count disorganisation as one of their vices but are inherently stylish. The Goat is often company of the Pig or the Rabbit.


It will come as no surprise that the Monkey is known for its fun-loving nature, energy and vivacity. Clever and wilful, these creatures sometimes find themselves in a spot of trouble but they will find ready friends in the Rat or the Dragon.


Honest and observant, the Rooster is one of the most resourceful characters. Prone to perfectionism, these trusting companions are most compatible with the Ox or the Snake.


Known for their sensitivity, loyalty and confidence, the Dog can still sometimes fall prey to mood swings. These faithful characters are the best companions of the Tiger or the Horse.


With impeccable manners and a taste for the finer things, the Pig is one of the kindest and most generous characters. They can be fierce when crossed but are the most friendly with the Rabbit or the Goat.

Smythson-Chinese-Zodiac-CollectionOur Chinese Zodiac personalisation collection is available online and at select Smythson boutiques.

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