But enough with barnyard animals, let’s move into more exotic territory. In Mandarin Chinese, 猴 (Pinyin: hóu) means “monkey” or “ape”. The Monkey is one of the twelve-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac and is associated with the earthly branch 申.
In her Chinese Calligraphy Sourcebook, Yat-Ming Cathy Ho writes about 猴:
This intelligent character is agile in its movements. The right part of the character has a man on its left with bows and arrows at the bottom of the tree, ready to shoot. The left side often appears in characters relating to animals.I’m sure that you too have noticed similarity between 猴 and characters for dog (狗) and pig (猪). That’s right, all of them have the radical 犭 (“dog”) on the left! 猪 is a phono-semantic compound of 犭 and phonetic 侯 (hóu).
A small one with a short tail is called Hou ([猴] monkey). If it looks like a monkey but has a prominent moustache, then it is called Ju [狙]. If it looks like a monkey but is bigger, then it is Jue [貜]. A monkey that is big, with red eyes and a long tail, is called Yu [禺]. A monkey that is small but has a long tail and an upright nose is called You [狖]. A monkey that is similar to You but is bigger is called Guoran [果然]. A monkey that is similar to You but smaller is called Mengsong [蒙頌]. A monkey that is similar to You but jumps a lot is called Canhu [獑猢]. A monkey that has long arms is called Yuan ([猿] ape). A monkey that is similar to Yuan but has a golden tail is called Rong [狨]. A monkey that is similar to Yuan but bigger, and can eat apes and monkeys, is called Du [獨].