A horned sheep in the
Yorkshire Dales, UK.For centuries, sheep have had associations
with many cultures, especially in the Mediterranean area and Wales,
where they form the most common type of livestock in pastoralism.
Selective breeding of sheep has frequently occurred. A wide symbology
relates to sheep in ancient art, traditions and culture. Judaism
uses many sheep references including the Passover lamb. Christianity
uses sheep-related images, such as: Christ as the good shepherd,
or as the sacrificed Lamb of God (Agnus Dei); the bishop's Pastoral;
the lion lying down with the lamb.
Greek Easter celebrations traditionally feature a meal of Paschal
lamb. Sheep also have considerable importance in Arab culture.
Herding sheep plays an important historico-symbolic part in the
Jewish and Christian faiths, since Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and
King David all worked as shepherds. The sheep (or goat) forms
one of the animals associated with the 12-year cycle of in the
Chinese zodiac, related to the Chinese calendar. Chinese tradition
associates each animal is associated with certain personality
traits. See: Sheep
Above Images Come From The Courtesy of the USDA