Boise Traffic Box Art

Good Luck Sweet Cookie - Not an Ancient Chinese Secret

You might not realize it at first, but this piece is a tribute to the blending of cultures. In this case it's the Far East (specifically China) and the West. This might seem a little out of place for Downtown Boise, at least until you remind yourself that the Yen Ching Chinese Restaurant is right behind it, and that in its early days Boise had a significant Chinese population. They originally came over to work the nearby mines, and soon they were setting up downtown laundromats and tricking everyone with those little finger trap thingies. So, yes, there's a history here.

If that's not enough education for you, here's one more tidbit. The title of this piece is "Good Night Sweet Cookie", which I'll bet you didn't know is a synonym for the fortune cookie you get with your Americanized Chinese food. Actually, 'good night sweet cookie' is one of the many Chinese translations for fortune cookie, since the fortune cookie is an American creation and the folks in China had to find a way to translate the concept into their language. Apparently one translation wasn't good enough, so they let their imagination run wild. According to the online Oracle that is Wikipedia, other popular translations include "good luck label cookie", "good luck cookie", "happiness biscuit", and "lucky label-words cookie". All of those make pretty good sense, but I still have no idea where they got the 'good night' part of this art's moniker.

As you might imagine, there's a fortune cookie in this artwork, and it's cracked open to reveal the familiar slip of paper containing someone's fortune. In this case, the fortune is: SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY NOT A DESTINATION. You can decide for yourself how these wise words are reflected in the different sections of the piece, all of which can be described as being influenced by common Oriental themes and symbols.

Particulars
Name: Good Luck Sweet Cookie
Artist: Melissa Chambers
Where: 9th and Bannock