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The Three Hares is a pattern consisting of three rabbits following each other in a circle which has been found in a variety of mediums, including art, religious symbols and architecture. As a puzzle, it is often cited as an example of a strange loop or optical illusion.
The earliest known appearance of the symbol was found in Chinese cave temples dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries during the Sui dynasty (shown below).
Imagery containing the Three Hares was subsequently found along the Chinese silk trade route known as the “Silk Road” as a Buddhist religious symbol. In the 13th century, the Three Hares appeared in Mongolian metalwork and on a copper coin in Iran. The symbol subsequently made its way into churches in England, France and northern Germany, where it can be found in wood and stone carvings, window tracery and stained glass.
The Three Hares symbol spread from Asia to Europe between 600 and 1500 AD.
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