The Phoenix in Asian Art
鳳凰 アジアの美術 

The phoenix of Chinese legend is a symbol of heaven's favour, virtue and grace, luck and happiness. It is worshipped as one of four spiritually endowed, sacred, creatures presiding over China's destinies. The four animals; dragon, tiger, unicorn (or deer) and phoenix are called 'si ling' in Chinese, but with the passage of time, animals such as the snake and the turtle were added to this group of animals to be worshipped.

The Shang ritual cups and bronze decorations of the Western Zou period, of 3,000 years ago, depict the images of five animals often repeated: the lion, the fish, the deer, the dragon and the phoenix.

Like the dragon and ky-lin, with which the phoenix is always associated, it symbolizes the union of yin and yang, peace and disharmony and like the dragon, the phoenix is also made up of elements, typifying the entire cosmos of the six celestial bodies; it has the head of a cock which symbolises the sky (the eyes, the sun); the back of a swallow as the crescent moon; its wings are the wind; its tail represents the planets (trees and flowers); and its feet are the earth. The Chinese phoenix was thought to have a large bill, the neck of a snake, and the tail of a fish. It represents the element of fire and its season in summer and drought.

Read a lot more about the Phoenix Symbolism in Asia, by Mark Schumacher:


The PHOENIX in Asian Art
by Gabi Greve

Looking for PHOENIX in Asian Art, I found a lot of interesting pieces, some of which I copied to my Photo Album.
Have a look.


Daruma Museum, Japan


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