Legend of the Phoenix
In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is the symbol
of high virtue and grace, of power and prosperity.
It represents the union of yin and yang.
It was thought to be a gentle creature,
alighting so gently
that it crushed nothing, and eating only dewdrops.
It symbolized the Empress usually in a pairing
with a dragon (the dragon representing the Emperor),
and only the Empress could wear the phoenix symbol.
The phoenix represented power,
sent from the heavens to the Empress.
If a phoenix was used to decorate a house, it
symbolized that loyalty and honesty
were in the people that lived there.
Jewelry with the phoenix design showed
that the wearer was a person of high moral values,
and so the phoenix could only be worn
by people of great importance.
The Chinese phoenix
was thought to have the beak of a Bird,
the face of a swallow, the neck of a snake,
the breast of a goose, the back of a tortoise,
hindquarters of a stag and the tail of a fish.
A common depiction of the Feng Huang
was of it attacking snakes
with its talons and its wings spread.
In fact, images of the phoenix
throughout China for well over 7000 years.
Often in jade and originally on good-luck totems.
Although during the Han period (2200 years ago),
the phoenix was used as a symbol
depicting the direction south,
shown as a male and female phoenix
facing each other.
It carried two scrolls in its bill,
and its song included the five whole notes
of the Chinese scale.
It’s feathers were of the five fundamental colors:
black, white, red, green, and yellow
and was said to represent the Confucian virtues
of loyalty, honesty, decorum and justice.
Depictions of the phoenix
were placed on the tombs and graves.