Legend of the Phoenix

Legend of the Phoenix

Chinese 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

have appeared

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.

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