Antique Chinese Porcelain collector's expert page, Ming, dynasty, Chinese porcelain marks

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Bird

Together with the butterfly a symbol for a young man approaching the woman he loves. Both in China and Korea the word niao (bird) is a term for "penis". Particular symbolic significance are attached to many birds, among these the following: crane, eagle, magpie, mandarin ducks, oriole, owl, pheasant, quail, raven, swallow and the mythical phoenix. A white headed bird symbolizes great age. Two of them on a peony = riches and honor till the close of life.

In many other cases as well paintings of birds and flowers gain meaning from homophones of the objects depicted.

See also: Chinese painting

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