Chinese Phoenix 2013


The original 1949  two-color in-text lithograph was simply titled, “Phoenix.” The phoenix is the Chinese symbol of beauty, peace, the sun, prosperity, and the empress. This pattern was gathered from the Jiangsu province of China.

Phoenix Bird Mythology

The phoenix is a mythical bird which represents beauty, good luck and southern direction in China. The bird is also considered as a symbol of the Empress and it is the highest-ranked bird in China. The “King of Birds,  the phoenix embodied the five virtues of righteousness, benevolence, wisdom, propriety and sincerity. According to legend, phoenix bird perched only in the finest firmiana tree, drinking and eating nothing but bamboo seeds and sweet spring water. The bird is also said to have the head of the golden pheasant, the body of the mandarin duck, the beak of the parrot, the feathers of the peacock, the wings of the roc and the legs of the crane.

Actually ‘feng huang’ (the original name of the bird) incorporates the notions of feng, a male bird and huang, a female bird, therefore according to that logic, the phoenix is actually a symbol of the combination between masculinity and feminity, or Yin-Yang. The phoenix bird is used to represent the south in Chinese geomagnetism. It represents the Fire element and is associated with the season of summer and drought.

There are other combinations for Yin-Yang in Chinese mythology which lead me to the conclusion that I will someday also have to make a dragon. The Chinese phoenix is often considered the femine part of Yin-Yang and the dragon as her partner the masculine part. Only time will tell.