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Post  Admin on 10/27/2008, 12:32 am


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Fenghuang sculpture, Nanning city, Guangxi province.

Fenghuang (Chinese: 鳳凰; pinyin: fènghuáng; Japanese: Hoo-Oo; Korean: 봉황 bong-hwang; Vietnamese: Phượng Hoàng) are mythological Chinese birds that reign over all other birds. The males are called feng and the females huang. In modern times, however, such a distinction of gender is often no longer made and the feng and huang are blurred into a single feminine entity so that the bird can be paired with the Chinese dragon, which has male connotations. The fenghuang is also called the August Rooster (鶤雞 hùnjī). In the West, it is commonly referred to as the Chinese phoenix.
The fenghuang is said to be made up of the beak of a cock, the face of a swallow, the forehead of a fowl, the neck of a snake, the breast of a goose, the back of a tortoise, the hindquarters of a stag and the tail of a fish. Its body symbolizes the six celestial bodies. The head is the sky, the eyes are the sun, the back is the moon, the wings are the wind, the feet are the earth, and the tail is the planets. Its feathers contain the five fundamental colors: black, white, red, green, and yellow.
The fenghuang has very positive connotations. It is a symbol of high virtue and grace. The fenghuang also symbolizes the union of yin and yang. It appears in peaceful and prosperous times but hides when trouble is near.
A common depiction was of it attacking snakes with its talons and its wings spread. In fact, images of the phoenix have appeared in China for over 7,000 years, often in jade and originally on good-luck totems. During the Han period (2,200 years ago) the phoenix was used as a symbol depicting the direction south, shown as a male and female phoenix facing each other. It was also used to symbolize the Empress in a pairing with a dragon where the dragon represents the Emperor. Here 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 was in the people that lived there.
In ancient China, they can often be found in the decorations for weddings or royalty, along with dragons. This is because the Chinese considered the dragon and phoenix symbolic of blissful relations between husband and wife, another common yin and yang metaphor.[edit]

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