Material and Medium: Ivory
Dimensions: Overall: 180 x 43 x 50mm (7 1/16 x 1 11/16 x 1 15/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.240
This figure (one of a pair) of a phoenix or long-tailed bird is divine and lucky. It is said that it was formed from the essence of the five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth). It has a shape similar to a peacock, and mixed features from several animals: a snake's head, a swallow's chin, a tortoise's back, a turtle's waist, a crane's crown, a chicken's beak, a swan's breast, a fishtail, an egret's claws and a mandarin duck's cheeks. The feathery texture over the head represents virtue; that on the wings, rites; that on the back, righteousness; that on the breast benevolence; and that over the belly, faith.
So the phoenix is a lucky bird incorporating benevolence, righteousness, rites, virtue and faith.Display Location: