Symbolic Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings

By: Tori Duarte 

Los Angeles County Museum Of Arts

5905 Whilshire Blvd Los Angeles CA90063


On Friday November 18, 2016 I was able to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts and visited the Chinese Art display. What caught my eye the most was how beautiful the flower and bird Paintings were. I’ve always seen these paintings, but I never knew there was meaning behind them.

There are lots of symbolic means behind the Chinese Flower and bird Paintings. I chose one  from the Tsao Family collection by Cai Han. This scroll was painted by Cai herself and shows bamboo and bean flowers. Each bean flower represents offspring. 

There’s was one painting that I really was looking for but I couldn’t seem to find it. It was the painting named “The Three Friends of Winter”. 

The Three Friends of Winter symbolize the pine, bamboo and plum blossom. The Chinese observed that either one of these plants  Never dried up or shriveled as they got deeper into their winter seasons. 

Some examples of flowers and their symbolism are the peony which represent high position and great wealth, bamboo symbolizes modesty and success, and pine is a symbol for longevity and integrity. These flowers are each a unique importance to the Chinese Culture. 

Some examples of birds and their symbolisms are the peacock which represents dignity and beauty, the phenolic which is mostly used as a female symbol means Empress. The bat is used as good luck and in the chinese language is sounds similar to how they say “Good Fortune”. Bats are often shown together to represent the five blessings; a long life, riches, health, love of virtue and a natural death. 

In the Chinese culture if you share a space with any type of bird and flower painting, your giving the message of the painting in the most elegant way. 


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