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Pheasant is one of the most popular birds painted in traditional Chinese art, besides phoenix, crane and rooster. Due to its characteristic long-tail, pheasant is often used in pun rebus pictures, as ‘chang 长’ and ‘zhi 雉’ in this bird’s Chinese name ‘chang wei zhi 长尾雉’ pun on the other Chinese words ‘chang 长’ and ‘zhi 治’, meaning to regulate for a long time. Artworks containing this motif express the wish to the receiver to govern a country or a state for a long time.
Pheasant is often presented in combination with shou shi (寿石, rocks symbolising for longevity), peony or quail to serve their symbolic or pun purposes.
Related Pun Rebus:
May the country enjoy peace and good order permanently 长治久安
Related Symbolic Pictures:
What does a daily life scene of cooking have to do with politics?
Fig 1-2: jar, Shunzhi (1644–61) – Kangxi (1662–1722), courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Fig 3-6: jar with cover, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Fig 7: wucai brush pot, c.1650-60 2015, previous collection of Julia and John Curtis
Fig 8-9: blue-and-white vase, Kangxi period (1662 – 1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art
Fig 10-13: famille verte vases, Kangxi period (1662 – 1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art
Fig 14: saucer, c.1700 – c.1724, courtesy of Rijksmuseum, Holland