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Quail is a middle-sized bird, and is nowadays farm-raised for table food and their eggs. However, they play an interesting role in traditional Chinese art with an auspicious meaning.
Quail’s Chinese name is ‘an chun’(鹌鹑). Its first character 鹌 (‘an’) is often used in Chinese language for its pun on ‘an’(安) which means peace and safety.
Related Pun Pictures:
Fig 1-2: porcelain saucer-shaped dish, 1720-40, courtesy of the British Museum, London
Fig 3: fan leaf, by Zhou Zhimian 周之冕, 1593, courtesy of the British Museum, London
Fig 4: famille rose porcelain dish (detail), Qing dynasty (1644-1911), courtesy of the Guimet Museum, Paris
Fig 5: porcelain vase (detail), Qianlong period (1736-95), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Guimet Museum, Paris
Fig 6: snuff-bottle (detail), Jiaqing period (1796-1820), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei