chinese animal symbols and meanings

Chinese Animal Symbols

Last Updated on April 9, 2023 by Avia

Exploring Chinese Animal Symbols And Meanings: Chinese Animal symbols hold incredible power in the Asian culture. So it should come as no surprise that these animal themes and motifs are found in every square inch of rich Chinese culture and heritage.

About Chinese Animals and Meanings

The Chinese are excellent philosophers and observers. As such, they understand the deeper meanings of animals, and utilized the characteristics of each creature to represent traits they wish to call upon in their own lives.

Chinese animal symbols serve as reminders, charms, omens, and sentiments. They are artistically represented in drawings, embroidered on clothing, painted on houses, and formed into statues all over China as harbingers of wealth, good luck, etc.

Chinese symbol love
Chinese animal meanings

“Animal messages are spoken in a universal language.”

Common Chinese Animal Symbolic Meanings

As with all symbols, these can bring about great positive aspects into our lives. By understanding their meanings, and incorporating them into our lives, we conjure the desired aspect each symbol represents. Here are a few common Chinese animal meanings and symbolism.

Chinese Butterfly

The Chinese animal symbol Butterfly represents love, specifically young love. Happily flitting from flower to flower – it signifies a happy social life for the young and young- at-heart. Chinese legend has it that the Butterfly symbolizes an undying bond between lovers. All romantics-at-heart would do well to place an image of a Butterfly in their home. A perfect gift for a new couple is this design embroidered on towels for the couple’s home. Representative of the Yang energy, this symbol can energize you or a loved one, it reminds us of the energy of love. More symbolic meanings of butterfly here.

Chinese Crab Meaning

The Crab signifies prosperity and status because the Chinese word referring to its shell is a pun on the highest score a candidate can make on the Chinese Imperial Examinations (first, or jia. Two Crabs represent the first and second scores of the Examinations. Learn more about the symbolism of the crab here.

Chinese Crane Symbolism

The Crane is legendary in China for being the prince of all feathered creature on earth. Next to the Phoenix (also listed on this page), the Crane is the most favored all Chinese bird symbols. The Crane is the ancient symbol for longevity because of its exceptionally long life span. In many legends, the spirits ride on cranes, which are also said to bear the souls of the departed to the heavens.

Chinese Goldfish

This symbol means an abundance of gold, making the Goldfish a popular symbol in Chinese culture. One of the most popular New Year’s images is a child holding a large goldfish and a lotus flower (see Chinese Flower Symbols) which brings both wealth and harmony. A Goldfish embroidered on a bag or shirt is a sure-fire way to bring the energy of abundance into your life. See also my page on symbolic meaning of fish (in general).

Chinese Horse Symbolism

The seventh of the Chinese Zodiac Signs, it also represents endurance, loyalty, and purity to the Buddhist way of thinking. It is also a symbol for quick advancement in rank, and recognition of strength. (see also Horse symbol meanings.

Chinese Magpie Meaning

This Chinese animal symbol translates into the bird of joy. It is believed that when the Magpie nests in your house, it brings much cause for celebration and many happy occasions. Those wishing to settle down will do well to have this symbol in their lives, as it attracts the nesting, settling energies into our lives. Additionally the Magpie is a powerful symbol to attract the joy associated with marriage and children. Also see my page on the symbolic meanings of the magpie here.

Chinese Phoenix Meaning

A celestial sign to the Chinese, the Phoenix is the king of the winged kingdom. Magnificent and legendary, this bird is synonymous with good fortune, opportunity, and luck. It also conveys strength and resilience in the symbolic rising from its own ashes and soars to greater heights. On its own, the Phoenix is a Yang symbol and is associated with fire energies and the four winds. Combined with the Dragon (see Chinese Dragon page) the Phoenix represents Yin energy. As a point of spiritual focus, the Phoenix evokes in us the five human qualities of good cosmic energy, or Chi, which are: Virtue, Duty, Alignment, Compassion, Loyalty. Learn more about symbolic phoenix meanings here.

Chinese Rooster

An image of a Rooster conveys a wish for advancement because the Rooster’s crest, (guan), is a play on the Chinese word meaning official. More importantly, the Rooster is an auspicious creature that can ward off evil spirits. Legend has it that the Heavenly Rooster of Dusu Mountain was crowing loudly and making all the roosters on earth crow along with it. This tremendous wall of sound (crowing) would result in scaring all evil spirits away. For more on Rooster Symbol meanings, click here.

Chinese Tiger Meaning

This ancient Chinese animal symbol is an emblem of dignity, ferocity, sternness, courage, and by itself is Yin energy. Also a symbol of protection, the image of a tiger is often seen on clothing or in the home to ward off harm any semblance of harm and assure safekeeping. In certain areas of China and Asia, the Tiger is regarded as the God of Wealth. Consequently, Tsai Shen Yeh, the Chinese God of Wealth is depicted sitting on a tiger. Such an image symbolizes the supremacy of the intangible forces, and our ability to harness the tiger’s power in our lives. For more Chinese animal symbol meanings on the Tiger click here.

Conclusion About Chinese Animal Symbols and Their Meaning

I hope you enjoy browsing through these pages on Chinese Animal Symbols. If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in more articles on symbolic meanings listed at the end of this page. Time and time again, scientific studies have proven that investigating cultural traditions and symbols offer the human mind a greater perspective on their environment. Learning about Chinese animal symbols is a great way to understand this diverse culture and also expanding our view of the world. As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope all of your animal encounters are happy and bright. 

Mighty brightly,

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Chinese symbols for good luck

Chinese Symbols For Luck

The image shown here is the Chinese symbol for luck. The concept of good luck is intense in the Chinese culture. So much so, it is believed that surrounding oneself with lucky charms and images is a way of insuring luck in life. Learn more about Chinese lucky symbol meanings here.

Chinese symbol for longevity

Chinese Symbols For Longevity

The Chinese are incredibly skilled at assigning deeper meanings to various symbols to represent a condition or energy. Walking through their country is a true education on Chinese symbols. Among the myriad of symbols, the Chinese symbol(s) for longevity are widespread and quite intriguing. Learn more about Chinese symbols for long life and longevity here. (WYS) is a trusted Etsy affiliate & Amazon Associate. We also promote certain products we've tested and approved. As such, the website features sponsored products for Amazon or Etsy or other afiliates. Should you make a purchase from a link on this website, WYS may receive a small commission. This website also hosts advertisements. Please see our policy page for further information. Thank you for your purchases, as it contributes to keeping this website online and running.