Tobacco pouch

Certain Qing dynasty (1644-1912) robes lacked pockets, making pouches useful accessories. But the opening of this tiny tobacco pouch is stitched closed, indicating it was purely ornamental. Chinese “double happiness” characters appear on the tassels, and both sides are embroidered with phoenixes (symbolizing the Han empress) and lotuses (symbolizing purity), suggesting it was worn by a woman.

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Can you identify the phoenixes on this pouch – where do they appear and what do they look like?

responded: Jun 18, 2012

Posted by Daisy L.

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I agree with Danielle but I think the red part on the left and right are also part of the phoenix - may by their long tails. The Chinese phoenix (Feng Huang) is the head of all birds. Feng is male and Huang female, while paired with dragon it is female. Feng Huang has rare appearance, with colorful plumage. Many legends tell that it has a body of pheasant, while feathers like that of peacocks, with wings of roc. Chinese phoenix is also an immortal bird whose rare appearances signify the peace and prosperity, especially a new ruler ascent to the throne. It never old or dies, belongs to the fire in Five Elements. It is said that phoenix nirvana and rebirth out of ash, symbolize the constant striving spirit. Images of ancient birds have appeared in China for 7,000 years, with the earliest historic piece with phoenix was a silk painting discovered in a tomb of the warring states period. Down the ages, Chinese "long" and dragon are the traditional totems embedded with people's blessing and hope and left deep imprint in Chinese civilization. Some are even combined the dragon and phoenix together to hope the harmony and happiness of marriage. source:

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