What Does Swallow Bird In Chinese Culture?

In Chinese culture, the swallow bird holds a special place and is considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Swallows are migratory birds that travel thousands of kilometers each year, returning to their nesting sites in China during the spring season. They are known for their beautiful songs and their ability to build intricate nests.

what is a swallow bird?

The swallow bird, also known as the Hirundinidae, is a species of migratory birds found in most parts of the world. These birds are known for their distinctive long pointed wings and forked tails, which allow them to perform acrobatic maneuvers while flying. They are also known for their beautiful songs and their ability to build intricate nests.

Swallows belong to the family of passerine birds, which includes over 6,000 species of birds. They are small birds, with an average length of 15 centimeters and a wingspan of around 30 centimeters. They have a slender body with a short neck and a small head. Their wings are pointed and narrow, allowing them to fly with great speed and agility. They have a forked tail with two long feathers, which helps them to steer and maneuver while flying.

Swallows are known for their distinctive chirping and singing, which can be heard throughout the day. They are social birds, often found in large groups or pairs. They are also highly territorial and will defend their nesting sites aggressively against other birds or predators.

One of the most distinctive features of the swallow is its ability to build intricate nests. Swallows build their nests using mud, grass, and other materials, which they shape into a cup-shaped structure. They typically build their nests in sheltered locations, such as under eaves or in cliff faces. The nest is lined with feathers and other soft materials, which provide insulation and comfort for the young chicks.

Swallows are migratory birds and travel long distances each year in search of food and nesting sites. They spend their summers in the northern hemisphere, breeding and raising their young. In the fall, they migrate south to warmer climates, where they spend the winter months. Some species of swallows migrate as far as 14,000 kilometers each year, making them one of the longest migratory birds.

Swallows are known for their beneficial role in controlling insect populations. They feed on a variety of insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and other flying insects. A single swallow can consume up to 1,000 insects per day, making them a natural form of pest control.

what is a swallow bird called in china?

The swallow bird (燕子) in China has various other names and poetic titles. Its other names include: lucky bird, clumsy swallow, Guanyin swallow, black bird, flying swallow, flying yin, sea swallow, Liang swallow, traveler swallow, qi swallow, social guest, social swallow, divine woman, hall swallow, heavenly woman, black cloth, black cloth country, Sichuan swallow, black bird, black yin, swallow maid, Yan Yan, lethargy, crested tern, desire, yu, yin bird, swimming wave, swimming wave heavenly woman, jade scissors, jade swallow, yuan bird, and bird of prey.

The poetic titles of the swallow bird include: bird of wealth, stupid bird, Guanyin swallow, black bird, and others. In ancient times, the swallow was considered a mysterious bird and was one of the 74 species of bird under the order Passeriformes.

In China, there are four main species of swallow: the swift, the barn swallow, the house swallow, and the rock swallow. The characteristics of each species are as follows:

Swift: The swift is the fastest-flying bird, and is known for its ability to catch insects in the air. It has long wings and weak legs.

Barn swallow: The barn swallow has a slightly forked tail, a white throat, and relatively wide wings.

House swallow: The house swallow has a short and wide beak that widens towards the base and is triangular in shape. The mouth is deeply cleft, and the beak is not well-developed.

Rock swallow: The rock swallow has a glossy black back and a white waist, with slightly forked tail feathers.

Overall, the swallow bird is deeply revered in Chinese culture, and is associated with good fortune, loyalty, compassion, and other positive values.

what type of swallow in china?

In China, there are several species of swallows belonging to the Hirundinidae family, including the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica), Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica), and Striated Swallow (Cecropis striolata), among others. These birds are migratory and can be found throughout China during the breeding season, which is typically from April to September. The Barn Swallow is perhaps the most well-known species of swallow in China and is often depicted in Chinese art and literature.

swallows flying low meaning

In many cultures, swallows flying low can have various meanings, both positive and negative. In some cultures, swallows flying low are believed to be a sign of rain or an impending storm, as the birds fly low to the ground in search of insects that may be more abundant before a storm.

In other cultures, swallows flying low are seen as a sign of bad luck or misfortune. In ancient Greece, for example, it was believed that swallows flying low were a sign of death or illness. Similarly, in some parts of Europe, it was thought that swallows flying low meant that a house or building was cursed.

However, in other cultures, swallows flying low are considered a positive sign. In Chinese culture, for example, swallows flying low are believed to be a symbol of good luck and a sign of prosperity. In Native American cultures, swallows flying low are seen as a symbol of community and unity, as the birds fly together in large groups.

Ultimately, the meaning of swallows flying low may vary depending on the cultural context and beliefs. In general, though, swallows are highly regarded for their beauty, grace, and beneficial role in controlling insect populations.

swallow bird meaning in Chinese culture

In Chinese culture, the swallow bird (燕 or 燕子 in Chinese) holds a special significance and is considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The swallow is admired for its beauty, agility, and grace, and is often depicted in Chinese art, literature, and poetry.

One of the reasons why swallows are considered lucky in Chinese culture is that they are migratory birds that return to their nests every year. This has led to the belief that swallows are a symbol of homecoming, reunion, and loyalty. In fact, it is said that if a swallow builds its nest on your house, it is a sign of good fortune and blessings for the family living there.

Swallows are beneficial birds that “choose good wood to nest in.” In ancient times, they were referred to as “purple swallows.” If a swallow built a nest in someone’s house, it indicated that good fortune was coming to that household. There are several reasons for this belief:

Swallows nesting in someone’s home suggest that they will have many children and much happiness.

Swallows represent good luck and safety. The Chinese word for swallow sounds like the words for banquet and peace, indicating safety and good fortune. If there is disharmony in a home with constant fighting and chaos, swallows will not nest there. If a swallow builds a nest in someone’s home, it symbolizes a peaceful and harmonious environment.

Swallows feed mainly on mosquitoes, so their presence in a home will reduce the number of mosquitoes. They also catch locusts and grasshoppers in fields, protecting crops.

Swallows can predict changes in the weather. When they fly low, it may be a sign that it will rain soon. This is because the humidity in the air increases before a heavy rain, making it difficult for mosquitoes to fly high. Swallows fly low to catch them, and the increased air pressure makes it harder for them to fly high.

Overall, the swallow bird holds a special place in Chinese culture as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and positive values such as loyalty, compassion, and devotion.

swallow’s nest meaning in Chinese culture

Swallow’s nests are also considered a luxurious delicacy in Chinese cuisine and are used in dishes such as bird’s nest soup. In addition, the nests have a cultural significance and are associated with prosperity and good luck.

In some Chinese traditions, it is believed that hanging a swallow’s nest in the home can bring good fortune and attract wealth. The nests are also used in feng shui practices, with some practitioners placing them in certain areas of the home to promote positive energy and prosperity.

swallows flying around house meaning

According to feng shui, when swallows fly into a house, it is a sign of prosperity and wealth. A swallow’s nest in the feng shui position of the house usually signifies an upcoming change of fortune, indicating that both future career and life will be smoother. Therefore, if swallows build a nest in your house, it is considered good luck and you should not disturb them. There is a saying, “When swallows come, wealth follows. When they leave, trouble comes.”

In feng shui, when swallows fly into a house, it is a sign of a harmonious marriage and a happy couple. According to legend, swallows are very selective when it comes to choosing a nesting place, and they usually prefer homes with good feng shui that are wealthy and harmonious. Swallows are also seen as the embodiment of love and loyalty, as they are monogamous and jointly raise their offspring. There are many idioms with the character “swallow” that describe the sweet and happy relationship between lovers or couples, such as “Newlywed Swallows” and “Swallows Fly Together.” Therefore, the arrival of swallows can improve the relationship between lovers or couples.

When swallows fly into a house, it is a sign of vitality and good fortune. In folklore, swallows are seen as intelligent creatures that like to visit homes with good feng shui. In our culture, the return of swallows is a happy event that signifies the arrival of spring, vitality, and hope. Therefore, when swallows fly into a house, it is important not to drive them away, as doing so could drive away good fortune and luck.

swallow in feng shui

In feng shui, the swallow (燕子) is considered a symbol of good luck and fortune. It is believed that when a swallow builds a nest in a home or property, it is a sign of good feng shui and a harbinger of prosperity and happiness. This is because the swallow is associated with the wood element, which is believed to represent growth, vitality, and abundance.

In addition to its association with prosperity and good luck, the swallow is also seen as a symbol of love and fidelity in feng shui. This is because swallows are known to mate for life and are fiercely loyal to their partners. As such, they are often seen as a symbol of marital harmony and a happy, long-lasting relationship.

In feng shui, it is considered bad luck to disturb a swallow’s nest or harm the birds in any way. This is because the swallow is believed to bring positive energy and good fortune to a home, and disrupting their presence can upset the balance of energy in the space. Instead, it is recommended to welcome the swallows and create a nurturing environment for them to thrive in.

swallow in yin and yang

In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang are two complementary forces that are believed to exist in all things. Swallows are often associated with the Yang energy, which is associated with the masculine, bright, active, and positive aspects of life. Swallows are seen as active birds that are constantly in motion, representing the Yang energy.

Furthermore, in traditional Chinese medicine, swallows are believed to have healing properties and are often used in herbal remedies. The bird is also associated with the liver and gallbladder meridians, which are important in balancing the body’s Qi (vital energy) and maintaining good health.

Overall, swallows are considered to have a positive influence in Yin and Yang philosophy, representing the active and positive aspects of life, and promoting health and balance in the body.

swallow in Chinese mythology

In Chinese mythology, the swallow is often associated with the goddess of weavers, Zhinü, and her lover, Niulang. According to legend, Zhinü was banished to live on earth after she married Niulang without the permission of the gods. She lived a difficult life on earth, weaving beautiful cloth to support herself and her family.

One day, a swallow took pity on Zhinü and transformed into a needle, allowing her to weave even more beautiful cloth. Zhinü was overjoyed and thanked the swallow by setting it free. In gratitude, the swallow promised to return every year to bring Zhinü a message from Niulang.

In some versions of the myth, the swallow is also associated with the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the heavens, who sent a flock of swallows to Zhinü to comfort her in her sadness. The swallows became her loyal companions, and she was said to have been able to communicate with them.

Overall, the swallow is seen as a symbol of love, loyalty, and good fortune in Chinese mythology.

swallow in the five elements

In the theory of the Five Elements in Chinese culture, each element is associated with various aspects of nature and life, including animals. Swallows are generally associated with the Wood element, which represents growth, renewal, and vitality. This association is due to the fact that swallows build their nests in trees, and they are a symbol of spring and new beginnings.

In some traditional Chinese medicine practices, swallows are believed to have healing properties and are used in certain herbal remedies. They are also associated with the Liver organ, which is attributed to the Wood element and is responsible for detoxification and regeneration in the body.

In addition, the swallow is sometimes associated with the Fire element, as their reddish-orange bellies resemble the color of fire. This association is particularly prominent in Chinese poetry, where swallows are often used as a metaphor for flames or passion.

swallow in Chinese medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, the swallow (yan, 燕) is believed to have various health benefits. Swallow nests, made of the bird’s saliva, are considered a delicacy and are used in Chinese cuisine and medicine. Swallow nest soup is believed to have restorative properties and is used to nourish the body, particularly the respiratory and immune systems.

Swallow is also used in Chinese herbal medicine. For example, the swallowwort (yan hu suo, 燕乎蘇) is a herb that is used to relieve pain, especially menstrual pain and chest pain. It is believed to have a warming and invigorating effect on the blood, promoting circulation and reducing pain.

Additionally, the Chinese believe that the swallow’s wings and bones have medicinal properties, and they are sometimes used to treat diseases such as epilepsy and stroke. The Chinese also use the swallow in acupuncture, as it is believed to have a calming and soothing effect on the mind and body.

swallow in Chinese food

Swallows are not commonly used in Chinese cuisine, as they are not considered a food source in Chinese culture. However, in some regions of China, swallow’s nests are used in a traditional soup dish called “bird’s nest soup”. The nests are made from the saliva of male swallows and are believed to have various health benefits, such as improving the complexion and boosting the immune system. This dish is considered a delicacy and can be quite expensive. However, it is important to note that due to the high demand for swallow’s nests, there are concerns about the sustainability and ethics of their production, as well as potential health risks associated with consuming them.

swallows in Taoism

In Taoism, swallows are considered as auspicious creatures that bring good luck and represent the balance between yin and yang, which is a fundamental concept in Taoist philosophy. Swallows are believed to symbolize hope, happiness, and longevity.

In Taoist mythology, the swallow is associated with the queen of the West, a goddess who is believed to rule over the land of the immortals. According to legend, the swallow was the messenger of the goddess and was often sent to deliver messages to people on earth.

In Taoist cosmology, the swallow is associated with the element of metal, which is believed to be the element that governs autumn and the west. The swallow is also associated with the direction of the west and the color white.

In Taoist medicine, the swallow’s nest is used as a medicinal food that is believed to have nourishing properties and is used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, asthma, and tuberculosis.

In Taoist art, the swallow is often depicted in paintings and sculptures as a symbol of harmony and balance. The swallow is often shown in flight, with its wings outstretched and its tail feathers fanned out, symbolizing the balance between yin and yang. In some depictions, the swallow is shown holding a branch in its beak, which is believed to represent the tree of life in Taoist mythology.

Overall, the swallow holds a significant place in Taoist culture, representing hope, balance, and longevity. Its association with the queen of the West, the element of metal, and the direction of the west make it a powerful symbol in Taoist mythology and philosophy. Additionally, its use in Taoist medicine and depiction in art further reinforce its importance in Taoist culture.

swallows in Confucianism

Swallows are not a major symbol or subject in Confucianism, but they do have some significance in Confucian culture and thought. Confucianism emphasizes the importance of family, social harmony, and respect for nature. Swallows, as birds that often live in groups and mate for life, embody some of these Confucian values.

In Confucianism, family is considered the foundation of society. Swallows are known for their strong family ties, as they often build nests together and raise their young cooperatively. Swallows returning home to their nests in the spring are also seen as a sign of family reunion and togetherness. This resonates with Confucian teachings on the importance of family bonds and filial piety.

Swallows also have a place in Chinese literature, which is highly valued in Confucianism. In the classic novel “Journey to the West,” the character Tang Sanzang is aided by a pair of swallows who help him cross a river. The swallows are portrayed as loyal and helpful, embodying Confucian virtues of loyalty and kindness.

Additionally, swallows are admired for their agility and grace in flight, which is seen as an expression of natural beauty. Confucianism values the harmony between humans and nature, and the beauty of the natural world is celebrated in many Confucian texts and teachings. In this sense, the beauty and grace of swallows in flight can be appreciated as an expression of the natural harmony that Confucianism seeks to promote.

Overall, while swallows are not a central symbol in Confucianism, their cooperative family structures and grace in flight are qualities that align with some of the values and teachings of Confucian thought.

Swallows in Buddhism

Swallows have symbolic significance in Buddhism as well. In some Buddhist traditions, swallows are associated with the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, who is also known as Guanyin in China. According to legend, Avalokitesvara appeared as a swallow to bring a message of compassion to a devotee who was in despair. This story represents the idea that even the smallest and seemingly insignificant beings can have great power and meaning.

In addition, swallows are also associated with the Buddhist concept of impermanence, or the idea that all things are constantly changing and nothing is permanent. The swift and agile movements of swallows in flight illustrate this concept well, as they are constantly moving and adapting to their environment. This serves as a reminder to Buddhist practitioners to embrace impermanence and appreciate the present moment.

Furthermore, swallows are also associated with the Buddhist concept of karma, or the idea that actions have consequences. In Buddhist teachings, it is said that if one harms a swallow, they will incur negative karma. This serves as a reminder to treat all living beings with compassion and respect, as all actions have consequences.

Overall, swallows play a significant role in Buddhist symbolism and teachings, representing compassion, impermanence, and karma. They serve as a reminder to practitioners to embrace impermanence, practice compassion, and be mindful of their actions and their impact on the world around them.

Swallows dislike poverty and love wealth

The belief that swallows dislike poverty and love wealth is a common cultural belief in some parts of Asia. This belief is based on the observation that swallows tend to build their nests in wealthy and prosperous areas, and that they avoid areas that are impoverished or in decline.

In Chinese culture, the arrival of swallows is often considered a good omen, as it is believed that they bring good fortune and prosperity. This belief is reflected in many Chinese proverbs and sayings, such as “燕子来时节节高” (when the swallows come, everything becomes prosperous) and “燕子入宅金满堂” (when swallows nest in your house, your wealth will be abundant).

However, it is important to note that these beliefs are rooted in cultural superstitions and not based on scientific evidence. While it is true that swallows tend to build their nests in areas that are rich in food and shelter, this does not necessarily mean that they have any preference for wealth or prosperity. It is simply a matter of survival and the availability of resources.

Furthermore, it is important to avoid taking such cultural beliefs too seriously, as they can lead to a dangerous mindset of materialism and greed. True wealth and prosperity are not measured by material possessions, but rather by inner happiness and fulfillment. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a mindset of gratitude and contentment, rather than one of constant striving for wealth and prosperity.

swallows in Chinese poetry

《钱塘湖春行》【唐 】白居易





“Spring Journey to Qiantang Lake” [Tang Dynasty] Bai Juyi

North of the Gu Mountain Temple, west of the Jia Pavilion, the surface of the water is flat and the clouds are low.

Several early birds vie for warm trees, while new swallows peck at spring mud.

The profusion of flowers is beginning to dazzle the eye, while shallow grass can just conceal horse hooves.

My favorite place to go in the east of the lake, where green willows provide shade for a white sandbank.




“Wu Yi Lane” [Tang Dynasty] Liu Yuxi

Beside the Vermilion Bird Bridge, wildflowers bloom,

At the mouth of the Raven Robe Alley, the sun sets askew.

In front of the old Wang and Xie halls, swallows used to fly,

Now they nest in the common folk’s homes nearby.




“Huanxi Sha: A New Ci and a Cup of Wine” [Song] Yan Shu

One cup of wine and a new song,

The old pavilion and terrace of last year’s weather gone.

When will the sunset bring its return?

Helpless, the flowers fall away,

The returning swallows seem familiar in every way.

Alone, I wander the fragrant garden’s winding way.

swallows related idioms

莺歌燕语[yīng gē yàn yǔ]

The idiom “莺歌燕语” means “orioles singing and swallows whispering”, describing the beautiful scene of spring. It comes from the poem “Spring Scenery” in “Bai Xue Yi Yin – Ma Tou Diao”.

The poem reads: “Seeing red and green peaches and apricots, I love the sunny days of spring the most. Orioles sing and swallows whisper, with light clouds and gentle breeze, the water is beautiful and the mountains are clear.”

新婚燕尔 [xīn hūn yàn ěr]

“新婚燕尔” is a Chinese idiom that originally referred to a deserted wife lamenting her ex-husband’s remarriage and new love. However, it later acquired a positive connotation and is now used to celebrate the joy and happiness of a new marriage. The idiom comes from the poem “Valley Wind” in the Book of Songs.

莺莺燕燕 [yīng yīng yàn yàn]

The chirping of orioles and swallows flying in pairs, a sign of springtime scenery. It also refers to a group of concubines or courtesans. From the poem “Inscription for Someone” by Du Mu of Tang Dynasty: “Amidst the green trees, orioles chirp and chatter, while swallows flit in pairs over the river.”

劳燕分飞 [láo yàn fēn fēi]

East flies the oriole, west flies the swallow,

Yellow maid and weaving maid meet not again.

燕雀安知鸿鹄之志(yàn què ān zhī hóng hú zhī zhì)

“燕雀安知鸿鹄之志” comes from “The Biography of Chen Sheng” in “Records of the Grand Historian” and also appears in “Inner Chapters” of “Zhuangzi”. It means that a sparrow cannot understand the ambitions of a swan, metaphorically referring to how ordinary people cannot comprehend the ambitions of great individuals.

In “The Biography of Chen Sheng”, when Chen Sheng was young, he once worked as a hired laborer in the fields with others. One day, he stopped working and walked to a high ground by the field, where he sighed and lamented for a long time out of disappointment and indignation. He said, “If any of us becomes rich and powerful one day, don’t forget your old friends.” The hired laborers laughed and replied, “You are just a hired laborer, where can you find wealth and power?” Chen Sheng sighed again and said, “Alas, how can a sparrow understand the ambitions of a swan?”

In “Inner Chapters” of “Zhuangzi”, a cicada and a sparrow made fun of the bird, saying, “We can fly up quickly from the ground, but we stop when we hit a tree branch. Sometimes we can’t even fly up to the tree and fall to the ground. Why bother flying all the way to the South Sea?” They went to the woods near the suburbs, bringing food for a day and coming back with full bellies. If they went a hundred miles away, they would spend a whole night pounding rice to prepare food. If they went a thousand miles away, they would have to prepare food three months in advance. What do these two little creatures know?

Chinese swallows patterns

“Chinese swallows patterns” may refer to decorative patterns or motifs featuring swallows in Chinese art and design. In Chinese culture, swallows are considered a symbol of good luck, happiness, and love. Swallows are also known for their migratory nature, and are often associated with the arrival of spring and the start of a new season. Swallow motifs can be found in a variety of Chinese art forms, including ceramics, textiles, and embroidery.

Chinese swallows place names

燕京: Beijing was once called Yanjing, Yan capital. According to historical records, in 1122 BC, King Wu of Zhou conferred the title of Duke on the nobleman of Yan in Yanjing after he overthrew the Shang Dynasty. Yanjing was named after it was the capital city of Yan State in ancient times. During the Warring States period, there was a state called Yan, which was named after Yan Mountain. Its capital was called “Yandu”.

燕子矶: Yanziji is located outside Guanyinmen in the northern suburbs of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China. It is one of the three famous rocks in the Yangtze River. It is a rock northeast of a rocky hill. The elevation is 36 meters. The mountain and rock stand upright on the river, facing three sides of the sky, resembling a swallow spreading its wings ready to take off, hence the name Yanziji.

Yan State

As one of the Seven Warring States during the Warring States period, Yan was not as prominent as some of the other states, unlike Qin which eventually achieved unification, or strong states like Zhao and Chu. When people think of Yan, many will first think of stories such as that of Crown Prince Dan of Yan and Jing Ke’s assassination attempt on Qin. The name “Yan” in the name of the state is the same character as the “yan” in “yanzi” (swallow).

swallows vs hawks

Swallows and hawks are two different types of birds in Chinese culture that often carry different symbolic meanings.

Swallows, or yan (燕) in Chinese, are commonly associated with happiness, good fortune, and love. They are often depicted in Chinese art and literature as a symbol of marital bliss, as they are believed to mate for life and always return to the same nest.

Hawks, or ying (鹰) in Chinese, on the other hand, are often associated with power, strength, and bravery. In traditional Chinese culture, they are sometimes used as a symbol of the military, as they are known for their sharp eyesight and ability to hunt prey.

Overall, swallows are seen as a more positive and auspicious symbol in Chinese culture, while hawks are often associated with more aggressive or negative traits.

swallows vs Fenghuang

Swallows and Fenghuang are two different symbols in Chinese culture.

Swallows (燕子) are a common bird in China and have been considered a symbol of good luck and happiness. They are also associated with the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year.

On the other hand, Fenghuang (凤凰) is a mythical bird that is often depicted as a combination of different birds, including the head of a rooster, the body of a snake, the wings of a crane, and the tail of a fish. It is considered a symbol of high virtue, power, and grace. In Chinese mythology, Fenghuang is often paired with the dragon, and together they represent a balance of yin and yang.

In summary, swallows are a real bird and a symbol of good luck, while Fenghuang is a mythical bird that represents high virtues and is often paired with the dragon in Chinese mythology.

swallows vs Cicadas

Swallows and cicadas are two different types of animals in Chinese culture. Swallows (燕子) are often associated with good luck and happiness, and are a popular motif in Chinese art and literature. They are also known for their ability to fly long distances and return home each year, which has made them a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness in Chinese culture.

Cicadas (蝉) on the other hand, are often associated with summer and the passing of time. They are known for their loud and persistent chirping, which is said to be a sign of the changing of the seasons. Cicadas are also sometimes used as a metaphor for people who talk too much or are insincere.

In summary, while both swallows and cicadas are common animals in Chinese culture, they are associated with different qualities and symbols.

swallows vs bat

In Chinese culture, swallows (燕子) and bats (蝙蝠) are both symbols of good luck and are often used in decorations during festive occasions. Swallows are associated with good news, fidelity, and happiness in love, while bats are associated with good fortune and prosperity.

However, there is also a belief that swallows and bats should not be compared or paired together because they represent different elements. Swallows are associated with the element of wood, which represents growth, while bats are associated with the element of metal, which represents transformation and change. Therefore, some people believe that mixing these two symbols may cause conflict or imbalance in feng shui.

Cultural beliefs and practices surrounding animals and their symbolism can vary widely, so it’s important to keep in mind that there may not be a definitive answer or consensus on this topic.

horse stepping on flying swallow

The Bronze Running Horse, also known as “Horse Treading on Flying Swallows”, “Horse Surpassing Dragon and Sparrow”, etc., is a Han Dynasty bronze ware, a national treasure-level cultural relic. It was unearthed in October 1969 from the Han Dynasty tomb in Leitai, Wuwei City, Gansu Province, and is now housed in the Gansu Provincial Museum. The Bronze Running Horse is 34.5 centimeters high, 45 centimeters long, 13.1 centimeters wide, and weighs 7.3 kilograms. Its majestic and exquisite shape depicts the horse neighing with its head raised and running at full speed, showing a heroic ambition to move forward, which is a symbol of the great character of the Chinese nation.

In the moment when the three-legged horse leaps into the air and one leg surpasses the flying bird, the bird turns its head in surprise, enhancing the momentum of the galloping horse. The entire body’s focus is on the one foot that surpasses the bird, accurately grasping the balance principle of mechanics and demonstrating excellent craftsmanship.

Experts have named this cultural relic from different angles, and finally settled on the name “Bronze Running Horse,” which is the recognized name. Other names include “Horse Treading on Dragon and Sparrow,” “Flying Swallow Liuyu,” “Purple Swallow Liuyu,” “Heavenly Horse,” “Horse God Tian Si,” and “Horse Treading on Flying Swallows.” The differences in these names lie in the type of bird the horse’s foot is stepping on. The name “Bronze Running Horse” is plain and will not make any mistakes, avoiding the recognition of the bird-shaped base itself.

Cultural significance:

The Bronze Running Horse is a valuable bronze craftwork produced under the influence of the horse-riding customs in the Han Dynasty. Horses were important means of transportation, military equipment, and livestock for agricultural production in Han Dynasty society. The Han government assigned horses “mouth registers”, and Emperor Wu of Han wrote the “Song of the Heavenly Horse”. Horses were deified and praised in various occasions.

The Han Dynasty was prevalent in burying horses and chariots as funerary objects, and viewed horses as a symbol of wealth. The “procession of chariots and horses” and “traveling scenes” in the Han Dynasty are common themes in tomb murals, stone portraits, and brick portraits. The Bronze Running Horse is unique and stands out from other chariots and horses, reflecting the unity of the universality and particularity of funerary objects.

The Han Dynasty established four prefectures in the Western Regions and horses played a unique role. According to the records in the Han Dynasty’s Heixi Hanjian, horses were widely used in transportation relay stations, Great Wall defense, military operations, and other aspects. Historical records show that Emperor Wu of Han sent people to the Western Regions three times to ask for Wusun horses. Horses were highly regarded in the Han Dynasty for their outstanding military achievements.

Overall, the swallow bird holds a significant place in Chinese culture and is seen as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and fidelity. Its beauty and grace have been celebrated in art and literature for centuries, and its practical role in agriculture has helped to sustain communities for generations. As a messenger of spring and a symbol of hope, the swallow remains a beloved and cherished part of Chinese culture.

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