Blue, grey & black bird

The red-bill blue magpie is absolutely stunning. If you are a fan of the oriental art, you may have seen them in may paintings – we love them in arts. They are known for their cyan-blue coat, this magnificent creature has a very long tail, there are also many white or black decorations on its body, giving it a royal and mysterious aura. Do you know that this creature is a legendary one as well?

Blue Magpie – Oriental Ink Brush Painting

Rice Paper, 40cm x 40cm

By Fiona Sheng

@InkDifferent Studio | Brussels

Thousands of years ago there was a blue bird recorded in a legendary book, The classic of the mountains and seas. This book described three auspicious birds that have fabulous feathers and very light bodies, and they red beaks and black heads. The Goddess of the Western Heavens (西王母), controller of longevity and happiness owns these three birds, one of them is often responsible for mailing and the other two help the Goddess with her daily life affaires.

These birds live in the mountains of Peng Lai, and this is the only place where the world beyond and our world interacts. But human-beings cannot access this magical place because of a lack of paths, so this brave messenger bird took up the responsibility to carry the communications between our world and the world beyond.

By Fiona Sheng

Since the brave blue bird has done great deeds for the human world, people love it and granted it the meanings of light, happiness and love. This blue bird even lead to the creation of Phoenix.

Related to the blue bird, the black and grey birds stand out too. The common Eurasian magpies in the oriental culture are very loved. They are usually associated with happiness, as indicated in their Chinese name, the bird of happiness (喜鹊). These birds appear regularly in wedding decorations, and they are the busiest during the Chinese Valentine’s Day (lunar July 7th)! On this day, the couple known as the Cowherd and the Weaving Girl could meet in the sky over the bridge composed of hundreds of magpies. They are very kind creatures, aren’t they?

Ming Dynasty, Bian Wen Jin (partial image)

A relative of the black magpie, the grey magpie is also a regular in the traditional paintings. They have black heads and blueish-grey feathers, rather pretty. It is often said that wonderful things will happen when you see magpies, no matter the number of them. Do you have them around and have they brought you great fortune?

Enjoy such cultural discussions? Have comments? I look forward to hearing from you!

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