Fung Hwang

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Fung Hwang

A bird to which the ancient Chinese attributed almost the same qualities as other cultures did to the phoenix. It was said to have a cock's head, a snake's neck, a swallow's beak, a tortoise's back, and to be of five different colors and more than six feet high. According to the Lun Yü Tseh Shwai, "its head resembles heaven, its eye the sun, its back the moon, its wings the wind, its foot the ground, and its tail the woof." Like the dragon, tortoise, and unicorn, the fung hwang was considered to be a spiritual creature.

The appearance of the fung was always regarded as an auspicious augury. Women adorned themselves with the image of this bird in gold, silver, or brass, according to their means.


Gould, Charles. Mythical Monsters. London, 1886. Reprint, Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1969.