A lot of Chinese art is deeply symbolic with particular motifs cropping up time and time again – for example the gnarled tree above, which may represent the unconquerable spirit of old age.
Beautifully portrayed inanimate subjects like landscapes such as above, are also rich in symbolism, not just there as pretty background: the rocks and streams are alive, showing the invisible forces of the world.
Landscapes are also often painted to achieve a harmony, with the delicate balanced portrayal of rocks and water or mountains and sky. Certain themes and arrangements carry special meanings which often help with Feng Shui.
Bamboo suggests the spirit which can be bent but never broken and jade represents purity and indestructibility.
The mighty dragon that appears everywhere, crawling across every surface can been seen as the symbol of the emperor and the crane symbolises long life.
Vivid colours splash across every surface in a riot of rainbow joys!!!!!
Lots of images are drawn from the plant world such as the orchid – a Confucian symbol of purity and loyalty.
The winter plum, which flowers even in the depth of winter and stands for renewal, endurance through hardship, and hope that life will begin anew.
Paired mandarin ducks mean faithfulness in marriage and the colour red is used everywhere as it ties into the element of fire and symbolises luck, joy and good fortune.