Ca 1770 silver and paste brooch in the form of a hoho bird. The eye of the bird is a cabochon garnet. Hoho bird or Chinese phoenix or in China : Fenghuang. The Japanese Hoho is equvivalent with mythological attributes with the Cinese Fenghuang. In the late seventeenth century through “Japanese” lacquer which was somitimes imitated in China , both for the European markets contained Hoho birds that were visualy remarkably similar to Fenghuang and the Europeans picked up the motive and used it withot knowing its significance.
The fenghuang’s body symbolizes the celestial bodies: the head is the sky, the eyes are the sun, the back is the moon, the wings are the wind, the feet are the earth, and the tail is the planets. The fenghuang is said to have originated in the sun. Its body contains the five fundamental colors: black, white, red, yellow, and green.It sometimes carries scrolls or a box with sacred books. It is sometimes depicted with a fireball. It is sometimes depicted as having three legs. It is believed that the bird only appears in areas or places that are blessed with utmost peace and prosperity or happiness.
Chinese tradition cites it as living atop the Kunlun Mountains in northern China.