A comprehensive list of motifs, symbols, and themes found in Chinese art

115 Entries

IDChinese PinyinChineseEnglish & InterpretationImage
1A La Bo Wen阿拉伯文Arabic script

2Ai Hu Wu Du艾虎五毒Chinese mugwort , tiger, and five noxious creatures

3An Ba Xian暗八仙Emblems of the Eight Immortals

Eight Taoist Immortals (an ba xian 暗八仙): the fan of Zhong Liquan 钟离权-扇, the double gourd of Iron-Crutch Li 铁拐李-葫芦, the bamboo drum of Zhang Guolao 张果老-鱼鼓, the lotus flower or bamboo colander of He Xiangu 何仙姑-莲花或笊篱, the flower basket of Lan Caihe 蓝采和-花篮, the sword of Lü Dongbin 吕洞宾-剑, the castanets of Imperial Uncle Cao 曹国舅-拍板, and the flute of Han Xiangzi 韩湘子 笛子.

4An Chun鹌鹑Quail

630An Cun Bai He安存百合May you both live in peace and enjoy perfect harmony

631An He Tu安和图May you enjoy peace and harmony

633An Ju (Tu)安居(图)May you live in peace and contentment

632An Ju Le Ye安居乐业May you live and work in peace and contentment

634An Xi Tu安喜图May you enjoy peace and happiness

637Ba Bai Chang Chun八百长春May we have eternal spring all year round

635Ba Bai Xia Ling八百遐龄May you live for eight hundred years (Long may you live)

636Ba Bai You Ling八百有零Long may you live; May you live for more than eight hundred years

5Ba Bao八宝Eight Buddhist treasures

The expression eight treasures (babao 八寶) can refer to two or three different sets of designs in Chinese decorative arts: the Eight Buddhist Emblems, the Emblems of the Eight Taoist Immortals, and a third set of miscellaneous treasures. The first is also known as the Eight Auspicious Emblems (ba ji xiang 八吉祥), consisting of the wheel, the conch, the umbrella, the canopy, the lotus flower or bamboo, the vase, the fish, and the knot (sometimes one of these is replaced by the flaming pearl)

6Ba Da Ma八大码Eight stylised lotus petals with emblems in them

7Ba Ge八哥Crested myna

‘ba 八’ in ‘ba ge 八哥 Chinese Crested mynah’ can mean ‘eight 八 ba’

8Ba Gua Qi八卦旗Banner with triagrams of yin-yang combination

9Ba Gua Wen八卦纹Eight Trigrams

2033Ba Ji Xiang八吉祥Eight Buddhist treasures

10Ba Jiao芭蕉Plantain

12Ba Jiao Gua Pu Tao Wen芭蕉瓜葡萄纹Design of plantain, melon, and grapes

11Ba Jiao Jiao芭蕉脚Plantain-leave design

Around the foot of a vessel (e.g. jars or vases)

13Ba Jun八骏Eight steeds of the King of Mo of the Zhou dynasty

14Ba Lian Wen把莲纹Lotus-bouquet design

15Ba Man Jin Bao八蛮进宝Babarians paying tributes

16Ba Si Ba Wen八思巴文Phags-pa script

An alphabet designed by the Tibetan monk and State Preceptor (later Imperial Preceptor) Drogön Chögyal Phagpa for Kublai Khan, the founder of the Yuan dynasty, as a unified script for the written languages within the Yuan.

17Ba Xian八仙Eight Daoist Immortals

钟离权 Zhong Liquan 铁拐李 Iron-Crutch Li 张果老 Zhang Guolao 何仙姑 He Xiangu 蓝采和 Lan Caihe 吕洞宾 Lü Dongbin 曹国舅 Imperial Uncle Cao 韩湘子 Han Xiangzi

18Ba Xian Yang Shou八仙仰寿Eight Daoist Immortals celebrating the birthday of Xiwangmu or Shoulao

Eight Immortals paying birthday respects to the Queen Mother of the West

19Bai Cai白菜Green cabbage

638Bai Die百瓞Long may your family line flourish

20Bai Fu百福Hundred Bats (May all blessings be yours)

Artist may repeat one particular visual element many times for conveying the numeral ’bai 百 hundred‘.‘蝠 fu’ in ‘bian fu 蝙蝠 bat’ is a pun on ‘福 fu’ for ‘good fortune’ or ‘happiness’. 以画面中重复的某个视觉元素以表示词’百‘,‘蝠’与‘福’谐音。

639Bai Fu Bing Zhen百福并臻May all blessings be yours

640Bai Fu Fan Sheng百福繁生May all kinds of good fortunes come to you

21Bai He百合Lily bulb

22Bai Hua Bu Lu Di百花不露地Mille-fleurs

23Bai Hua Ting百花亭Mille-fleurs Pavilion

24Bai Hua Tu百花图Mille-fleurs

641Bai Ji百吉May you be blessed by good luck in all you do

642Bai Ji Ru Yi百吉如意May you be lucky in all you do and may all go as you wish

25Bai Ju Yi白居易Bai Juyi

643Bai Jue百爵May you have frequent promotions and enjoy enormous privilege

644Bai Lin Mei Shou百龄眉寿May you enjoy a ripe old age

645Bai Ling Shi Lu百龄食禄May you enjoy an official emolument up to a ripe old age

646Bai Lu百禄May you have an ample official income

647Bai Nian Hao He百年好合May you both enjoy each other’s company to a ripe old age

26Bai Niao Chao Feng百鸟朝凤Birds paying homage to the pheonix

The Worship of the Chinese Phoenix

648Bai Shi Da Ji百事大吉May your life in all its connections be blessed

649Bai Shi Duo Ji百世多吉May your family have a lot of good luck over hundreds of generations

650Bai Shi Ru Yi百事如意May everything turn out as you wish

27Bai Shou Ping百寿屏Screen with a hundred variations of the longevity character inscribed on it

28Bai Sou Tu百叟图Dinner party in honour of one hundred geriatric guests

651Bai Sui Fu Gui Ping An Ru Yi百岁富贵平安如意May you enjoy peace, wealth and privilege to a ripe old age and may every wish of yours come true

653Bai Sui Tu百岁图May you live for one hundred years

657Bai Tou Fu Gui白头富贵May you enjoy wealth and prestige to a ripe old age

658Bai Tou Mei Shou白头眉寿May you both live together to a ripe old age in married bliss

656Bai Tou San You白头三友May you enjoy a refined friendship up to a ripe old age

1064Bai Tou Tou Lao白头同老May you both live to a ripe old age

29Bai Tou Weng白头翁Chinese Bulbul

‘bai tou 白头 white-headed’, of ‘bai tou wen 白头翁 Chinese bulbul’ (the white-headed-old-chap bird) can imply a ripe old age

659Bai Tou Xie Lao白头偕老May you both live together to a ripe old age in married bliss

30Bai Tu Ji白兔记Tale of the White Hare

31Bai Xian Wen白线纹

32Bai Yue拜月Praying under the moon

33Bai Yue Ting拜月亭Pavilion of Praying Under The Moon

660Bai Zi Qian Fang百子千房May you enjoy vast progeny

34Bai Zi Tu百子图Hundred-boy design

35Ban Chao班超Ban Chao


36Ban Fu板斧Broad axe

37Bang Ze棒责Punishing by beating with a stick

39Bao Ci Guan Yuan抱瓷灌园

38Bao En Si报恩寺

40Bao Fu包袱Ribbon knot

41Bao Jiao Bei抱角杯

42Bao Shi宝石Precious stones

661Bao Xi Tu报喜图The harbinger of good news; May good news come your way!

43Bao Xiang Hua宝相花Stylised lotus-flower design

44Bao Ying Er抱婴儿Holding a baby in arms

45Bao Zi包子Stuffed bun

46Bao Zuo宝座Throne

662Bei Bei Feng Hou辈辈封侯May each generation of your family be made life peers

48Bei Jian Ren Zai Du Kou背剑人Man carrying a sword aross his shoulders

50Bei Ke Wen碑刻文Stele inscription

49Bei Lou背篓Carrying a basket on the back


51Bei Qin背琴Carrying a qin-zither on the back

52Beng Jia绷架Frame of embrodery

53BiBi ring

663Bi De Qi Shou必得其寿You are certain to enjoy longevity

54Bi Dian Wen篦点纹Comb-pricked dots pattern

664Bi Ding Duo Kui必定夺魁You are certain to come out the first in examinations

665Bi Ding Ru Yi必定如意Every wish of yours is certain to come about

666Bi Ding Sheng Guan必定升官Your promotion in civil service is certainly about to come

55Bi Ge臂搁Arm rest

56Bi Hu壁虎Gecko

57Bi Hua Wen篦划纹Incised comb pattern

58Bi Wen篦纹Combed pattern

59Bi Xi赑屃Bixi, pedestal for a tombstone

60Bi Xie辟邪Bixie

61Bian Ju Hua扁菊花Oval chrysanthemum blossom

62Bian Xing Lian Ban Wen变形莲瓣纹Stylised lotus-petal design

63Bian Zhi Wen编织纹Woven pattern

667Bing Di Shuang Gui并蒂双贵May you both enjoy prestige in your married life

64Bing Ding兵丁Soldier

65Bing Mei Wen冰梅纹Plum blossom on icy ground

66Bing Zhu Ye You秉烛夜游Loitering at night with a candle

71Bo Ya Zhong Ziqi伯牙钟子期Bo Ya Zhong Ziqi

67Bo Dao Qi Er伯道弃儿Bodao abandoning his son in order to save his brother's son

68Bo Gu Tu博古图Display of miscellaneous antiques

69Bo Lang波浪Wave pattern

70Bo Si Wen波斯文Persian script

72Bo Yi Shu Qi伯夷叔齐Boyi and Shuqi

73Bu Dai He Shang布袋和尚Budai, cloth-sack monk

74Bu Huang Tu捕蝗图Scene ofdestroying migratory locusts

75Bu Na Tu补纳图Scene of patching worn cassock

76Bu Ru哺乳Scene of breast feeding

77Bu Wen布纹Fabric pattern

79Bu Yi补衣Patching worn clothes

78Bu Yu捕鱼Fishing