Some types of animals symbolically carry positive and auspicious connotations.
For example, birds and fishes are generally favorable creatures and often the creatures of choice when homeowners choose paintings to set up in their living spaces.
This is even when different species of birds and fishes carry their own meanings behind that facade.
Another bird that carries a very strong cultural significance is the oriole (鶯) which symbolizes friendship.
This is because the friendship and loyalty is one of the most valued virtues that a person can have.
It is also why classic stories such as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms has an underlying theme of loyalty and friendship between the 3 sworn brothers. Not about the amount of wealth the 3 armies accumulated during the years of war.
The significance of the oriole can also be observed when it is the symbol of friendship in the 5 human relationships text made famous by Confucius.
It’s also a member of the quartet which are known as the 4 friends of the flowers.
In the infamous painting concept of the 100 birds, it would be a surprise not to find an oriole hidden somewhere.
In paintings, when the oriole is depicted alone, it is meant to carry the meaning of friendship. So it makes a good gift for a friend.
However, when the oriole is depicted with various other objects, it can carry the meaning of lust and improper relationships. Objects that can carry these meanings when partnered with the oriole include butterflies, swallow, cherry trees, etc.
So before ordering an oriole painting to gift someone, do check out what exactly in contained in the picture itself.
When the yellow bird is illustrated with trees in the summer, it is a reference to a verse in a poem by the famous poet Wang Wei.
When drawn perched on willow trees, it is a strong symbolism of yin energy and femininity.