The eagle is a symbol of strength and resolve in Chinese culture.
While this bird shares somewhat similar symbolism in the west, it’s a less superior bird in the east compared to the condor.
This is why when eagles are depicted in paintings, people can often refer to them as condors.
Saying that, they are not very popular birds for paintings and designs on merchandise. This applies to most other birds of prey including hawks, falcons, ospreys, and other flying raptors.
This might be one reason why in variations of the 100 birds painting, seldom can an eagle be observed as one of the birds.
An exception is made with the falcon, or sparrowhawk, as it is associated with nobility.
When an eagle is pictured on a pine tree, it conveys a wish for strength, nobility and longevity. Thus, making suitable gifts for a senior. If there are peasants walking below, it carries the scholarly-linked symbolism of heroes not being measured by the amount of military battles they get involved in.
When perched on a rock, it tells of a hero who has to go into battle and fight alone. Either that, or he’s the last one standing to take the fight to the enemy. It carries the same meaning when one is depicted standing on one leg.
The hero reference is also valid when an eagle is paired with a bear. This is because the word for hero is ying xiong (英雄) which sound the same as ying xiong (鹰熊) which means eagle and bear.
When falcons are chasing swans, it is a reference to a recurring seasonal spring hunt undertaken by the Liao dynasty.
In a business setting such as in a painting at the office, the word 鹰 is used as a homonym for 盈 which means in come and profits. So the eagle can sometimes be found displayed in the office.
When they appear in dreams, some circles believe that it represents a spiritual message being sent from a higher self to you.
When eagles are brought into the house, maybe in the form of oil paintings or photography, they are best in a calm posture with wings closed.
Flapping open wings can be a hostile representation.
When they are depicted to be taking flight, it is essential not to orientate them to “fly out” of the house. That would symbolize losing strength and stature.
And because they are huge birds, they should preferably be facing wide open spaces such as the living room.
For example, if it is above the television set looking at you while you watch TV, it’s a confrontational stance that should be avoided as much as possible.