Mandarin Ducks as Symbols of Eternal Love in Chinese Culture and Feng Shui

Mandarin Ducks as Symbols of Eternal Love in Chinese Culture and Feng Shui

Mandarin ducks are regarded as one of the most attractive ducks, and they are frequently seen in pairs not only in artwork and Asian themes but also in real life. In Chinese culture, they represent marital contentment and loyalty, as well as good luck and joy.

Mandarin ducks are known in China as “yuanyang” (鸳鸯), where ‘yuan’ (鴛) and ‘yang’ (鴦) stand for male and female mandarin ducks, respectively. Mandarin duck male and female plumages differ significantly from one another; hence, the term “yuan-yang” is widely used informally in Cantonese to refer to an “odd couple” or “unlikely pair” – a combination of two distinct varieties of the same category.

Mandarin Ducks are commonly spotted side-by-side in the wild, where they are recognized for their long-term relationships. Because of their unusual behavior, they become a symbol of love, dedication, affection, and fidelity in Chinese culture. Their vibrant, appealing colors reinforced their attraction as symbols even further. These views spread to the Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese, who all use the pair of birds to represent the love of a committed couple.

Weddings are regarded as one of the most auspicious and joyful ceremonies in most civilizations. According to feng shui, the couple obtains an endless amount of fortunate qi (life force energy) on their wedding day. In China, it’s customary to give a new couple a pair of mandarin ducks on their wedding day to bring them happiness and help them get along.

It is such a popular symbol of love that a Chinese proverb for couples in love uses it as a metaphor: “Two mandarin ducks playing in water” (鸳鸯戏水 – yuānyāng xì shuǐ).

The motif of a pair of mandarin ducks may be found in Asian artworks such as vases, fabrics, screens, and sculptures. The ducks can be combined with other ornaments like the lotus, which represents serenity; the double happiness, which represents joy, or other lucky symbols.

Although yuanyang is a symbol of lifelong affection, its origin myth involves an unusual pairing: a gardener and the daughter of an official. Let’s look at this interesting origin myth, and in addition, we will deal with how we can use this auspicious symbol in feng shui.

Mandarin Ducks in Chinese Literature

Before they were representations of romantic love, mandarin ducks were used to symbolize a brotherly bond In poetry written 300 years after the 3rd century, mandarin ducks were used as symbols for a pair of brothers or their relationship. An anonymous old poem (attributed to Su Wu) of farewell addressed by one brother to another appears in an early 6th-century collection of prose and poetry.

"And if on this earth all men are brothers, no man is a traveler alone on the road. We two were trees linked limb to limb, you and I were like one body; we were once those ducks that mate for life, now split like the stars Shen and Chen" —from the book "An Anthology of Chinese Literature."

During the Tang era (618–907), the widespread connection of yuanyang with romance arose. Lu Zhaolin, a poet from the 7th century, said in his poem “Changan Guyi” that lovers ” envy the happiness of a pair of mandarin ducks rather than the immortals.” That sentence from Lu’s poetry grew so famous during the Tang dynasty and afterward that the relationship between mandarin ducks and inseparable couples in love became ingrained in the Chinese consciousness.

The Legend of Ying Mei & Yuan Ge

This eternal love symbol has its origins in an unusual pair. It is the tale of the romance between a gardener, Yuan Ge, and the daughter of an official, Ying Mei. Hong Fu, the girl’s father, hired Yuan Ge to carry out some yard work.

During a local event, someone was heard calling for help from the park’s lotus pond. It was from Hong Fu’s daughter, Ying Mei. To save her, Yuan Ge jumped into the water. However, Hong Fu incorrectly interpreted his deed of saving her life as an effort to take advantage of his daughter. Despite Ying Mei’s pleas for Yuan Ge’s innocence, he imprisoned him.

Ying Mei visited Yuan Ge’s prison cell in secrecy one night and gave him a multicolored robe. The guards saw the visit and reported it to Hong Fu. He was so furious that he told the men to bind stones to Yuan Ge’s feet and throw him into the lotus pond. Ying Mei, distressed and devastated, fell into the water after Yuan Ge to be with him.

A few days later, there were two beautiful Mandarin ducks swimming around the pond. The male was a beautiful color, just like the robe that Ying Mei had given to Yuan Ge as a gift. People thought they had both transformed into birds due to their colorful feathers.

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Mandarin Ducks Symbol in Feng Shui

In Feng Shui, a pair of mandarin ducks promotes love energy. Feng shui practitioners can place mandarin birds in specific locations throughout the house in the hope that doing so will bring luck in terms of romantic relationships.

Mandarin ducks are said to devote their entire lives to one partner. Therefore, to represent unity, the duck figurines should always be arranged together. As a couple, they provide favorable energy for love, marriage, and bonding.

As Feng Shui symbol is the remedy for married couples to settle conflicts, improve their bonds, and attain marital bliss. However, in Feng Shui, mandarin ducks are also suggested for single individuals in order to attract their ideal life mate. To activate your love luck, place the pair in the center of your dining room, living room, or bedroom.

If you are in a loving relationship and want to get married, tie a red ribbon or string around the ducks’ necks as a symbol of marriage.

Mandarin ducks
Pair of mandarin ducks.  Image from Depositphotos

Mandarin Ducks Feng Shui Placement

After learning the significance of a mandarin duck pair in feng shui, you must decide where to put these romantic birds. Depending on whatever feng shui school you follow, you have several alternatives. Here are some suggestions.

Placement of Mandarin Ducks in the Southwest Sector of Your Home

A pair of Mandarin ducks should be placed in regions associated with marriage and love connections in classical (traditional) feng shui. This suggests that if you want to strengthen your marriage or a romantic connection, you should put the couple in the southwest corner of your home.

In feng shui, we use a tool called the feng shui bagua map, which is an energy pattern that is placed over your home’s floor plan. The Bagua map is divided into eight sections that surround a central point. Kun, which means “love and partnerships” in Chinese, is one of the most well-known areas.  This area is also linked to the color pink, the yin earth element, and the feminine element.

You can find this area by standing in your front doorway and looking inside. Your Partnership area is located at the far rear right corner of the floor plan. You can activate this relationship area with a pair of Mandarin ducks to boost the harmony and longevity of your present relationship.

Placement of Mandarin Ducks in Bedroom

Bedrooms are more regular in shape and serve as your most personal place in the home. You would follow the same steps. Stand at the entry of your master bedroom and look into the room. Your Partnership area is in the far right back corner of the room.

To encourage the harmony and longevity of your existing marriage or relationship, activate this Partnership area with a pair of mandarin ducks.

  • It is better if the ducks look at each other.
  • For married people, the strong vibes from the mandarin ducks keep them together and strengthen their love for each other.
  • In a married couple, the figurines must be placed on the husband’s side of the bed.
  • Singles should keep the ducks on a side table.

Other Places to Keep Mandarin Ducks

If you don’t want to put the pair of mandarin ducks in your bedroom or the southwest corner of your house, you may put them in the southwest corner of your living room or home office. Either of these places will provide the boost needed for your marriage or romantic relationship.

Pair of Mandarin Ducks
Image by Angela from Pixabay

Feng Shui Rules and Tips for Mandarin Ducks

Once you have decided where to place your pair of Mandarin Ducks, there are some rules about their display and maintenance that you should keep in mind.

  • You just need one pair. People often believe that the more the better, but in feng shui, less is more.
  • You can choose an illustration, drawing, or photo of a pair of Mandarin ducks, but it must only show two Mandarin ducks. This will be male and female, and they must be depicted together.
  • Don’t use two artworks with distinct ducks because that would mean they are alone and apart from each other.
  • According to some practitioners of feng shui, the two Mandarin ducks should be flying, standing, or walking in the same direction to represent togetherness. This represents that the pair has the same beliefs, ambitions, and dreams, resulting in an unbreakable relationship.
  • A pair facing each other can mean that they are on opposing sides or have different ideas that contradict each other.
  • Similar to the previous example, a painting of ducks swimming apart or in opposing directions also represents a lack of a sense of unity and a lack of living the same life as one another, along with everything it entails.
  • The addition of a red ribbon around the duck’s neck adds a touch of fervor while also signifying devotion and unity.
  • A mandarin duck with a lotus or a lotus leaf is lucky because the lotus flower may wipe out bad luck and bring in good luck, peace, and happiness.
  • Ducks that are broken, fractured, or chipped should never be kept. So, replace any broken ducks with a new pair.
  • The Feng Shui ducks require frequent dusting and cleaning. Both partners should do this if they want to increase their devotion to each other.
  • Place the mandarin ducks in clear, well-lit places.
  • Mandarin ducks shouldn’t be kept in the workplace, on a study table, or in the bathroom.
  • Your attitude must be in line with the love that these ducks represent, and you must be ready and open to offer and receive this overwhelming emotion of devotion.

Types of Feng Shui Mandarin Ducks

Mandarin ducks may be made from a variety of materials, including wood, crystal, jade, metal, and rose quartz. The majority of Feng Shui practitioners recommend avoiding synthetic materials such as plastic and resin since they are unconnected to nature.

Mandarin Duck Made of Rose Quartz

Rose quartz sculptures are a popular way to depict Mandarin ducks. Rose quartz, popularly known as the “love stone,” is a strong love charm. It is connected with love and marriage and is ideal for mandarin duck miniatures. This is an excellent choice because the southwest is ruled by the earth element, and in feng shui, crystals and rocks serve as symbols of earth. Any type of porcelain or ceramic figure can be used in place of rose quartz if you want. Its pink color connotes love and affection.

wooden statuette of two ducks
Wooden statuette of two ducks as symbol of married couple.  Image from Depositphotos

Mandarin Ducks Made of Crystal

Crystal mandarin ducks are utilized as a cure for love-related issues. It aids in the reconciliation of lovers and couples. It symbolizes the joyous unity of marriage and reinforces the bond between two people.

If you’re looking for the best, consider looking for a pair carved from a red stone like jasper, cornelian, or red coral. Naturally, the color red represents passion and love. The Partnership area has earth energy, and the color red is the fire element, which helps the earth. However, different colors can also be utilized.

Mandarin Ducks Made of Jade

Jade is considered the “stone of heaven” by the Chinese and has magical warding properties. Jade mandarin ducks are regarded as auspicious charms that provide peace, companionship, and luck, as well as promoting independence. They can be used to enhance and strengthen love in troubled relationships.

Mandarin Ducks Made of Wood

In Feng Shui, wood stands for growth and good family ties. Wooden Mandarin ducks may bring valuable love and peace into the home. On the other hand, sincere believers are unlikely to want to get wooden sculptures of Mandarin ducks because they will not assist energize the element of earth, which is required in this situation.

Mandarin Ducks Made of Brass

Metal is related to concentration and clarity, and it promotes health, money, and love. Brass mandarin ducks are reputed to provide marriage pleasure and contentment, as well as to build a caring environment.

mandarin ducks
 Image from Depositphotos

Paintings of Mandarin Ducks

Aside from mandarin duck figurines, a painting of two mandarin ducks might be hung in the southwest corner of the bedroom. If a couple wants to start a family, they might consider getting a pair of Mandarin ducks with little ducklings. Avoid using ducks in paintings that are swimming in separate ways or away from each other since it represents a lack of harmony and togetherness.


Finally, mandarin ducks have enormous cultural importance in Asian traditions and have evolved into potent symbols of love, faithfulness, and marital happiness. They represent devotion and enduring love, and their everlasting partnerships are said to offer couples luck and happiness.

During the Tang dynasty, the relationship between Mandarin ducks and romance grew in popularity, establishing their representation as inseparable couples in Chinese society. Mandarin ducks are employed in feng shui to generate love energy and foster harmonious relationships.

The southwest sector of the home or bedroom, signifying the partnership area, is the best location for these love birds. Following particular feng shui guidelines and recommendations, such as exhibiting a pair of male and female ducks together and maintaining them in good condition, increases the symbolic power of the ducks.

Mandarin duck figurines are made from a variety of materials, including rose quartz, crystal, jade, wood, and brass, each with its own distinct qualities. Mandarin ducks are valued symbols of love and togetherness in feng shui practices, whether given as a wedding present or employed as a remedy for love-related problems.

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