The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata), or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41-49 cm long with a 65-75 cm wingspan.

The adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and “whiskers”. The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange “sails” at the back. The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill

Mandarin Ducks, which are referred to by the Chinese as Yuan-yang, are frequently featured in Oriental art and are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity.

Mandarin Ducks, symbol for a happy couple

Pillows with mandarin duck desing make great wedding gifts in China, so do curtains and bedcovers.

When one duck carries a lotus flower and the other animal a lotus fruit, this expresses the wish for a marriage blessed with many sons.

“Mandarin ducks in the dew” is a Chinese expression for unmarried lovers, though.

Mandarin Ducks, are referred to as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity. A Chinese proverb for loving couples uses the Mandarin Duck as a metaphor:
“Two swimming mandarin ducks”.
The Mandarin Duck symbol is also used in Chinese weddings, because in traditional Chinese lore they symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity. In reality, though, the ducks find new partners each year.
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