The Rooster (雞) is the tenth of the 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Rooster is associated with the Earthly Branch (地支) symbol yǒu (酉). However, the Chinese term 雞 is not so specific: the same word applies to hens and roosters (or cocks or cockerels). 28 January 2017 is the Lunar New Year Day of Dīng Yǒu 丁酉年.

天干 (the Ten Heavenly Stems) :


地支 (the Twelve Earthly Branches) :


 十二生肖:虎免龍蛇馬羊猴狗豬 (12-year cycle in the Chinese zodiac)

Rat ox tiger rabbit dragon snake horse goat monkey rooster dog pig


Chinese Zodiac – Rooster 

Recent years of the Rooster in the Chinese Lunar Calendar are 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017.

Chinese Zodiac years are based on the Chinese lunar calendar, starting at Chinese New Year (28 January in 2017). People born in January or February can check the date of the Chinese New Year to confirm their birth sign, for example at the following link:

Characteristics of Roosters

Observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented. Roosters are very confident about themselves.

In Chinese folklore, roosters (鷄 or 公鷄 gōng jī ) are associated with the sun, hence they are also associated with such yang (陽) principles as strength and masculinity. As a result, both roosters and hens are said to have the ability to scare away evil spirits.

Roosters and hens symbolize good luck in general, as the word 鷄 jī resembles the word 吉 jí meaning lucky and auspicious. A large (大  ) rooster therefore represents extensive good luck.

Other attributes of the rooster include literary ability (its red cockscomb, 鷄冠, resembles a government official’s hat 冠冕), ferocity and courage (its spurs resemble military gear); benevolence (it protects its flock of hens), and faithfulness (it crows to the sun every morning ).


Ji ming fu gui (鶏鳴福貴) The cock crows about wealth and eminence.

Roosters and Hens in Chinese Paintings


Anonymous (attributed to Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279)  A Hen and Five chickens  (子母鷄圖)





Qi Baishi (齊白石) (1864–1957) Chrysanthemums and Chickens (菊花群鷄圖)




Qi Baishi (齊白石) (1864–1957) Chickens 



P1480617 (437x1280).jpg

Chen Shizeng (陳師曾)(1876- 1923) Rooster and Chrysanthemum (雞菊圖)








Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻 (1895–1953)  Cock crowing in the wind and rain (1937) (風雨鷄鳴)




Xu Beihong 徐悲鴻 (1895–1953)  A Rooster (雄鷄圖)



Gao Jianfu (高劍父) (1897-1951) Copy of Xu Wei (1521-1593) Peony, roosters and rock (摹徐渭牡丹鷄石圖)

Bibliography :

Bjaaland Welch, Patricia (2008) Chinese Art- A guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery Tuttle Publishing ISBN: 978-08048-3864-1

中国剪纸 Paper Cut in China 十二生肖 The twelve symbol animals 漢坤東方出品

陳相鋒 陳姿娟 (2012) 画室必備 – 中國画技法圖典 蔬果篇 湖北美術出版社

户辅圣 (2003) 中国画历代名家技法图典 花鸟编 () 上海书画出版社

For more paintings of the roosters, please visit the following two webpages: (歴代名家劃雞)  (Zhāng Shūqí 張書旗 1901-1957)