Birds have long been a popular motif in Western antiques. They have many meanings, such as mythology, religion, and reverence for nature, and have been depicted in a variety of ways throughout the ages.
In particular, many of the European antiques from around 1900 that we carry in our store feature birds as decorative motifs.


The bird motif has the following meanings:
Each meaning is incorporated into various designs.

  • Lucky : Doves, swallows, owls, etc.
  • Love : Swans, pigeons, peacocks, etc.
  • Peace : Dove, dove with olive branch, etc.
  • Winning : Eagle, Hawk, etc.
  • Wisdom : Owls, crows, etc.
  • Life : Phoenix, etc.
  • Souls : Birds were believed to carry the souls of the dead to heaven.
  • Freedom : Birds flying in the sky have been considered symbols of freedom


Birds have long been used as a design motif in Western antiques.

  • Ancient times : Mythological and religious significance
  • Middle Ages : Influenced by Christianity and had a strong religious meaning
  • Renaissance : Realistic depictions come to the fore
  • 18th century : Influenced by the Rococo style, elegant and delicate expression
  • 19th century : Under the influence of naturalism, realistic depictions became mainstream again

Depending on the era, it has been expressed in decorative design in various forms, such as taking on stronger religious connotations, becoming more realistic, or being incorporated into stylized designs.

The popularity of "Japonism" in the 19th century

In the second half of the 19th century, Japanese art such as ukiyo-e prints that were exported from Japan to Europe had a major influence on Western art, and Japanese design known as the "Japonisme style" became popular during this period.
Among these, the motifs of flowers and birds, which are synonymous with "flowers, birds, wind and moon," began to be used frequently.
In addition to the pigeons and eagles that had been used up until then, familiar small birds such as robins began to be featured frequently as motifs.

Japonism style card case

(Japonism style card case)

Bird motifs are also commonly used in the Arts and Crafts movement, led by the British artist William Morris, which was influenced by Japonism, and in Art Nouveau, which followed in its footsteps.

William Morris "The Strawberry Thief"

(William Morris's Strawberry Thief)


Bird motifs in Western antique designs have had various meanings throughout their long history and have been depicted in various ways depending on the era.
Even today, its charm has not diminished and it is loved by many people.

Personally, I used to keep small birds, so when I come across antiques with a bird motif, I tend to buy them.
I would like to continue finding antiques with a bird motif and introducing them to you all.