What Does a Crane Symbolize? Significance and Cultural Meanings Explained

Have you ever seen cranes gracefully fluttering their wings in the sky and wondered what they symbolize? Well, wonder no more because cranes represent an array of meaningful ideas. These birds have been integral parts of cultures and civilizations for centuries, and each society has attributed their unique values to them. Whether it is strength, longevity, or good fortune, cranes have been a powerful symbol of hope, inspiration, and enlightenment for many.

In Asia, cranes are considered to be the embodiment of happiness and good luck. They are symbols of longevity and an auspicious omen for the future. In Japan and Korea, cranes are revered for their graceful and tranquil demeanor. They symbolize peace, calmness, and harmony. According to legends, these birds can live for a thousand years, making them an icon of longevity and wisdom.

In Western culture, cranes are regarded as symbols of resilience, determination, and perseverance. These qualities are a direct result of their physical attributes and unique behavior. Cranes are incredibly strong and can fly for long distances without a break. These birds are also known to mate for life, representing loyalty and devotion. In many ways, cranes have become an icon of hope and inspiration for people around the world, teaching us the power of perseverance, strength, and love.

Crane Symbolism in Different Cultures

The crane has been a symbol of grace, elegance, and longevity in different cultures for centuries. Its long beak, slender legs, and graceful movements have captivated people’s imaginations, inspiring myths, stories, and legends.

  • In Chinese culture, the crane is considered a symbol of longevity, prosperity, and peace. It is also associated with wisdom, mystery, and nobility. In traditional Chinese paintings, the crane is often depicted as flying over water, symbolizing transcendence and purification.
  • In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of good fortune, longevity, and happiness. The legend of a thousand origami cranes (senbazuru) is a popular tradition, where folding a thousand cranes is believed to make a wish come true. The crane is also associated with the deity of fortune, Ebisu, and the god of the sun, Amaterasu.
  • In Korean culture, the crane represents good luck, nobility, and purity. It is also called the “bird of peace,” as its gentle nature and harmonious appearance resemble Korea’s wish for peace and unity. The image of the crane is often seen in traditional Korean paintings, calligraphy, and sculptures.

Here’s a table summarizing the crane’s symbolism in different cultures:

Culture Symbolism
Chinese Longevity, prosperity, peace, wisdom, mystery, nobility
Japanese Good fortune, longevity, happiness, deity of fortune, god of the sun
Korean Good luck, nobility, purity, bird of peace

Overall, the crane’s symbolism in different cultures reflects its universal qualities of grace, beauty, and longevity. Its significance in mythology and rituals demonstrates the profound impact of nature on human imagination and culture.

Crane Symbolism in Asian Traditions

Crane symbolism has been present in the Asian traditions for centuries. The crane is considered one of the most important symbols in Asian culture. It has various symbolic meanings, and its significance varies from country to country. The crane has been depicted in art, literature, and other cultural aspects, highlighting its importance in the Asian traditions.

Number 2: Crane Symbolism in Japan

  • The crane is one of the significant symbols of Japan. It represents longevity and good fortune. The Japanese consider the crane as a sacred bird that is believed to live for a thousand years. Hence, it is a common subject in Japanese art, literature, and folklore.
  • One of the most significant Japanese traditions is the origami crane. The Japanese fold paper cranes as an expression of hope, healing, and peace. The story behind this practice is that Sadako Sasaki, a child who was a victim of the Hiroshima bombing, folded 1000 paper cranes while in the hospital in hopes of being granted a wish for her health. Though she passed away, her legacy of hope through the art of origami has continued to inspire people around the world.
  • In Japan, the crane also symbolizes love and loyalty because the crane pairs for life. The Japanese also believe that the crane has the power to grant wishes, which is why it is considered the bird of happiness.

Crane Symbolism in China

In China, the crane is a symbol of longevity, wisdom, and immortality. The Chinese believe that the crane represents all the virtues of a wise, dignified, and noble person. It is also associated with good luck, peace, and good fortune.

The Chinese also have a legend about the cranes. According to the myth, the sun and moon were once destroyed, plunging the world into darkness. The world’s inhabitants sent up cranes with burning branches to try to relight their true source of light. The sun and the moon are relit, and it is believed that the cranes hold the power to bring back light to the world.

Crane Symbolism in Korea

Similar to Japan, Koreans also believe that the crane is a symbol of longevity and good fortune. The crane is also used in Korean traditional dance and is considered a graceful and noble bird that is a natural expression of elegance and poise. Thus, the crane represents the Korean values of modesty, loyalty, and respect.

The Bottom Line

The crane symbolism is prevalent in the Asian traditions and has inspired art, literature, folklore, and various cultural practices for centuries. It varies in the various countries, with each culture assigning different meanings. It is a symbol of longevity, good fortune, wisdom, immortality, peace, love, and loyalty. Regardless of the country, the crane is considered a sacred bird, and its symbolism has survived generations, making it an integral part of the Asian culture.

Crane Symbolism in Native American Traditions

The Native American culture is rich with symbols and beliefs that have been passed down for generations. One of the most significant symbols is the crane, which holds a special place in the traditions of many Native American tribes.

The Number 3

In Native American symbolism, the number three holds great significance. It represents balance and harmony, and is often used to symbolize the three worlds of the Native American spiritual universe. These worlds consist of the upper world, which is the realm of the gods and spirits, the middle world, which is the physical world we live in, and the lower world, which is the realm of the dead and underworld creatures.

  • The crane, with its long neck and legs, is said to represent these three worlds all at once. It stands tall, reaching up to the upper world, while its body represents the middle world, and its long legs extend down into the lower world. This makes the crane a powerful symbol of balance and harmony between these three worlds.
  • In some Native American cultures, the number three is also associated with creation, as many beliefs hold that the world was created in three stages. The crane, therefore, can also symbolize creation and the creative power that exists within the universe.
  • The number three is also believed to represent the past, present, and future. As such, the crane can be seen as a symbol of time and the cyclical nature of life. This is particularly true in cultures where cranes migrate seasonally and are viewed as a symbol of the changing of the seasons and the passage of time.

The crane’s powerful symbolism is why it is often depicted in Native American art, music, and dance. The dance of the crane, in particular, is a sacred act in many tribes, with the dancer embodying the grace and balance of the crane and its connection to the spiritual universe.

Closing Thoughts

Throughout Native American traditions, the crane holds great symbolic significance. Its representation of balance and harmony, creation, time, and the spiritual universe has been passed down for generations. Its significance is still felt today, with the crane remaining an important part of Native American culture and art.

Symbolism Meaning
Balance and Harmony The crane represents the balance and harmony between the three worlds of the Native American spiritual universe.
Creation The crane can also symbolize creation and the creative power that exists within the universe.
Time The number three is associated with the past, present, and future, making the crane a symbol of time and the cyclical nature of life.

Whether seen in art, dance, or other aspects of Native American culture, the crane’s symbolism serves as a powerful reminder of the deep spiritual beliefs that have been passed down for generations.

Crane Symbolism in Christianity

In Christianity, cranes symbolize different things depending on the context. For instance, in the Old Testament, cranes have been mentioned several times and become a symbol of vigilance and watchfulness. In the New Testament, the crane is used to symbolize the resurrection.

The Number 4

According to Christian symbolism, the number 4 is significant. It represents the total of the forces of the universe, which are the natural forces (earth, fire, water, and air), and four directions on the compass (north, south, east, and west). In the Bible, the number 4 signifies stability and is generally associated with the earth as a symbol of wholeness.

  • There are four gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
  • The four horsemen of the apocalypse represent conquest, war, famine, and death.
  • Four is also the number of virtues that Jesus Christ demonstrated during His ministry: Justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude.

The Resurrection

In Christian literature, the crane is used to represent the resurrection. This is because the crane is one of the birds that fly the highest in the sky. In Christianity, it has long been held that heaven represents the highest plane of existence. Since cranes fly so high they are a natural symbol for resurrection and ascension into heaven.

The crane’s long neck also represents the human desire to reach toward heaven. Its graceful movements are seen as a metaphor for the movements of the soul as it ascends during the resurrection.

The Table of Cranes

The symbolic significance of the crane in Christianity is reflected in the history of Medieval church art. A prime example is the Table of Cranes, which was commissioned by Bishop Bernward, of Hildesheim, Germany, in the 11th century.

Location Description
Top right The figure of a crane carrying a turtle
Bottom right A crab being carried by a crane with a raised foot
Top left A crane in the act of swallowing a frog
Bottom left A rat being subjugated by the crane’s raised foot

The Table of Cranes is said to represent the triumph of good over evil. The crane’s elevation and guidance of the animals affected by evil, toward the goodness symbolized by the crane, represent the Christian belief in the transformation of an individual from a life of sin to a life of righteousness.

Historical Significance of the Crane Symbolism

The crane is a majestic bird that has been recognized throughout history for its grace and beauty. It has been used as a symbol in many cultures and carries different meanings in each of them. The following are some of the historical significances of the crane symbolism:

  • In Japan, the crane symbolizes longevity and good fortune. It is believed that if one folds a thousand origami cranes, their wish will come true. This practice is called senbazuru and is often done to wish for recovery from illness.
  • In Chinese culture, the crane symbolizes immortality and peace. It is often depicted with other symbols such as the turtle, which represents longevity, and the pine tree, which represents resilience.
  • In Greek mythology, the crane is associated with the god Apollo and is believed to represent order and vigilance.

As you can see, the crane has played an important role in many cultures throughout history. Its symbolism varies, but it is often associated with positive qualities such as longevity, good fortune, and peace. It is no wonder that it continues to be revered and celebrated today.

Additionally, the number 5 holds significance in the crane symbolism. In Japanese culture, the five folded cranes are believed to represent the five basic elements of the universe – earth, water, fire, wind, and void. The number 5 is also significant in Chinese culture, where it is associated with the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. In both cultures, the number 5 signifies balance and harmony.

Country Symbolism of the Crane
Japan Longevity and good fortune
China Immortality and peace
Greece Order and vigilance

In conclusion, the crane symbolism has a rich historical significance that has been passed down through generations. Its beauty and grace have inspired many cultures to associate it with positive qualities such as longevity, immortality, and peace. By understanding its symbolism, we can appreciate the crane even more and recognize its importance in our world.

Crane Symbolism in Art and Literature

Throughout history, the crane has been a symbol of longevity, wisdom, and good fortune. It has been celebrated in art and literature across cultures for these attributes. Here, we will explore some of the most significant examples of crane symbolism in art and literature, including:

  • Crane Symbolism in Japanese Art
  • Crane Symbolism in Chinese Art
  • Crane Symbolism in Western Art
  • Crane Symbolism in Poetry
  • The Significance of the Number Six in Crane Symbolism

The Significance of the Number Six in Crane Symbolism

While the crane is a powerful symbol in its own right, it is often associated with other symbols to convey specific meanings. One such symbol is the number six.

In numerology, the number six is associated with harmony, balance, and sincerity. These qualities are reflected in the crane’s graceful and balanced movements, as well as its association with wisdom and longevity. Additionally, the crane’s wings are said to resemble the Chinese character for the number six, adding to its symbolic significance.

In Japanese culture, the number six is associated with good fortune and success. This is reflected in the tradition of folding 1,000 origami cranes, known as senbazuru, to grant a wish or bring good luck and longevity. The senbazuru is often given as a gift at weddings, births, and other auspicious occasions.

Number Six in Crane Symbolism Example
Numerology The crane’s association with the number six conveys harmony, balance, and sincerity.
Japanese Culture The tradition of folding 1,000 origami cranes to grant a wish or bring good luck and longevity.

In conclusion, the number six is a significant symbol in crane symbolism, conveying qualities of harmony, balance, sincerity, and good fortune. It is often associated with the crane in Japanese culture, where folding 1,000 origami cranes is believed to bring good luck and longevity. Understanding the significance of this number adds depth and meaning to the already powerful symbol of the crane.

Crane Symbolism in Feng Shui

Crane symbolism has been part of Feng Shui for centuries. The crane is an important symbol that represents longevity, immortality, and good fortune in Chinese culture. According to Chinese mythology, the crane is believed to live for 1000 years and is considered one of the most auspicious birds. The crane’s long lifespan, elegant flight, and serene demeanor have made it a powerful symbol in Feng Shui.

The Number 7

The number 7 is significant in crane symbolism in Feng Shui. The crane is believed to have seven feathers on its forehead that can detect the presence of Qi or energy. In Feng Shui, the number seven is considered a powerful number that brings good luck and fortune. The number seven is also associated with the seven chakras or energy centers in the human body. The crane’s seven feathers represent the seven chakras and the flow of energy in the environment.

  • The number seven is also associated with the Big Dipper or Seven Stars in Taoist cosmology. The Big Dipper is believed to be a source of positive energy and good fortune.
  • In Feng Shui, it is believed that placing seven crane figurines in the home or office can enhance positive energy and bring good fortune. The crane figurines can be made of wood, ceramic, or any other material.
  • The number seven is also significant in Chinese astrology. The Seven Killings star is one of the most feared stars in Chinese astrology. It is believed that placing a crane figurine in the area where the Seven Killings star appears can help to mitigate its negative effects.

The Crane Pair

In Feng Shui, the crane pair is a powerful symbol that represents love, harmony, and fidelity. The crane pair is believed to symbolize a happy and long-lasting relationship. The crane pair can be displayed in the bedroom or any other area of the home where the couple spends time together. The crane pair can be made of any material, such as wood, ceramic, or jade.

The Crane and The Turtle

The crane and the turtle are often depicted together in Feng Shui. The crane symbolizes longevity, while the turtle symbolizes stability and grounding. Together, the crane and the turtle represent a long and stable life. The crane and the turtle can be displayed in the living room or any other area of the home to enhance positive energy and bring good fortune.

Symbol Meaning
Crane Longevity, good fortune
Turtle Stability, grounding

By incorporating crane symbolism into your home or office, you can enhance positive energy and bring good fortune into your life. Whether you choose to display a crane figurine or a crane pair, the crane’s elegant and serene presence will bring a sense of peace and tranquility to your environment.

Mythical Interpretations of the Crane Symbolism: Number 8

The crane holds several meanings across different cultures. In Taoist mythology, cranes are believed to be sacred birds that could fly to heaven. In the East Asian culture, the crane shares the spotlight with the phoenix as a symbol of power and longevity. In numerology, the number 8 is closely associated with cranes and can also impact the crane symbolism.

The number 8 is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture as it sounds similar to the word for “wealth” or “prosperity” in Mandarin. Hence, 8 cranes can represent wealth, prosperity, and abundance. Similarly, the number 8 is also considered a symbol of infinity, perfectly fitting the crane’s depiction as a long-lived creature.

  • In Chinese mythology, the Eight Immortals are often portrayed traveling on the back of a crane, which grants them immortality and longevity.
  • In Japan, the Crane Dance (Tsuru no Mai) often includes eight cranes, symbolizing a prosperous and fulfilled life.
  • Octal (base-8) numeral system, used in computing, also closely associated with cranes and the number 8. It serves as a connection to a well-functioning system that generates results quickly and efficiently, much like the crane when it takes flight.

In summary, the crane’s association with the number 8 only enhances its existing symbolism of good fortune, longevity, and prosperity. The mystical interpretations of the crane’s symbolism provide us with insight into the rich culture, symbolism, and mythology of East Asia.

We can draw inspiration from the crane’s graceful flight and constant adaptation, reminding us to reach for new heights, embrace change, and remain steadfast in our pursuit of a prosperous and fulfilling life.

Remember, the symbolism of the crane and its associated numbers is steeped in deep cultural mythos. Understanding these myths enhances our appreciation of the powerful symbolism of the crane.

Crane Symbolism in Dream Interpretations

The crane is a majestic bird that appears in many cultures and religions. It symbolizes a range of positive qualities such as grace, longevity, wisdom, and strength. In dream interpretations, the crane holds a special meaning that can provide insight into the dreamer’s psyche. Here are some of the most common interpretations of cranes in dreams.

The Number 9

The number 9 is significant in crane dream symbolism. In numerology, 9 represents completion, spiritual awareness, and patience. When cranes appear in dreams in groups of nine, it is believed to indicate the completion of a spiritual journey or a significant life cycle. This can relate to personal growth or a significant event in the dreamer’s life that has reached its conclusion.

The number 9 can also represent the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. This can mean the start of a new project or relationship, or the ending of an existing one. In crane dreams, this transition can be facilitated by the bird’s graceful movements and strength, which signify the dreamer’s potential to navigate change with ease and grace.

Other Interpretations

  • In some cultures, cranes are believed to be messengers from the divine realm. Dreaming of a crane can indicate a message or guidance from a higher power.
  • The crane’s long neck symbolizes the ability to see things far away. Dreaming of a crane might signify the dreamer’s need to gain a broader perspective on a situation or problem.
  • Finally, a crane’s ability to fly and navigate through the air can symbolize freedom, independence, and the desire to explore new possibilities. Dreaming of a crane can therefore represent a need for personal growth and exploration.


The crane’s symbolism in dream interpretation can vary depending on cultural and personal associations with the bird. However, in general, cranes represent grace, strength, wisdom, and the ability to navigate change with ease. The number 9 is a significant symbol in crane dreams, indicating completion, transition, and the beginning of new chapters.

Symbol Meaning
Grace The crane’s movements are elegant and graceful, representing a need for grace and poise in the dreamer’s life.
Longevity The crane’s long lifespan can symbolize the dreamer’s desire for a long and prosperous life.
Wisdom The crane is often associated with wisdom and knowledge, symbolizing the dreamer’s desire for greater understanding and insight.
Strength The crane’s powerful wings and ability to navigate through the air represent the dreamer’s strength and resilience in the face of challenges.

In summary, crane symbolism in dreams can be a powerful tool for understanding one’s self and personal growth. By interpreting the bird’s various meanings, dreamers can gain insight into their own desires, fears, and hopes for the future.

Modern Interpretations of the Crane Symbolism

Throughout history, cultures around the world have attributed various meanings to the crane, ranging from patience and endurance to good fortune and longevity. Today, the crane continues to inspire awe and wonder, and its symbolism has evolved to reflect modern interpretations of these timeless qualities.

The Number 10

In numerology, the number 10 is associated with completion and new beginnings. The crane’s graceful, majestic movements suggest a sense of wholeness and fulfillment, and as such, it is often seen as a symbol of accomplishment and the start of a new cycle.

  • The crane is also associated with creativity and inspiration, as its long, flowing movements are reminiscent of an artist’s brushstrokes.
  • Mythologically, the crane is often linked to transformation and regeneration, with its ability to rise up from the ashes reflective of the cycle of birth and rebirth.
  • For those who are embarking on a new journey or project, the crane can provide a sense of guidance and encouragement, reminding us that every ending is a new beginning.

Whether we seek strength, inspiration, or guidance, the crane’s symbolism is a testament to the power of perseverance and the beauty of new beginnings.

Longevity and Prosperity

One of the most enduring symbols associated with the crane is longevity, as its grace and elegance have come to represent the qualities we strive for as we age gracefully. Today, the crane is often used in marketing and branding to promote products and services that promise health, wellness, and longevity.

In addition, the crane’s association with longevity has also made it a symbol of prosperity, as the bird’s long lifespan represents abundance and good fortune. For those seeking success and prosperity in business or personal life, the crane’s graceful presence can offer a sense of optimism and positive energy.

Country Symbolism
Japan The crane is a traditional symbol of luck, longevity, and happiness. The legend of the “Thousand Paper Cranes” states that whoever folds one thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by the gods.
China The crane represents wisdom, peace, and good fortune in Chinese culture. It is often depicted with the pine tree, which is a symbol of longevity, to create a sense of balance and harmony.
Korea The Korean crane is a national symbol of peace and prosperity. It is often depicted in traditional artwork and textiles, and is said to bring good luck and success to those who display its image.

From the ancient mythology of Japan to the modern marketing strategies of the West, the crane’s symbolism continues to evolve and inspire us with its timeless qualities of grace, elegance, and resilience.

It’s a Bird and Much More

And that’s what a crane symbolizes, from its grace and beauty to its strength and longevity. This bird is not only a pretty sight but also a harbinger of hope and prosperity. In various cultures and traditions, the crane has played a significant role as a symbol of good fortune, immortality, and peace. Whether you’re a bird fan, an art lover, or a curious mind, exploring the meaning of crane can be a delightful journey. Thank you for reading this article, and we hope to see you soon for more exciting discoveries.