The crane (yipin niao) symbolizes longevity and the first civil rank, while the waves, or tide (chao) is a pun for "court" (chao). The image of the sun reinforces the notion of promotion. The combination expresses a wish to excel to the first rank and preside at the court.
The wise and benevolent qilin was thought to appear only during the rule of enlightened emperors. The mythical creature was also a symbol of high military rank since the Tang dynasty, and is the traditional bringer of infants.