The magpie is the bird of happiness, who carries good news. It is also the harbinger of spring. As Fang Jing Pei notes in Symbols and Rebuses in Chinese Art, Berkeley/Toronto, 2004, pp. 120-1, the chatter of a magpie is an omen of success to the scholar about to take his Civil Service Examination, and "a dream of the magpie before one's examination is a prediction of achievement". Because of a legend regarding the founding of the Manchus the magpie had great significance to the Manchus and therefore was a frequent subject in paintings and other decorative arts in the late Qing dynasty.