The crane has long been a favoured auspicious symbol in Chinese art. The Chinese word for crane is he, which is a homophone for harmony, and thus cranes represent peace. Their long legs were described as resonating with the harmonies of nature and Heaven. Cranes are also known to live for many years and thus have become associated with long life, and indeed are often depicted as the familiars of the Star God of Longevity, Shoulao. As early as the 12th century, it was known that in 1112, the Song dynasty Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-25) painted a scene of cranes in flight above the palace having witnessed what was considered an auspicious event.
Compare with a crane of slightly different stance included in the Phoenix Art Museum exhibition Chinese Cloisonne, The Clague Collection, Phoenix, 1980, illustrated in the Catalogue, pl. 62.