The P'eng Niao is a fabulous bird of enormous size, capable of flying tremendous distances. It has wings like the clouds of heaven, and at every swoop it speeds upwards for 3000 li. It came into being by metamorphosis from the Kun, a leviathan of the ocean, and is mentioned by the philosopher Chuang Tzu. It is often represented with the head of a Chinese dragon.
The flight of this mythical bird is made symbolical of rapid advancement in study, and general success in life.
"In the North, where there are neither trees nor grass, there is a dark sea, called the Pool of Heaven, in which there lives a fish. This fish is several thousand li in breadth, but no one knows how long it. Its name is Kw'en. There is also a bird named P'eng, whose back is as broad as the T'ai Shan (Great Mountain). As it descends from heaven its drooping wings resemble the clouds; as it mounts on high the wind rushes violently upward in spiral gusts like the horns of a goat. When it reaches the height of ninety thousand li, there are no more clouds. It bears teh azure sky upon its broad shoulder-blades as it flies south, and seeks the Southern Sea."
Balfour - "The Divine Classic of Nan-Nua"