Because the word for `cloud’, yún (雲), and the word for `good luck’, yùn (運), sound similar, this symbol is often referred to as the 'auspicious cloud’, xiáng yún (祥雲). A typical auspicious cloud is five colored, and represents five layers of fortune and happiness. The cloud has become a popular motif in architecture, textile designs, and everyday objects. When it is repeated in a pattern, it symbolizes never-ending fortune. The stylized rendering of the cloud motif is similar in form to the fungus of immortality, Ling Zhi (靈芝), and the Ru Yi (如意) scepter. Numerous gods and immortals used the cloud as a vehicle on which they traveled.


Vivien Sung, Five-Fold Happiness: Chinese Concepts of Luck, Prosperity, Longevity, Happiness and Wealth, pp. 58-59, Chronicle Books, 2002