Four Symbols (Chinese constellation)
The Four Symbols are four mythological
Chinese mythology
Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written tradition. These include creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state...

 creatures in the Chinese constellations. They are:
  • Azure Dragon of the East (青龍)
  • Vermilion Bird of the South (朱雀)
  • White Tiger of the West (白虎)
  • Black Tortoise of the North (玄武)

Each one of them represents a direction and a season of the year, and each has its own individual characteristics and origins. They have been portrayed in many historical Chinese and Korean myths and fiction, and also appear in many modern Japanese comic books
Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

 and animation
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....


These Four Symbols were given human names after Daoism became popular. Azure Dragon has the name Meng Zhang (孟章); Vermilion Bird is Ling Guang (陵光); White Tiger is Jian Bing (監兵); Black Tortoise is Zhi Ming (執明).

The origin of those 4 symbols are from China. In the 1987, a tomb was found at Xishuipo (西水坡) in Puyang, Henan Province. There were some clam shells and bones forming the images of the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger and the Northern Dipper. It is believed that the tomb belongs to the Neolithic Age, about 6,000 years ago.

Correspondence with the Five Elements

Each of these mythological creatures has also been synthesized into the 5 element system:
  • Azure Dragon of the East: Wood
  • Vermilion Bird of the South: Fire
  • White Tiger of the West: Metal
  • Black Tortoise of the North: Water

Additionally, there is a fifth legendary beast, Huáng-lóng (黃龍), or the Yellow Dragon of the Center. The cardinal direction
Cardinal direction
The four cardinal directions or cardinal points are the directions of north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials: N, E, S, W. East and west are at right angles to north and south, with east being in the direction of rotation and west being directly opposite. Intermediate...

 associated with this animal is "center," and its element is Earth.

Correspondence with the Four Seasons

The four legendary beasts (excluding Huáng-lóng; see above) represent a season each. The seasons they represent are as follows:
  • Azure Dragon of the East: Spring
  • Vermilion Bird of the South: Summer
  • White Tiger of the West: Autumn
  • Black Tortoise of the North: Winter

See also

  • Four benevolent animals
    Four benevolent animals
    In Chinese mythology, Joseph Campbell identifies four benevolent animals Si Ling 四靈 that took abodes in the gardens of the palace of the Chinese Empire during the legendary period of the Yellow Emperor.# The qilin, lord of furred quadrupeds....

  • Chinese constellations
  • Chinese astrology
    Chinese astrology
    Chinese astrology is based on the traditional astronomy and calendars. The development of Chinese astrology is tied to that of astronomy, which came to flourish during the Han Dynasty ....

  • Four Saint Beasts (Vietnam)
    Four Saint Beasts (Vietnam)
    The Four Symbols or Four Saint Beasts are the four beasts protecting the four directions of Vietnam. They include: Long , Lân , Quy and Phụng...

  • Purple Forbidden enclosure
    Purple Forbidden enclosure
    The Purple Forbidden enclosure is one of the San Yuan or Three enclosures. Stars and constellations of this group lie near the north celestial pole and visible all year from temperate latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere.-Asterisms:The asterisms are :...

External links

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