White Tiger (China)

White Tiger
Bái Hǔ sculpture on the eaves tile
Chinese name
Chinese 白虎
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Bạch Hổ
Chữ Hán
Korean name
Hangul 백호
Hanja 白虎
Japanese name
Kanji 白虎
Hiragana びゃっこ

The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West (西方白虎, Xī Fāng Bái Hǔ), and is known as Bái Hǔ in Chinese, Byakko in Japanese, Baekho in Korean and Bạch Hổ in Vietnamese. It represents the west and the autumn season.

Seven mansions of White Tiger

As the other three symbols, there are seven astrological mansions, or positions, of the moon within White Tiger. The names and determinative stars are:[1][2]

Mansion no.Name (pinyin)TranslationDeterminative star
15奎 (Kuí)LegsEta Andromedae
16婁 (Lóu)BondBeta Arietis
17胃 (Wèi)Stomach35 Arietis
18昴 (Mǎo)Hairy HeadAlcyone
19畢 (Bì)NetAin
20觜 (Zī)Turtle BeakMeissa
21參 (Shēn)Three StarsAlnitak

Origin

In Chinese culture, the tiger is the king of the beasts and has been presented with a (wáng, eng. king) on his forehead for centuries. According to legend, the tiger's tail would turn white when it reached the age of 500 years. In this way, the white tiger became a kind of mythological creature. It was said that the white tiger would only appear when the emperor ruled with absolute virtue, or if there was peace throughout the world. Because the color white of the Wu Xing theory also represents the west, the white tiger became a mythological guardian of the west.

In fiction

  • In the novel Tales of the Tang dynasty (Chinese: 隋唐演義), the reincarnation of the White Tiger's star is said to be General Luo Cheng (羅成 / 罗成), who served the Wagang Army (瓦岗军) and later Li Shimin, and the reincarnation of the Azure Dragon's star is said to be the rebellious General Shan Xiongxin (單雄信 / 单雄信), who served Wang Shichong. They two are sworn brothers of Qin Shubao and Cheng Yaojin. Their souls after death are said to possess the body of the new heroes of the Tang and Goguryeo dynasties, Xue Rengui (薛仁貴 / 薛仁贵) and Yeon Gaesomun (渊盖苏文)
  • In Gosei Sentai Dairanger, Kibaranger (who was later repurposed as the White Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) has a Byakko motif. His costume has a white tiger theme, his sword is called Byakkoshinken (白虎真剣, a combination of the Japanese word for the White Tiger and shinken), and his mecha (Won Tiger) is a white tiger.
  • In B-Daman Fireblast,Bakuga Shira owns Kreis Raydra,a B-daman with the White Tiger of West B-Animal.
  • In Digimon, Baihumon is based on the white tiger.
  • In Puzzle & Dragons, the White Tiger is incarnated as a little girl named Haku. She is part of the Chinese Pantheon, which features the other Four Symbols; Vermillion Bird, Black Turtle, and Azure Dragon.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Byakko is portrayed as a member of the Underworld group, The Four Beasts.
  • In Kylie Chan's Xuan Wu series, he is depicted as a womanising tiger who is otherwise loving and loyal.
  • In the Fushigi Yuugi series, the story Fushigi Yugi Byakko Senki is dedicated to Suzuno Osugi's quest to become the Priestess of Byakko.
  • In Overwatch’s Chinese New Year 2018 event (Year of the Dog), Genji has a skin inspired by the White Tiger.

See also

References

  1. "The Chinese Sky". International Dunhuang Project. Archived from the original on 2015-11-04. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
  2. Sun, Xiaochun (1997). Helaine Selin, ed. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 517. ISBN 0-7923-4066-3. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
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