White Tiger (China)

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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 Bai Hu 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) Translation Determinative star
15 奎 (Kuí) Legs Eta Andromedae
16 婁 (Lóu) Bond Beta Arietis
17 胃 (Wèi) Stomach 35 Arietis
18 昴 (Mǎo) Hairy Head Alcyone
19 畢 (Bì) Net Zeta Tauri
20 觜 (Zī) Turtle Beak Meissa
21 參 (Shēn) Three Stars Alnitak


In Chinese culture, the tiger is the king of the beasts and has been presented with a 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.[citation needed]

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 Dan Xiongxin (單雄信 / 单雄信, his surname 單 can be pronounced as Dān, Chán, or Shàn), 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)[citation needed]

Hattara Sonja with the White Tiger.

See also


  1. "The Chinese Sky". International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 2011-06-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>