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Top 17 Chinese Cole and Mythical Creatures

China has a profound culture of mythology, which includes many fantastic mythological creatures. So What kind iof images do you have in mind when it comes to Chinese mythical creatures? Unique in appearance, character and symbolic significance, the mythical creatures of Chinese folklore were first recorded in books such as Shan Hai Jing and Er Ya. They were thought to possess magical powers and were associated with prosperity, disaster or, in some cases, the birth of sages.Here is a list of some popular mythical creatures in Chinese mythology.

  1. Chinese Dragon (龙)

In China, dragons are usually portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine four-legged creatures. In reality, the Chinese dragon is a composite of nine different animals. Dragons in Chinese society were benevolent, good, and wise. Chinese dragons traditionally stand for mighty and auspicious powers, particularly control over water and rainfall. The dragon is also a symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power; hence the emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power.


  1. Pixiu (貔貅)

Usually depicted as a sort of winged lion with the wings folded to the sides of the body, the pixiu is said to be one of the nine children of the Dragon. Pixiu can swallow everything without letting anything out, so it is a symbol of bringing wealth from all directions. It can also drive evils away and bring in good luck. In ancient China it is also believed to be a kind of “Fierce Beast” and used as a term for brave troops.

  1. Baize (白泽)

In Chinese myth Baize is a kind of snow white colour creature living in Kunlun Mountains and is able to speak human language. It can comprehend the nature of all living things. This mythical creature is rarely spotted unless the nation is governed by a wise king.

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  1. Kui (夔)

Kui is a one-legged ox beast in Chinese mythology. It was born in the Liubo Mountain on East China Sea and looks like a cow with grey body. When the storm is yet to come, its body will shine like sunlight and its roar like thunder.


  1. Phoenix (凤凰)

Phoenix, is one of the four famous Chinese mythical creatures. It symbolizes sun, warmth, summer and harvest. It was characterized above all by the five traditional virtues of Chinese philosophy: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity. It is said to be born of fire and is considered the mightiest of the birds. A pair of male and female phoenix together is the symbol of everlasting love. It is also the emblem of the Empress of China.


  1. Kylin (麒麟)

A kylin is sort of a cross between a deer and a canine, but also had horns and scales. It is believed to emerge when a wise sage or an illustrious king arrives or passes away and is was believed to be extremely powerful and an omen of good luck. It can breathe fire to punish the wicked.


  1. Xiezhi (獬豸)- the Animal of Truth

Known as the ‘animal of truth’ and ‘pointer of evil’, Xiezhi, or Renfa Shou is described as somewhat like a unicorn and a dragon which has high intelligence and can judge between right and wrong and wipe out the wicked by biting or goring them. Xiezhi therefore became the symbol of impartiality and justice, and the hat worn by judges became known as the “Xiezhi hat”.


  1. Hou (吼)

Hou looks like a lion with 2 long ears and can roars very loudly. It is said to be the son of Dragon King. Sitting high on a carved column, this creature transmits the voice from the heaven and reflects the messages from the people.

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  1. Bifang (毕方)

Bifang is a mythical bird. It looks like a crane which owns red marking, white beak, and has only one foot. This creature does not eat grains but flames. Its appearance is a signal of big fire.


  1. Taotie (饕餮)- A Savage Glutton

Taotie was the fifth son of the dragon with a goat’s body, a human face, tiger’s teeth, human hands and the voice of a baby. The taotie is described as an extremely greedy beast with an outsized head. It is so ravenous that it ultimately swallowed the rest of its own body, leaving behind only a head. The very name of taotie has become a synonym in Chinese for a glutton.

  1. Luduan — Guardian of Enlightened Rulers (甪端)

Luduan was a unicorn that looked like Gilin, but had the body of a lion and the paws of a bear. It could travel 9,000 km a day, and mastered different languages. During the Ming and Qing eras, incense burners, seals and statues by doorways were usually shaped as Luduan because of its auspicious associations.

  1. Suanni — the patient mount of Buddha(狻猊)

An offspring of the dragon, Suanni was a fearless lion. Because Suanni loved incense and sitting down, Buddha enrolled this patient creature as his mount. Its image is most frequently seen on incense burners.


  1. Dragon fish — a big fish that can swallow anything

Dragon fish, also known as makara, were considered guardians of gateways and thresholds, protecting throne rooms as well as entryways to temples. With the body of a fish and a head which variously combines the features of a crocodile, whale and elephant. Buddhist scriptures describe it as “a big fish in the sea that can swallow everything”.

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  1. Azure Dragon (Qinglong)

According to the theory of Five Elements, the Azure Dragon is a holy beast representing the east and corresponds to the season of spring. Among the many dynasties China has been through, some rulers have taken the Azure Dragon as their reign title.


  1. Vermillion Bird (Zhuque)

Vermillion Bird, also called “Zhuniao”, is the god of south and corresponds to the season of summer. In Chinese legend, Zhuque is said to have chicken’s head, swallow’s chin, snake’s neck, fish’s tail, and five-color feather. “Zhu” refers to the vermillion color, like the fire, so “Zhuque” also refers to the phoenix. It is said to have the ability to reborn from the fire, so it is also named fire phoenix.


  1. White Tiger (Baihu)

The White Tiger is a holy beast representing the west, and the season it stands for is autumn. It is also a symbol of force and army.


  1. Black Tortoise (Xuanwu)

At the very beginning Xuanwu referred to the tortoise giving divination: the tortoise has black back, and is said to have the ability to enter the nether world to inquire forthcoming things. Later on, it is usually depicted as both a tortoise and a snake, specifically with the snake coiling around the tortoise. As the tortoise lives in water, it becomes the water god; and the tortoise enjoys a long life, so Xuanwu becomes the symbol of longevity.


So, are these mythical creatures peculiar and ferocious? Do you want to learn more about it?

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