‘Fortune beasts’: 5 divine Chinese creatures – dragon, phoenix, qilin, pixiu and turtle that bring power, prosperity and good fortune for life

‘Fortune beasts’: 5 divine Chinese creatures – dragon, phoenix, qilin, pixiu and turtle that bring power, prosperity and good fortune for life

The Year of the Dragon began on February 10.

The fire-breathing mythological beast, which is the fifth sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle, is considered a symbol of power, fortune, and prosperity in Chinese culture.

It is also one of the five auspicious creatures in ancient China folklore along with the phoenix, the turtle, pixiu, and qilin.

Here, the Post explains their special powers, and how to best utilise their power in daily life to bring good fortune.

Dragon

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The dragon is synonymous with Chinese culture and has a history stretching back thousands of years. Photo: Shutterstock

One of the earliest creatures of ancient Chinese legend, the dragon has thousands of years of history behind it.

It was believed to live in the water or the clouds, reveal itself during thunder and lightning, and display the power to control the forces of nature.

The earliest links of dragons to rain makes them a totem of ancient people, whose lives depended on agriculture.

It is said that the dragon’s early image, which features a combination of deer horns, a horse’s head, the eyes of a hare, a snake’s body, and carp’s scales, derived from various images of dragon totems of different ancient tribes.

It later became the symbol of imperial power and was worn exclusively on the robes of emperors.

An idiom still largely in use today, wang zi cheng long in Mandarin, means “hope one’s child will become a dragon”, and is used to describe parents who have lofty ambitions for their children.

Phoenix

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The phoenix is often seen with the dragon and in Chinese tradition is a symbol of the most powerful woman in the imperial harem. Photo: Shutterstock

This is a divine bird from ancient Chinese mythology that stands for love and immortality.

It was often paired with a dragon, symbolising the empress, the emperor’s only legitimate wife and most powerful woman in the imperial harem.

Pixiu

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The pixiu signifies the collection of wealth and its statue is often seen outside businesses in China. Photo: Shutterstock

In Chinese mythologies, pixiu is a fierce beast with a giant mouth that consumes nothing but treasures.

Legend has it that the pixiu once irritated the Jade Emperor by eating too much at his birthday feast and relieving itself in his palace.

The emperor hit it on the bottom as a punishment, but accidentally removed its anus.

What was originally an unfortunate incident for the naughty pixiu was later considered as a blessing, as it suggested the creature could attract huge wealth but lose none.

It is common to see statues of the mythical creature in front of shops and pixiu charms on people’s wrists, as a symbol thought to bring good fortune.

Qilin

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Qilin rarely reveals itself and for this reason is considered an exceptionally auspicious omen. Photo: Getty Images

Also known as the Chinese unicorn, this is a single-horned colourful chimerical creature with the body of a deer, an ox’s tail and the hoofs of a horse.

The creature is said to be tender and never hurt anything living.

It rarely reveals itself and for this reason is considered an exceptionally auspicious omen.

Chinese folklore believes qilin has the power to bring them children, and some superstitious couples hang illustrations of it with the baby in their bedrooms in the hope that it would help them get pregnant with healthy children.

Turtle

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The only non-mythical creature to feature is the turtle which can be kept in real, live form or as a statue and in jewellery. Photo: Shutterstock

Ancient Chinese people believed that turtle shells harbour the secret of the universe. Renowned for their longevity, turtles were also seen as a blessing to elderly people.

In modern days, people keep turtles at home, and let them wander freely in the domestic space to bring good feng shui to the house.

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