Four Perils

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Si Xiong
Chinese name
Literal meaningFour Perils
Japanese name
Si Zui
Chinese name
Literal meaningFour Evildoers
Four Criminals
Japanese name

The Four Perils (Chinese: 四凶; pinyin: Sì Xiōng) are four malevolent beings that existed in Chinese mythology and the antagonistic counterparts of the Four Benevolent Animals.

Book of Documents[edit]

In the Book of Documents, they are defined as the "Four Criminals" (四罪; Sì Zuì):[1][2]

Zuo Zhuan, Shanhaijing, and Shenyijing[edit]

In Zuo Zhuan,[8][9] Shanhaijing, and Shenyijing, the Four Perils (Hanzi: 四凶; pinyin: Sì Xiōng) are defined as:

  • the Hundun (渾敦, 渾沌; Hùndùn; 'chaotic torrent'[b]), a yellow winged creature of chaos with six legs and no face;[10][11]
  • the Qiongqi (窮奇; Qióngqí; 'distressingly strange, thoroughly odd'), a monstrous creature that eats people,[12][13] considered the same in Japan as Kamaitachi;
  • the Taowu (檮杌; Táowù; 'block stump'), a reckless, stubborn creature;[14]
  • the Taotie (饕餮; Tāotiè; 'greedy glutton'), a gluttonous beast.[15]


Zhang Shoujie's Correct Meanings of the Record of the Grand Historian (史記正義; Shǐjì Zhèngyì) identifies Huandou (讙兠) with Hundun (渾沌), Gonggong (共工) with Qiongqi (窮竒), Gun (鯀) with Taowu (檮杌), and the Sanmiao "Three Miao" (三苗) with Taotie (饕餮).[16]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The four perils are featured in the popular Japanese anime A Certain Scientific Accelerator.
  • In Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, the Four Perils are the demon group crossed over the mainland during Spring and Autumn period. The members are Konton, Tōtetsu, Kyūki, and Tōtetsu which led by the Beast King of the Eastern Lands Kirinmaru.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to Schuessler (2009), 鯀 (standard Chinese gǔn < Old Chinese *kwə̂nʔ) is the same word as 鮌 (gǔn < OC *kwə̂nʔ) and 鯤 (kūn < OC *kûn), the latter being a mythical giant fish mentioned in Zhuangzi.[5][6]
  2. ^ a.k.a. 帝江; Dìjiāng; 'Emperor River, Thearch River', 帝鴻; Dìhóng; 'Emperor Swan, Thearch Swan'


  1. ^ Book of Documents "Canon of Shun" quote: “流共工于幽洲,放驩兜于崇山,竄三苗于三危,殛于羽山,四罪而天下咸服。”
  2. ^ Shiji "Annals of the Five Emperors" "請流共工於幽陵,以變北狄;放讙兜於崇山,以變南蠻;遷三苗於三危,以變西戎;殛於羽山,以變東夷:四罪而天下咸服。"
  3. ^ Shanhaijing "Classic of the Regions Outsides the Seas: South" & "Classic of the Great Wildernesses: South""
  4. ^ Persons: Huandou
  5. ^ Schuessler, Axel. (2009) Minimal Old Chinese and Later Han Chinese. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i. p. 317, 333-4
  6. ^ Zhuangzi, "Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease" quote: "北冥有魚,其名為鯤。鯤之大,不知其幾千里也。" translation: "In the Northern Ocean there is a fish, the name of which is Kun - I do not know how many li in size."
  7. ^ Kangxi Dictionary, "魚 radical 7" quote: "鯀:《唐韻》《集韻》《正韻》𠀤古本切,音袞。《說文》魚也。《玉篇》大魚也。又《書·堯典》於,鯀哉。《傳》鯀,崇伯之名。《釋文》禹父也。《廣韻》亦作鮌。"
  8. ^ Shiji "Annals of the Five Emperors" quote: "昔帝鴻氏有不才子,掩義隱賊,好行凶慝,天下謂之渾沌。少暤氏有不才子,毀信惡忠,崇飾惡言,天下謂之窮奇。顓頊氏有不才子,不可教訓,不知話言,天下謂之梼杌。此三族世憂之。至于堯,堯未能去。縉云氏有不才子,貪于飲食,冒于貨賄,天下謂之饕餮。天下惡之,比之三凶。舜賓於四門,乃流四凶族,遷于四裔,以御螭魅,於是四門辟,言毋凶人也。"
  9. ^ Zuo zhuan "Duke Wen" quote: "舜臣堯,賓于四門,流四凶族,渾敦,窮奇,檮杌,饕餮, 投諸四裔,以禦魑魅,". translation: "When Shun became Yao's minister, he received the nobles from the four quarters of the empire, and banished these four wicked ones, Chaos (Hundun 渾敦), Monster (Qiongqi 窮奇), Block (Taowu 檮杌), and Glutton (Taotie 饕餮), casting them out into the four distant regions, to meet the spite of the sprites and evil things (Chimei 魑魅)."
  10. ^ Shanhaijing "Classic of the West Mountains" quote: "有神焉,其狀如黃囊,赤如丹火,六足四翼,渾敦無面目,是識歌舞,實惟帝江也。"
  11. ^ Shenyijing "Classic of the West Wilderness: Ten Examples" quote: "崑崙西有獸焉,其狀如犬,長毛四足,似羆而無爪,有目而不見,行不開。有兩耳而不聞,有人知往。有腹無五臟,有腸直而不旋,食物徑過。人有德行而往牴觸之。有凶德則往依憑之。天使其然,名為渾沌。《春秋》云:渾沌,帝鴻氏不才子也。空居無為,常咋其尾,回轉仰天而笑。"
  12. ^ Shanhaijing "Classic of the West Mountains" quote: "其上有獸焉,其狀如牛,蝟毛,名曰窮奇,音如獋狗,是食人。"
  13. ^ Shenyijing "Classic of the Northwest WIlderness: Six Examples" quote: "西北有獸焉,狀似虎,有翼能飛,便剿食人。知人言語,聞人鬥,輒食直者;聞人忠信,輒食其鼻;聞人惡逆不善,輒殺獸往饋之。名曰窮奇,亦食諸禽獸也。"
  14. ^ Shenyijing, "Classic of the West Wilderness: Ten Examples" quote: "西方荒中有獸焉,其狀如虎而犬毛,長二尺,人面虎足,豬口牙,尾長一丈八尺,攪亂荒中,名檮杌,一名傲狠,一名難訓。《春秋》雲顓頊氏有不才子名檮杌是也。"
  15. ^ Shenyijing, "Classic of the Southwest Wilderness: Three Examples" quote: "西方荒中有獸焉,其狀如虎而犬毛,長二尺,人面虎足,豬口牙,尾長一丈八尺,攪亂荒中,名檮杌,一名傲狠,一名難訓。《春秋》雲顓頊氏有不才子名檮杌是也。"
  16. ^ Shiji Zhengyi "Volume 1" Siku Quanshu version, Zhejiang university's copy p. 133 pf 156