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Zhang Xian shooting at a tiangou to protect his children clustered about him.

The tiangou (Chinese: 天狗; pinyin: tiāngǒu; Wade–Giles: t'ien1-kou3; literally: "Heavenly Dog") is a legendary creature from China. The tiangou resembles a black dog or meteor, which is thought to eat the sun or moon during an eclipse.[clarification needed : See talk page.]

Tales explain that you must beat dogs and drive them away in order to ward off the tiangou. The dog god would then spit out the sun or moon and flee back into the heavens.

Battle with Zhang Xian[edit]

Zhang Xian (Chinese: 張仙; pinyin: Zhāng Xiān) is the enemy of the tiangou. It is said that he protects his children from the dog god with his bow and arrows. He is often depicted aiming at the sky, waiting for the beast to appear.

He is the god of birth and the protector of male children. Many sought[when?] for him to give them male offspring and to protect their living children[clarification needed : Should this be "living sons"?].


The tengu of Japanese folklore was derived from the tiangou. The tengu is usually depicted as a bird, or man with a long nose and other bird-like characteristics, while the tiangou is a dog.

See also[edit]


  • de Visser, M. W. (1908). "The Tengu". Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan 34 (2): pp. 25-99. Z. P. Maruya & Co.