Vermilion Bird

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Vermilion Bird
Zhū Què sculpture on the eaves tile
Chinese name
Chinese 朱雀
Literal meaning Vermilion Peafowl
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Chu Tước
Chữ Hán
Thai name
Thai หงส์ไฟ
Korean name
Hangul 주작
Hanja 朱雀
Japanese name
Kanji 朱雀
Hiragana すざく or しゅじゃく

The Vermilion bird is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. According to Wu Xing, the Taoist five-elemental system, it represents the fire-element, the direction south, and the season summer correspondingly. Thus it is sometimes called the Vermilion bird of the South (南方朱雀, Nán Fāng Zhū Què). It is known as Zhū Què in Chinese, Suzaku in Japanese, Jujak in Korean and Chu Tước in Vietnamese. It is described as a red bird that resembles a pheasant with a five-colored plumage and is perpetually covered in flames. Represented by Jonangu Shrine in the southern part of Kyoto.

It is often mistaken for the Fenghuang due to similarities in appearance, but the two are different creatures.[1] The Fenghuang (similar to the phoenix in western mythologies) is a legendary ruler of birds who is associated with the Chinese Empress in the same way the dragon is associated with the Emperor, while the Vermilion Bird is a mythological spirit creature of the Chinese constellations.

Seven Mansions[edit]

As the other three Symbols, there are seven "mansions", or positions, of the moon within Vermilion Bird. The names and determinative stars are:[2][3]

Mansion no. Name (pinyin) Translation Determinative star
22 井 (Jǐng) Well μ Gem
23 鬼 (Guǐ) Ghost θ Cnc
24 柳 (Liǔ) Willow δ Hya
25 星 (Xīng) Star α Hya
26 張 (Zhāng) Extended Net υ¹ Hya
27 翼 (Yì) Wings α Crt
28 軫 (Zhěn) Chariot γ Crv

Nature of the symbol[edit]

The Vermilion Bird on the gates of a Han Dynasty mausoleum complex

The Vermilion bird is an elegant and noble bird in both appearance and behavior, it is very selective in what it eats and where it perches, with its feathers in many different hues of vermilion.


Four Symbols Mansion (Chinese name) Romanization Translation Asterisms (Chinese name) Romanization Translation Western star name Chinese star name Romanization Translation
Vermilion Bird of the South


Guǐ Ghost 外廚 Wàichú Outer Kitchen
2 Hya 外廚一 Wàichúyī 1st star
3 Hya / HD 74395 外廚二 Wàichúèr 2nd star
14 Hya 外廚三 Wàichúsān 3rd star
Liǔ Willow Liǔ Willow[4]
δ Hya
柳宿一 Liǔsùyī 1st star
柳宿距星 Liǔsujùxīng Separated star
柳宿西头第三星 Liǔsuxītoudìsānxīng 3rd star in the upper west
玉井西北星 Yùjǐngxīběixīng Star in northwest of Jade Well constellation
The thong
鹑火星 Chúnhuǒxīng The phoenix
σ Hya 柳宿二 Liǔsùèr 2nd star
η Hya 柳宿三 Liǔsùsān 3rd star
ρ Hya 柳宿四 Liǔsùsì 4th star
ε Hya 柳宿五 Liǔsùwǔ 5th star
ζ Hya 柳宿六 Liǔsùliù 6th star
ω Hya 柳宿七 Liǔsùqī 7th star
θ Hya 柳宿八 Liǔsùbā 8th star
Xīng Star Xīng Star[5]
α Hya
星宿一 Xīngsùyī 1st star
星宿距星 Xīngsùjùxīng Separated star
星宿中央大星 Xīngsuzhōngyāngdàxīng Big star in the center
τ1 Hya 星宿二 Xīngsùèr 2nd star
τ2 Hya 星宿三 Xīngsùsān 3rd star
ι Hya 星宿四 Xīngsùsì 4th star
26 Hya 星宿五 Xīngsùwǔ 5th star
27 Hya 星宿六 Xīngsùliù 6th star
HD 82477 & HD 82428 星宿七 Xīngsùqī 7th star
Zhāng Extended Net Zhāng Extended Net[6]
υ1 Hya 張宿一 Zhāngsùyī 1st star
λ Hya 張宿二 Zhāngsùèr 2nd star
μ Hya 張宿三 Zhāngsùsān 3rd star
HD 87344 張宿四 Zhāngsùsì 4th star
κ Hya 張宿五 Zhāngsùwǔ 5th star
φ Hya 張宿六 Zhāngsùliù 6th star
Wings Wings[7][8]
ν Hya 翼宿五 Yìsùwǔ 5th star
HD 100307 翼宿十八 Yìsùshíbā 18th star
HD 96819 翼宿十九 Yìsùshíjiǔ 19th star
χ1 Hya 翼宿二十 Yìsùèrshí 20th star
HD 102620 翼宿二十一 Yìsùèrshíyī 21st star
HD 103462 翼宿二十二 Yìsùèrshíèr 22nd star
Zhěn Chariot 青丘 Qīngqiū Green Hill[9]
β Hya
青丘一 Qīngqiūyī 1st star
土公西星 Tǔgōngxīxīng Star in the west of Official for Earthworks and Buildings constellation
HD 103596 青丘二 Qīngqiūèr 2nd star
17 Crt[10] 青丘三 Qīngqiūsān 3rd star
HD 100393 青丘四 Qīngqiūsì 4th star
ξ Hya 青丘五 Qīngqiūwu 5th star
ο Hya 青丘七 Qīngqiūqī 7th star
軍門 Jūnmén Military Gate HD 104309 軍門一 Jūnményī 1st star

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, the Vermilion Bird is depicted as a beautiful, phoenix-like, winged woman who wields the power of flames, known as "Incarnation of Suzaku, Leilan".
  • In the Beyblade series, the Vermilion Bird is called as Dranzer.
  • In the Digimon series, Zhuqiaomon is designed after it.
  • in the Fushigi Yugi series, Miaka Yuki journey in to Universe of the Four Gods she became Priestess of Suzaku
  • In the video game Final Fantasy Type-0 the Vermilion Bird is the name of one of the four Crystals of Orience, representing the Dominion of Rubrum.
  • In the film Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris, the monster Iris is at one point suggested to be the Vermilion Bird.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Suzaku is portrayed in a humanoid form as leader of the Underworld group The Four Beasts.
  • In the Sunrise anime series Code Geass, a character is named Kururugi Suzaku.
  • In the Playstation 4 exclusive game titles Nioh, there is a spirit guardian phoenix named a Suzaku that will resurrect players upon death by activating their living weapon. Once the living weapon runs out the player is brought back with 1 hit point.
  • In Tokyo Majin, the Vermilion Bird has a vessel who is a character known as Marie Claire.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]