White Tiger (China)

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White Tiger
Bái Hǔ sculpture on the eaves tile
Chinese name
Chinese 白虎
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Bạch Hổ
Chữ Hán
Korean name
Hangul 백호
Hanja 白虎
Japanese name
Kanji 白虎
Hiragana びゃっこ

The White Tiger is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West (西方白虎, Xī Fāng Bái Hǔ), and is known as Bái Hǔ in Chinese, Byakko in Japanese, Baekho in Korean and Bạch Hổ in Vietnamese. It represents the west and the autumn season.

Seven mansions of White Tiger[edit]

As the other three symbols, there are seven astrological mansions, or positions, of the moon within White Tiger. The names and determinative stars are:[1][2]

Mansion no. Name (pinyin) Translation Determinative star
15 奎 (Kuí) Legs Eta Andromedae
16 婁 (Lóu) Bond Beta Arietis
17 胃 (Wèi) Stomach 35 Arietis
18 昴 (Mǎo) Hairy Head Alcyone
19 畢 (Bì) Net Ain
20 觜 (Zī) Turtle Beak Meissa
21 參 (Shēn) Three Stars Alnitak


In Chinese culture, the tiger is the king of the beasts and has been presented with a (wáng, eng. king) on his forehead for centuries. According to legend, the tiger's tail would turn white when it reached the age of 500 years. In this way, the white tiger became a kind of mythological creature. It was said that the white tiger would only appear when the emperor ruled with absolute virtue, or if there was peace throughout the world. Because the color white of the Wu Xing theory also represents the west, the white tiger became a mythological guardian of the west.[citation needed]

In fiction[edit]

  • In the novel Tales of the Tang dynasty (Chinese: 隋唐演義), the reincarnation of the White Tiger's star is said to be General Luo Cheng (羅成 / 罗成), who served the Wagang Army (瓦岗军) and later Li Shimin, and the reincarnation of the Azure Dragon's star is said to be the rebellious General Dan Xiongxin (單雄信 / 单雄信, his surname 單 can be pronounced as Dān, Chán, or Shàn), who served Wang Shichong. They two are sworn brothers of Qin Shubao and Cheng Yaojin. Their souls after death are said to possess the body of the new heroes of the Tang and Goguryeo dynasties, Xue Rengui (薛仁貴 / 薛仁贵) and Yeon Gaesomun (渊盖苏文)[citation needed]
Hattara Sonja with the White Tiger.
  • In Gosei Sentai Dairanger, Kibaranger (who was later repurposed as the White Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) has a Byakko motif. His costume has a white tiger theme, his sword is called Byakkoshinken (白虎真剣, a combination of the Japanese word for the White Tiger and shinken), and his mecha (Won Tiger) is a white tiger.
  • In Digimon, Baihumon is based on the white tiger.
  • In Puzzle & Dragons, the White Tiger is incarnated as a little girl named Haku. She is part of the Chinese Pantheon, which features the other Four Symbols; Vermillion Bird, Black Turtle, and Azure Dragon
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Byakko is portrayed as a member of the Underworld group, The Four Beasts.
  • In Kylie Chan's Xuan Wu series, he is depicted as a womanising tiger who is otherwise loving and loyal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Chinese Sky". International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 2011-06-25. 
  2. ^ Sun, Xiaochun (1997). Helaine Selin, ed. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 517. ISBN 0-7923-4066-3. Retrieved 2011-06-25.