White Tiger (mythology)

The White Tiger (Chinese: 白虎 Báihǔ) is one of the Four Symbols of the Chinese constellations. It is sometimes called the White Tiger of the West (Chinese: 西方白虎; pinyin: Xīfāng Báihǔ), and is known as Baihu in Chinese, Byakko in Japanese, and Baekho in Korean. It represents the west in terms of direction and the autumn season.

White Tiger
Bái Hǔ sculpture on the eaves tile
Chinese name
Korean name
Japanese name

Seven Mansions of the White TigerEdit

As with the other three Symbols, there are seven astrological "Mansions" (positions of the Moon) within the White Tiger. The names and determinative stars are:[1][2]

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


In Chinese culture, the tiger is the king of the beasts and has been presented with a (pinyin: wáng; lit.: '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]

The White Tiger as interpreted by contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, from his 2011 series Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads (shown here on exhibit in Prague, 2016)

In fictionEdit

Hattara Sonja with the White Tiger.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Chinese Sky". International Dunhuang Project. Archived from the original on 2015-11-04. 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.