Tigers in Chinese Culture

The tiger’s place in Chinese culture.

Image via Wikipedia

The tiger is considered by the Chinese to be the King of the beasts, not the lion, as in Western culture.

The tiger represents royalty, fearlessness and wrath.  Its forehead has a marking which looks like the Chinese character for “king”.  Most cartoon character tigers in China and Korea are drawn with this chinese character on their forehead.

The tiger is extremely important in Chinese culture.  It is one of the twelve zodiac animals and represents the Year of the Tiger. 

In Chinese martial arts, the tiger is depicted as an earth symbol, while the dragon is depicted as air and is the tiger’s rival. The Chinese martial art Hung Ga is based on the movements of the Tiger and the Crane. 

In Imperial China, the tiger represented war and was the symbol of the highest army general, while the emperor and empress were represented by the dragon and the phoenix respectively.

The White Tiger (Bai Hu) is one of the four symbols of the Chinese constellations.  It’s sometimes called the White Tiger of the West and it also represents autumn.

To Buddhists, the tiger is one of the Three Senseless Creatures, symbolizing anger, while the monkey symbolizes greed, and the deer, lovesickness.

The Tungusics revere the Siberian tiger as a near deity and refer to it as “Grandfather” or “Old Man”.  The Manchu called the tiger Hu Lin, the King.  The Udege and Nanai called it “Amba”.

Durga, the Hindu goddess, an aspect of Devi-Parvati, is a warrior with ten arms that rides a female tiger, or tigress (Damon), into battle.

Shapeshifting folklore in Asia refers not to werewolves but to weretigers.

If you like to read about endangered and extinct animals, visit www.endangeredextinct.blogspot.com

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2 Responses to “Tigers in Chinese Culture”
  1. Naurid Says...

    On February 20, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    According to my Chinese zodiac sign, I was born in the Year of the Dragon as I’m a Pisces. The Chinese Dragon is also known as the God of Water.

    For your kind information ‘Durga’ is also called ‘Durgoti Nashini’ and ‘Maa Durga”.

    Get a Pearl White Smile – Naturally!!
    Tensed with Droopy Hair
    SEE your SITES with the EYES OF A SPIDER

  2. CHIPMUNK Says...

    On February 21, 2011 at 4:34 am

    interesting work

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