PiXiu/貔貅: The Legendary Chinese Beast of Wealth

PiXiu/貔貅: Chinese Mythology Beast of Wealth

The Origin and History of Pi Xiu

PiXiu/貔貅, is a mythical creature from ancient Chinese folklore, believed to originate from ancient times. According to legend, PiXiu is one of the nine sons of the dragon, possessing the body of a lion and the head of a dragon. It is considered to have powerful protective and evil-repelling properties. PiXiu/貔貅 is called ‘BiXie/辟邪’ for its ability to ward off evil, and ‘TianLu/天禄’ for its capability to attract wealth.

PiXiu is Panda

The claim that PiXiu is the giant panda is debatable. Some scholars believe that the association of the giant panda with ‘Pi Xiu’ originated from the book《译峨籁》 written by the Qing Dynasty traveler Hu Shi’an. This book explicitly states that the ‘PiXiu’ mentioned here is entirely different from the fierce beast recorded in the ‘Records of the Grand Historian.’ In 《译峨籁》, the term ‘PiXiu’ is a homophone for ‘PiQiu’ (皮裘), and the author considered ‘PiQiu’ too common, so he changed it to ‘PiXiu.’ Subsequently, people mistakenly combined the two types of ‘PiXiu,’ leading to jokes about Chiyou riding a giant panda.

BieXie and TianLu or Deer

There is another theory that Pi Xiu had two types in ancient times: single-horned PiXiu and double-horned PiXiu. Some say the distinction is between male (Pi) and female (Xiu), while others argue it represents good and evil. In any case, there were single-horned PiXiu in the past, but nowadays, most are double-horned PiXiu, and it’s rare to see single-horned PiXiu.

PiXiu has been used since ancient times as a mythical creature to ward off evil, bring good luck, and enhance wealth. The single-horned one is called TianLu, and the double-horned one is called BiXie. Additionally, due to the homophony between Lu and Deer, TianLu can be interchangeable with ‘Heaven’s Deer’

The Symbolic Significance

In Chinese culture, PiXiu is seen as a symbol of wealth and good fortune. It is especially favored by businessmen and investors, as it is believed to attract wealth and prevent the loss of fortunes. Moreover, PiXiu is also thought to ward off evil spirits and disasters, protecting people from bad luck and calamities.

The Application in Feng Shui

In Chinese Feng Shui, the placement of PiXiu is considered to have a significant impact on the financial fortunes of a home or office. People commonly place PiXiu statues in their homes or offices to attract wealth and positive energy. Feng Shui experts provide different placement recommendations based on the specific environment and needs.

The Modern Popularity

In modern times, PiXiu is more than just a symbol of traditional culture; it is widely used in jewelry design, home decor, and other artistic creations. The imagery and sculptures of PiXiu are extremely popular in China and other parts of Asia, becoming an important element in popular culture and artistic expression.

In Ancient Texts

In ancient literature, the image and stories of PiXiu are mentioned multiple times. The “Classic of Mountains and Seas” is one of the most famous texts, providing detailed descriptions of PiXiu’s appearance and mythical stories. These ancient texts not only offer valuable information for studying PiXiu but also provide a window into understanding the culture and beliefs of ancient China.

Pi Xiu, with a body resembling a tiger or leopard, a head and tail resembling a dragon, with a color that is both golden and jade-like. It has a pair of wings on its shoulders, unable to spread, and a horn on its head while tilting backward.

《山海经》

貔貅,其身形如虎豹,其首尾似龙状,其色亦金亦玉,其肩长有一对羽翼却不能展,头生一角并后仰。

Emperor Yan desired to invade and oppress the feudal lords, and the feudal lords all rallied to Xuanyuan. Xuanyuan then cultivated virtues, rallied his forces, regulated the Five Qi, mastered the Five Arts, pacified the myriad people, surveyed the four directions, and taught bears, leopards, PiXiu, and tigers for the battle against Emperor Yan on the field of Banquan

《史记·本纪·五帝本纪》

炎帝欲侵陵诸侯,诸侯咸归轩辕。轩辕乃修德振兵,治五气,艺五种,抚万民,度四方,教熊罴貔貅䝙虎,以与炎帝战于阪泉之野。

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