East Asia’s Anceint Guardians

Fossils and Fire

Depictions of the four guardians left to right: azure dragon, white tiger, vermilion bird and black tortoise (Qian, 2017)

Within Ancient Chinese astronomy and constellation there are the Four Gods often referred to as “Four Guardians“ or “Four Symbols“ and there is evidence of these being part of the culture as far back as the Neolithic period which is 6,000 years ago in China. Due to China’s influence on other countries within East Asia such as Vietnam, Japan and Korea adaptations to these guardians is evident in archaeology across the different cultures. These animals include the Azure Dragon, Vermilion Bird, White Tiger and Black Tortoise, all recorded in the Shan Hi Jing which is a 9th century book. Each animal represents a season and has its own characteristics and colours which match the soil colours of the corresponding region which that guardian is associated with. Depictions of the four guardians…

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