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3. Black Tortoise / Snake Pearl

     

1. Tortoise/ Snake Pearl (Black Warrior , Chn: Xuan Wu) The Guardians of North = North, Winter, Black,
Turtle is associated with the element of Water

         
     
 

Genbu ( in Japanese ) is always listening, and is thus portrayed as completely versed in Buddha’s teachings
; corresponds to winter, cold, water, black , earth, and faith. The tortoise is a symbol of long life and happiness.
When it becomes one thousand years old, it is able to speak the language of humans. Able to foretell the future.
In artwork, often shown together with the snake.

In Chinese culture, especially under the influence of Taoism the tortoise is the symbol of heaven and earth,
its shell compared to the vaulted heaven and the underside to the flat disc of the earth. The tortoise was the hero
of many ancient legends. It helped the First Chinese Emperor to tame the Yellow River, so Shang-di rewarded
the animal with a life span of Ten Thousand Years. Thus the tortoise became a symbol for Long Life.
It also stands for immutability and steadfastness.

it was referred to as the "dark warrior" (genbu) and finally became Zhenwu (in Chinese Taoism),
one of the four protector gods of the four directions. The symbol of Zhenwu, the Protector God of the North, as tortoise and snake (or tortoise entwined by a snake) dates back to the third century BC

 
   
   

HISTORICAL NOTES
At the heart of Chinese mythology are four spiritual creatures (Sì Shòu )
The Han Dynasty Chinese cosmologists distinguished Four Creatures of the World
and since then have become deeply rooted in Chinese mythology.
These animals are the Green Dragon, White Tiger, Phoenix , Tortoise & Snakeskin


Each creature represents one of the four world directions, seasons, and "elements".
Sometimes there are five animals because every once in a while
the snake will be depicted with the Black Tortoise.

(The Phoenix- S , The Green Dragon- E , The Tortoise- N , The White Tiger- W)