The Legend of Pixiu



A fabulously fierce beast called Pixiu (貔貅 pí xiū), is believed to be more powerful than the lion or any other animal, and in ancient literature, it is referred to as Mengshou (猛獸 měng shòu) or ‘Fierce Beast’ and enters into popular folklore and folk belief that it is a guardian animal that stands for fair-lay and right.
In the Shizhouji (十洲記 shí zhōu jì), contained in the huge Taoist compilation Daocang (道藏 dào cáng), it notes that: In the third year of the reign Zhenghe (征和 zhēng hé ) [90 B.C.], when the Han Emperor Hanwudi (漢武帝 hàn wǔ dì) visited An-ting, the King of the Western barbarians, offered a ‘Fierce Beast’ (Mengshou) that resembled a fifty or sixty day-old puppy, as large as a civet but brown in color. He ordered his envoy to present it to the Emperor. When the Emperor saw the envoy holding it as if it were a dog which looked emaciated, hairless and weak, he doubted the genuineness of the tribute.

He asked the envoy, “Can this little animal be trained? Why is it called a Fierce Beast?” “It is actually more fearsome than any of the hundred beast,” replied the envoy. “It must not be criticized on account of its size, for the divine unicorn’s kinship over the elephant, the phoenix’s precedence over the great bird, and the centipede’s dominion over the flying snake also do not depend on size. The ‘Fierce Beast’ exorcises demons [that cause] a hundred evils.” Ashamed and ill-at-ease, Emperor Wu then asked the envoy what method the ‘Fierce Beast’ used to attack other animals, what it ate, what its strength could be compared to, and what country it lived in.

The envoy replied, “As for the ‘Fierce Beast’s origins, some beasts live in Kunlun (崑崙 kūn lún), some in Xuanpu(玄圃 xuán pǔ), some in Jukuzhou (聚窟洲 jù kū zhōu), and some in Tianlu (天禄 tiān lù). It does not exhaust its life-span, it feeds on air and drinks dew, understand human speech, is humane, intelligent, loyal, and forgiving. As for its humanity, it loves and protects the lower orders so that they are not harmed by tigers and leopards. As for its fearsomeness, with a single cry it can subdue a thousand men, frighten the various domestic animals and the hundred creatures into breaking their tethers, and make soldiers lose their strength all at once. As for its wondrousness, it can put forth wind and clouds and cough up rain and dew, so that the hundred demons scatter in flight and river dragons jump out of the way. It resides in the stables of the Most High; it tames the lion and is named ‘Fierce Beast’. Its spirit-transformations without constancy, it can be considered the lord and master even of great birds; moreover, it is the primal king of the Chüeh-t’ien and the marshal of the Pixiu or griffin. ”



The Pixiu is always represented as a pair, both male and female. It is so fierce that it is a term used for brave troops. It is usually sculpt as ceramic figurines with curls for hair and oftentimes with little white pearl-like dots on the ends. It looks like a puppy with large eyes and seemed very innocent and tame. It is a symbol that brings good fortune so that gamblers usually have a pair prominently displayed in the gambling parlors and dens with a couple that fair play and no fear of any cheating, Pixiuzuozhen (貔貅坐鎮 pí xiū zuò zhèn). Also, small images in unglazed pottery are carried by gamblers for good luck. In addition, there is also a dance, which is similar to the Lion Dance called Wupixiu (舞貔貅 wǔ pí xiū).
By William C. Hu and David Lei

Pi Xiu is a powerful and bold god that protects its master. In the ancient dynasties, Pi Xiu was placed in the palace to protect the emperors, and keep the treasury in the exchequer from leaking out. In Qing Dynasty, Empress Pi Xi controlled the country by herself. She was guided by the spirit of Pi Xiu in the palace. All the evil spirits could not go near the palace.

Pi Xiu has a mouth as big as that of a hippo; a pair of wings that can fly symbolizing agility; a wide nose that can smell everything in all directions; eyes that are perceptive to the slightest; a sharp horn on the head; and sharp teeth in the mouth. The figure of Pi Xiu is as strong as Chi lim. But it has no buttocks, which means that there is a way in but no way out inherently. In present time, the major banks, successful entrepreneurs’ offices and shops all have Pi Xiu’s. It is not only a guardian god, but also can bring in abundant source of monetary revenue and land-office business. Pi Xiu will also bless you come in and go out safely, and protect the wealth that you accumulate from leaking out.

How to offer in worship to Pi Xiu?

  1. After getting up in the morning, burn three Cai Shen (God of Wealth) joss sticks, hold Pi Xiu above the joss sticks and turn in circles, and then put it at a place facing inside the door.
  2. Every morning after getting up, fondle Pi Xiu for one minute so that the spirits of Pi Xiu and the master can communicate with each other.
  3. Never let others touch your Pi Xiu
  4. Normally you only need to put a glass of clean water in the middle of the Pi Xiu’s. When the glass becomes dry, it is the time the spirit of Pi Xiu shows its present and power.

The Pixiu is also known as the Tianlu (Heavenly Salary) and Bixie (Wards off Evil). It is a magical beast in ancient Chinese mythology with a dragon’s head, a horse’s body, a qilin’s feet, and the overall shape of a lion. Its fur is greyish-white, and it can fly. The Pixiu is fierce and a good fighter, and likes sucking the blood or essence of demons and converting it into wealth. It is tasked with patrolling the heavens and stopping demons and diseases from causing chaos. One version of the legend identifies the Pixiu as the 9th son of the Dragon.

In ancient times, ‘the Pixiu’ was also used as a synonym for an army (because of its ferocity). One legend does that the Pixiu broke one of the rules of Heaven, and was punished by the Jade Emperor by restricting its food to the wealth all around the world. It could swallow wealth without ever having to defecate. This ability to gain wealth without letting it out was auspicious enough for many Chinese to use jade carvings of the Pixiu as ornaments even today.


  1. Steven Hong
    Apr 22, 2010

    Thanks for the article. It sure helps me to understand more about pixius.

    I want to learn more about pixiu as I’ve recently purchase a pair from Beijing. I’ve heard different opinions of placing the pair of pixius, especially in bedroom. Whilst I was in Beijing, I was recommended by the Master to place them in my bedroom. I would however, like to hear from your view. If it is not suggested to place them in bedroom, may I know why?

    Many thanks ahead.

  2. Christian
    Nov 28, 2011

    First of all thank you very much for the article.
    A few days ago I went to Chinatown (Argentina) and as fate would have acquired a Pi Xiu, I want to learn it on the Pi Xiu, I read out there that are off, making offerings, etc.., But no one is very specific and even contradict each other, I ask if you have the kindness to tell me as active as they must be treated, what kind of offerings should make etc etc etc-
    thank you very much
    Best Regards

    Ante todo muchas gracias por el artículo.
    Hace unos días fui al barrio chino (Argentina) y el destino quiso que adquiera un Pi Xiu, me gustaría aprender bien sobre los Pi Xiu, leí por ahí que hay que activarlos, hacerles ofrendas, etc., pero nadie es muy concreto y hasta se contradicen entre si, le pido si tiene la amabilidad de contarme como se activa, como hay que tratarlo, que tipo de ofrendas hay que hacerle etc etc etc-
    Muchas gracias
    Saludos cordiales

  3. admin
    Nov 29, 2011

    Thank you for the comment. Before answering your question, could you let me know what you mean ” as active as they must be treated, what kind of offerings should make”?

  4. Rolf
    Dec 6, 2011

    Keep up the good work fellow blogger, your challenging work is definitly going to pay off.

  5. law yew min
    Dec 18, 2011

    how do you know your pi xiu sprit is present?

  6. Janice
    Dec 31, 2011

    if i accidentally knocked my pi xiu on a glass, it has minor crack, will i be unfortunate or anything bad happen?? and i ask my friend to look at it, and touch it to see whether there is crack or not.. it has i minor crack only at the pi xiu head.. what should i do?? :( any advise please???

  7. Mdm Sim
    Jan 30, 2012

    Hi there, I would like to ask you for great advices. For the water in between the pi xius, after it evaporates, do I need to top it up? The pair of pi xius I have follow me for agree years, from previous house to now my new house. In between, I store them in their box as I was staying with my parents, so recently, after I moved to my present new house, I bring them out and bought them a pretty stand and place them facing my main door. After reading here, just now I full up a small glass of water and place it in respective position. So I wonder since my put xius is not NEW, as in just purchase, can I still do that? ? And does bagua genghis apply as there’s certain area of the house can’t have water element. Like south can’t have water element and my pi xius happens to be there, facing the main door. Thank you in advance and hope to hear from you soon.

  8. Mdm Sim
    Jan 30, 2012

    So sorry, I mean bagua fengshui, my phone dictionary corrected me.

  9. Mdm Sim
    Jan 30, 2012

    So sorry, I mean BA gua fengshui, my phone dictionary corrected it.

  10. admin
    Jan 30, 2012

    Hi Mdm,
    Thank you for the question. The water between PiXiu is preferable but not a must. The practical reason behind the water is to remind you to provide care to your PiXiu. If your PiXiu is jade, it needs the constant moisture and cleaning . To have your PiXiu to guard your door is a great idea. Wish you all the good luck! –LilyFair (

  11. Mdm Sim
    Jan 30, 2012

    Thank you so much for replying. My pair of pi xiu is in black obsidian, any special care I need to give them?

  12. admin
    Jan 31, 2012

    Hi Mdm, I love obsidian, they make great amulets. Inspired by you, I’ll write an article regarding obsidian on MingJade in the near future. To answer your question briefly, you need to clean your obsidian PIXIU very often with clean mineral water, at least every month.


  13. admin
    Jan 31, 2012

    Hi Janice,

    If you believe in your PiXiu, then he will become your amulet. So when certain accident happens to him, it’s probably he sacrificed himself to preventing something bad happen to you. If I were you, I will clean my PiXiu and keep him in a safe place. I don’t know what your PiXiu is made of, if its made by jade or precious natural stone, you can try to sink it in mineral water. If the crack is very minor, and you’re very lucky, the PiXiu might heal the crack by himself. I saw my grandpa did that once to one of his jade, and it healed by itself in a week!

    All the good Luck!


  14. Dino
    Sep 19, 2013

    I have a White Jade Bracelet with 5 lion dogs on it it matches the description of the PI Xiu The bracelet belonged to Empress PI XIU of ching dynasty according to the paper work I have with it it got here in 1968. What should I do with it? I was told to give it to china and they would make me emperor for a month contact me for more info 1-717-961-0966 Carlisle p.a

  15. Sheryl
    Oct 4, 2013

    My husband has a mini pi xiu attached to his car key. My Dad dropped it on the floor and the head has chipped off a corner.
    Will anything bad happen?
    Is it ok if I buy another new pi xiu to replace?

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