The Legend of Pixiu

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....

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The legend of Ruyi

The legend of Ruyi

Ruyi (如意) literally means “as you wish” in Chinese. A typical ruyi is composed of two parts: a head in the shape of cloud, heart, or lingzhi, and a long handle in the shape of a flat S. Ruyi can be made of a variety of valuable materials, such as precious metals, jade, hardwood, semi-precious gems, ivory, coral, and so on. Ancient Chinese craftsmen exquisitely decorated ruyi by relief, openwork, inlaid gems, among other things. Ruyi itself, along with decorating motifs upon it, conveys good wishes, such as longevity, blessing, good fortune, and prosperity. No matter how valuable the material is and how meticulous the appearance is, ruyi nevertheless has a humble origin: it was born out of a household tool to scratch itches on one’s back...

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