Chinese Mythology

The Folk Gods and Spirits of the Middle Kingdom


Chinese fabulous creature

Also known as Hsüan Wu

The Sacred Heavenly Tortoise

The Cosmic Tortoise — or possibly the Intergalactic Turtle — is one of the four Sì Xiàng Sacred Animals of Chinese mythology.

Known as a symbol of happiness, Gui Xian represents the North point of the compass and rules over all shelled creatures.

Tortoises being very long-lived, Gui Xian is also a symbol of longevity and immortality. Buildings inscribed with a tortoise image will last for many ages. Does that mean getting a Gui Xian tattoo will make you live forever?

Gui Xian seems to have a rival in the Sacred Animal Department (Shelled Creatures Division) — see Xuan Wu for an alternative take. However, as his name means simply ‘Heavenly Tortoise’, they could both be the same animal with different names. Has anyone seen them in the same room together?

Gui Xian Facts and Figures

Name: Gui Xian
Pronunciation: Gway Shee-yen
Alternative names: Hsüan Wu

Gender: Male
Type: fabulous creature
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

Role: Unknown at present

Good/Evil Rating: NEUTRAL, may not care
Popularity index: 4220

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Article last revised on May 28, 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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