He is one of China’s Four Auspicious Animals (see Sì Xiàng) — a giant tortoise who drifts around the sky and looks after the Northen end of the Cosmos.
Xuan Wu may be a Heavenly Tortoise, but don’t be fooled — he is not a placid lettuce-muncher. In fact, he is also a mysterious shadowy warrior known as the Black Tortoise.We promise we are not making this up.
The story goes that he was formed from the black gooey remains of a Daoist deity’s sin. This deity — whose name also happened to be XUAN WU — was keen to rid himself of all evil. So he had a massive purge and all his sins and little niggly bad habits and naughty thoughts oozed out into a black sloppy mess on the floor.
Apparently his sins were quite potent as they immediately formed into Xuan Wu, the Mysterious Black Warrior Tortoise. Who then launched himself into the sky and became a guardian of the North.
We still promise we are not making this up. However, someone else might have been, as there is a rather less bonkers Sacred Tortoise available under the name Gui Xian.
Xuan Wu Facts and Figures
Name: Xuan Wu
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Kuei-Hsien
Type: fabulous creature
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present
Role: Unknown at present
Good/Evil Rating: NEUTRAL, may not care
Popularity index: 1930
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Article last revised on April 21, 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.