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Chinese constellation

Chinese constellations are different from the western constellations, due to the independent development of ancient Chinese astronomy. Ancient Chinese skywatchers divided their night sky in a different way, but there are also similarities. The Chinese counterpart of the 12 western zodiac constellations are the 28 "Xiu" (宿) or "mansions" (a literal translation).

The zodiac was divided into four regions, or four symbols (四象), with 7 Xiu in each one of them:

note: all translations of the names of the Xiu are done literally, they may not be the true and original meaning
note 2: the name following the tranlations are the approximate location of the Xiu on the western skymap

The Azure Dragon of the East (東方青龍)

The Black Tortoise (or Xuan Wu) of the North (北方玄武)

  • Dou (斗) - Dipper, Sagittarius
  • Niu (牛) - Ox, Capricornus
  • Nu (女) - Girl, Aquarius
  • Xu (虛) - Emptiness, Aquarius
  • Wei (危) - Rooftop, Aquarius/Pegasus
  • Shi (室) - Encampment, Pegasus
  • Bi (壁) - Wall, Pegasus

The White Tiger of the West (西方白虎)

  • Kui (奎) - Legs, Andromeda
  • Lou (婁) - Bond, Aries
  • Wei (胃) - Stomach, Aries
  • Mao (昴) - Hairy head, Pleiades
  • Bi (畢) - Net, Taurus
  • Zi (觜) - Turtle beak, Orion
  • Shen (參) - Three stars, Orion

The Vermillion Bird of the South (南方朱雀)

  • Jing (井) - Well, Gemini
  • Gui (鬼) - Ghosts, Cancer
  • Liu (柳) - Willow, Hydra
  • Xing (星) - Star, Alphard[?]
  • Zhang (張) - Extended net, Crater
  • Yi (翼) - Wings, Corvus
  • Zhen (軫) - Chariot, Corvus



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