TIGER GOD #5: THE CHINESE TIGER

Last season our collection brought you into the midst of the asian jungle, touring the animal rulers and human explorers within. This season we're exploring the skies, the asian gods, and their earthly temples, including clouds in the day and night, cloud-hopping tigers, and aerodynamic pilots. This month on the KENZO blog we'll take you to meet some of our favorite tiger- and tiger-riding- gods and goddesses and the cultures they've influenced.


 

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When it comes to tigers of legend, the gorgeous white tiger is perhaps the most revered. And it's easy to see why: the white tiger is easily one of the most awe-inducing animals, so deeply linked to the mystical it's almost like seeing a phoenix or a dragon in real life. During the Chinese Han Dynasty, when the tiger was believed to be the king of the animal kingdom (not the lion), it was thought that tigers would only turn white when they turned 500 years old.


Its white color aligned it with the element metal in and the power of the western direction, in the Chinese Five Elements. Because of this, the white tiger is seen as the guardian of the west and plays a large part in fengshui, playing its influence on the west side of houses and temples for protection. Tigers, and white tigers especially, are seen as powerful protectors, and white jade, which is known as "tiger jade", has long been used to protect soldiers and armies, and is often buried with the dead in order to protect them from demons in their graves. In traditional Korean beliefs it is said that the appearance of a white tiger has great influence over people who witness it, turning greedy people generous and selfish people humble.