Animals that appear on sword fittings (under construction)
There are animals appearing on sword fittings, but some of them are hard
to understand. Because they are not found in the real world. There are
some animals those are come from mythology. Now we introduce some of them.
Animals from Chinese mythology
RYU or TATSU (dragon)
Dragon is very popular on sword fittings. Japanese dragons have no wings,
but can fly. Dragon grows up in the water, then it fly out from the water
to the sky as tornado. Some dragon has a dragon ball (HOSHU) that can realize
any dream. Dragon ball can appear in his hand or on the neck belt or above
his head. Sometimes a dragon chases the ball. Usually the ball is not very
round, it has a small summit on it.
Male has a sword-like tail.
Blue dragon is a guardian for east.
Shishi is a lion, but it is not a real lion. We don't have living lion
in Japan, so the feature is a little different to the real lion. The most
famous story about shishi is, mother shishi throws her children down to
the valley and she grows up only the children who climb up from there.
Shishi often appears with tree peony, that means king of beast and king
The feature is, dear-like body, cow-like tail, horse-like toe, and one
horn on the head. It is a symbol of good emperor.
Sometimes, it is pictured with two horns.
SAI (unicorn, rhinoceros?)
Sai is a kind of unicorns. It looks like kirin, but the big difference
is sai has a shell on his back.
In old China, sometimes sai appears as rhinoceros. I wonder if the Sai
in mythology is made from rhinoceros.
BAKU (nightmare eater)
The feature is elephant-like nose, cow-like tail, tiger-like feet, and
bear-like body. It cleans wicked wills.
The nose of this menuki is not so long, but sometimes it can be longer
HO-O, SUZAKU (phoenixes)
There are several kinds of phoenixes. They are holly birds. It often appears
on paulownia tree. it means a holly companions that holly bird on holly
tree. On the other hand, this motif is a symbol of "12" or "December"
in Japanese card game.
Red phoenix (SUZAKU) is a symbol of fire and guardian for south.
Animals from Japanese mythology
The feature of it was monkey-like face, tiger-like feet, and snake tail.
Once it appeared in 12th century. It was crying on the roof of imparial palace, and shot down by master archer Yorimasa. (=> The story, monster NUE)
It is a king of fishes, having a tiger-like head and stings on the back,
and spouts plenty of water from the mouth. The pose, head down and tail
up, is common. Sometimes it is put on the roof to save fire accidents.
One of the most famous shachi, the golden couple on the Nagoya castle.
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