Saturday, 16 May 2009

The Different Forms of Tiger Deities (虎爺/虎神的種類)


Dear All,

In here, I will do some quick sharing on the Various Forms of Tiger Deities and also, the Deities that are associated with the different forms of Tiger Deities.

Deities associated with Tigers:

1) Heavenly Master Zhang Dao Ling (張道陵天師), subdue a White Tiger
2) Heavenly Marshal Zhao Gong Ming aka Military Wealth Deity (武財神趙公明), subdue a Black Tiger
3) Earth Deity aka Tu Di Gong (土地公) subdue a Normal Tiger aka Yellow/Orange Tiger
4) Heavenly Physician Sun Si Miao (孙思邈) subdue a Normal Tiger
5) Bao Sheng Da Di aka Wu Tao (保生大帝吳本) subdue a Normal Tiger
6) Heavenly Master Xu Xun (許旌陽天師) subdue a Tiger

For the Addressing Term, while we honouring White Tiger Deity, remember we shall not Address him as Bai Hu Ye (白虎爺), this is a form of Disrespect, we shall Address him as Bi Hu Ye (碧虎爺), in Hokkien is Pit Hor Ya (not Pak Hor Ya).

For Black Tiger Deity will be Hiek Hor Ya (黑虎爺) and not Orh Hor Ya (烏虎爺).

For more Official Taoist Addressing Term, we will Address Tiger Deities as Xia Tan Jiang Jun (下壇將軍), in Hokkien as Ha Thua Jiong Kun, meaning Inspector of the Lower Altar.

Various Forms of Tiger Deities that we can see in Temples:

1) Moving downwards with Mouth Opening (下山開嘴)
2) Moving downwards with Mouth Closing (下山閉嘴)
3) Moving upwards with Mouth Closing (上山閉嘴)
4) Moving upward with Mouth Opening and Head turning Back (上山回頭開嘴)
5) Front Leg standing and Rear Leg squatting down, Big Head and Look like Cat (蹲坐大頭虎爺)

For different Forms, in Taoism, we have different meaning and tasks.

For 1), such Tiger Deities will be placed under Altar of the Main Deities in Temple, such Tiger Deities are Officially known as Xia Tan Jiang Jun. Such Tiger Deities are directly or closely involved in Temples or Taoist Groups that performed Spiritual Rituals/Ceremonies that assist Mortals. Such Tiger Deities are to do protection for the Temple or Group and also the Priests & Masters.

For 2), such Tiger Deities will be placed near Earth Deities or below the Altars of Earth Deity. Their main Task will be assisting Earth Deity in doing Inspection for the Area and also, reporting of any Abnormal Events happening. And of cos, the Animal Deity that Mortals will approached for Blessing for getting rid of "Backstabbers (小人)".

For 3), such Tiger Deities are the Happy Tiger Deities that Mortals can approached for requesting Blessing, usually such Tiger Deities will be more than Happy to give the necessary Blessings for the Mortals.

For 4), such Tiger Deities are rarely being seen or Mortals shall Avoid. Such Tiger Deities are known as the Fierce Tiger Deity that filled with Hatred. For Mortals who approached such Tiger Deities will meet with Crashes if the Mortals are Spiritual-weak during that Moment.

For 5), such Tiger Deities are known as the Tame Tiger. Usually mend for Looking after Temple, Taoist Groups, Altars or Homes. Just needed a bowl of Water & Incenses, this type of Tiger Deities will be Happy & Willingly to accept whatever request oneself made.

Why Tiger is always being used or associated with Deities in Taoist/Chinese Culture?

1) Because of the natural behaviour of Tiger - Fierce, Tiger is being used in Taoist/Chinese Culture to symbolize Authority & Braveness.
2) Due to Tiger is being given the Title as King of Mountain/Jungle, so for Taoist/Chinese, we needed to respect him in-order to get Protected.

More Iinks to various related Introductions:

Picture of Tiger Deities:

Introduction on General White Tiger Xue Ren Gui:

Introduction on Bao Sheng Da Di:

Introduction on Xu Xun:


  1. 1. Why would addressing White Tiger as Pak Hor Yah being disrespectful?

    2. Orh Hor Ya (烏虎夜). Last word is wrongly typed.

  2. This is the interesting part of Pronouciation, especially in Hokkien or any other form of Dialect.

    If we will to pronouce normal White Tiger in Hokkien, it will mean another Unpleasant meaning - a form of Bad-word degrading Ladies.

    So in-order to minimize misunderstand, No Hokkien Taoists will pronouce Pak Hor while honouring White Tiger Deities.

  3. Can we just address them as hor yah gong?

  4. For simply addressing term will be Hor Ya Kong :P

  5. Shifu, My friend said pray Hu Shen may not request blessing but only respect Hu Shen with "bai bai". It's that true, shi fu? Thank you

  6. To be more accurate, yes.

    Hu Ye can only listen to what we requested but seldom they are able to take action, cos above them, there are Tu Di Gong guarding.

    The most, they have to get permission from Tu Di Gong to get the tasks done.

    So this is why, some Elders, when they pay respect to Hu Ye, they will only offer the Incenses and then left the Altar.

  7. No, usually at home, we dont honour Tiger Deity.


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