The Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has been nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 94th Academy Awards. 

The nomination is well-deserved: The movie’s CGI showcasing Ta Lo is impeccable. 

In the West, there are unicorns, mermaids, Bigfoot and more. The East also has its own mythical creatures that may be less well known. 

“Shang-Chi” gave audiences a glimpse of the animals that make up Eastern mythology

But where did they come from? Here are four Chinese mythical creatures from “Shang-Chi” you need to know. 

(Warning: spoilers ahead)

  1. 1 Di Jiang (帝江 Dì jiāng)

    When Shang-Chi and Katy meet Trevor Slattery, they also meet Morris. 

    Morris looks like a fluffy ball with three pairs of legs, two pairs of wings and no face. He is also super cute. 

    Morris seems like a made-up creature, but he is actually a Di Jiang (帝江 dì jiāng). A Di Jiang is a mountain-dwelling god from the “Classic of Mountains and Seas” (山海经 shān hǎi jīng). 

    In the book, Di Jiangs are personifications of Hundun (混沌 hùndùn), the Chinese God of Chaos. 

    Di Jiangs also love music and dancing. 

  2. 2 Qi Lin (麒麟 Qí lín)

    Qi Lin

    When Shang-Chi and his friends finally arrive in Ta Lo, they are greeted by horse-like creatures. 

    These creatures are Qi Lins (麒麟 Qí lín). 

    As described in the “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” Qi Lins have heads like a dragon and bodies covered with scales. They are iridescent. 

    Qi Lins are noble and kind; they often appear with a god. They like to help good people, especially those who are filial. 

    However, do not underestimate Qi Lins for their kindness. They are more than capable of pursuing evildoers. 

  3. 3 Nine-Tailed Fox (九尾狐 jiǔ wěi hú)

    Nine-Tailed FoxA nine-tailed fox (九尾狐 jiǔ wěi hú) is a beautiful creature. 

    In the “Classic of Mountains and Seas,” nine-tailed foxes are four feet tall, have nine tails and make sounds like a baby

    Its wisdom and power are contained in its tails. A new tail grows every 100 years. After a millennium, the nine-tailed fox can ascend to the heavens and join the gods. 

    In the Qin dynasty, the nine-tailed fox was a symbol of peace and prosperity. 

    However, starting in the Song dynasty, the nine-tailed fox gradually became demonized. People started to believe the nine-tailed fox could turn into a beautiful woman and bewitch humans. 

  4. 4 Guardian Lion (石狮 shíshī)

    Guardian Lion

    Guardian lions (石狮 shíshī) are important mythical creatures in Chinese culture. They are powerful beasts. 

    There are often stone guardian lions in front of traditional Chinese buildings. 

    These lions provide protection over sacred places such as Ta Lo. They have the ability to fight off evil spirits. 

    When stone guardian lions are put in front of architecture, they always come in male-female pairs. The male lions have a ball under one paw and the female lions have a cub under one paw. 

    Now you know what these creatures! What other Chinese mythical creatures do you want to learn about? Let us know in the comments below.

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Amie Lin

Amie Lin is currently attending Hunter College double majoring in Mandarin and Media Studies. She is such a foodie and loves Chinese dramas.
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