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Zhen Wu (真武)

1. Chinese. ‘Perfected Warrior’ or ‘True Warrior’. Name for the protector of the North, one of the four protector gods of the four points of the compass in Taoism, who had two generals serving under him, i.e. a Tortoise General (fig.) and a Snake General (fig.), names of spiritual creatures symbolizing longevity. He is also known as Xuanwu, i.e. the ‘Black Warrior’, and as such he may be represented as a male deity with a long black beard, sometimes in black robes, holding a sword and wearing a belt of jade, and sometimes with a tortoise beneath one and a snake beneath the other foot (fig.), referring to his symbol, the tortoise-snake (fig.). He is also referred to as Zhen Wu Da Di (真武大帝), i.e. the ‘True Martial High Emperor’, usually simply called True Martial Emperor (fig.), and his abode is Mount Wudang, also known as Taihe Shan, the ‘Mount of the Greatest Peace’. For the second character of his name (wu), see also Bac De Tran Vo and Kung Fu.



2. Chinese epithet for the tortoise-snake (fig.), symbol of the protector god of the North (fig.), one of the four Taoist gods of the four directions in Chinese Taoism.