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The Twenty-eight Mansions (Chinese: 二十八宿; pinyin: Èr Shí Bā Xiù<), hsiuxiu[1] or sieu[2] are part of the Chinese constellations system. They can be considered as the equivalent to the zodiacal constellations in the Western astronomy, though the Twenty-eight Mansions reflect the movement of the Moon in a lunar month rather than the Sun in a solar year. Another similar system, called Nakshatra, is used in traditional Indian astronomy.


Ancient Chinese astronomers divided the sky ecliptic into four regions, collectively known as the Four Symbols, each assigned a mysterious animal. They are Azure Dragon (青龍) on the east, Black Tortoise (玄武) on the north, White Tiger (白虎) on the west, and Vermilion Bird (朱雀) on the south. Each region contains seven mansions, making a total of 28 mansions. The mansions or xiù are latitudes the Moon crosses during its monthly journey around Earth and serve as a way to track the Moon's progress.

List of mansions[]

The names and determinative stars of the mansions are:[3][4]

Four Symbols


Mansion (宿)
Number Name (pinyin) Translation Determinative star Abbreviation
Azure Dragon

of the East] (東方青龍) Spring

1 角 (Jiăo) Horn Spica α Vir
2 亢 (Kàng) Neck Kappa Virginis κ Vir
3 氐 (Dĭ) Root Alpha Librae α Lib
4 房 (Fáng) Room Pi Scorpii π Sco
5 心 (Xīn) Heart Sigma Scorpii σ Sco
6 尾 (Wěi) Tail Mu Scorpii μ Sco
7 箕 (Jī) Winnowing Basket Gamma Sagittarii γ Sgr
Black Tortoise

of the North (北方玄武) Winter

8 斗 (Dǒu) (Southern) Dipper Phi Sagittarii φ Sgr
9 牛 (Niú) Ox Beta Capricorni β Cap
10 女 (Nǚ) Girl Epsilon Aquarii ε Aqr
11 虛 (Xū) Emptiness Beta Aquarii β Aqr
12 危 (Wēi) Rooftop Alpha Aquarii α Aqr
13 室 (Shì) Encampment Alpha Pegasi α Peg
14 壁 (Bì) Wall Gamma Pegasi γ Peg
White Tiger

of the West (西方白虎) Fall

15 奎 (Kuí) Legs Eta Andromedae η And
16 婁 (Lóu) Bond Beta Arietis β Ari
17 胃 (Wèi) Stomach 35 Arietis 35 Ari
18 昴 (Mǎo) Hairy Head Electra 17 Tau
19 畢 (Bì) Net Epsilon Tauri ε Tau
20 觜 (Zī) Turtle Beak Lambda Orionis λ Ori
21 參 (Shēn) Three Stars Zeta Orionis ζ Ori
Vermilion Bird

of the South (南方朱雀) Summer

22 井 (Jǐng) Well Mu Geminorum μ Gem
23 鬼 (Guǐ) Ghost Theta Cancri θ Cnc
24 柳 (Liǔ) Willow Delta Hydrae δ Hya
25 星 (Xīng) Star Alphard α Hya
26 張 (Zhāng) Extended Net Upsilon1 Hydrae υ¹ Hya
27 翼 (Yì) Wings Alpha Crateris α Crt
28 軫 (Zhěn) Chariot Gamma Corvi γ Crv


  1. ^ Gary D. Thompson chapter 11-24
  2. ^ Richard Hinckley Allen in Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning
  3. ^ "The Chinese Sky"International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
  4. ^ Sun, Xiaochun (1997). Helaine Selin. ed. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 517.ISBN 0-7923-4066-3 (HB). Retrieved 2011-06-25.

See also[]

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