The Symbolism And Significance Of Turtles & Tortoises In The Chinese Culture

Ser Seng Herbs (Turtle) Restaurant Editor

September 24, 2021

Eastern Asia is responsible for a lot of turtle mythology. Both turtles and tortoises are frequently referred to as turtles in historical texts. The turtle became a symbol of both heaven and earth for people in the Far East. For these people, the turtle’s shell symbolized the sky, while the flat bottom represented the earth. Nice turtle soup in Singapore is also a way of appreciating these turtles.

The turtle’s shell is believed to be the thing that allows them to live for such a long time. It is also thought that the globe is on the back of a turtle and that the turtle’s shell contains marks of heaven and earth and the universe’s roof. This animal, according to Chinese legend, has the knowledge of heaven and earth inside its flesh. 

During China’s Shang era (1766–1122 BC), tortoise shells were used in rituals to foretell the future. To increase the symbol’s potency, particular creatures, such as a dragon-headed turtle, are occasionally spliced with it.

In Chinese culture, one of the Four Auspicious Beasts is the turtle (next to the phoenix, the tiger, and the dragon). It is regarded as a sign of knowledge, perseverance, prosperity, and long life since it is one of the world’s oldest creatures. The way that these animals could survive without food for almost a year, while seldom suffering illness, gave Chinese society reason to believe that they had magical abilities.

The Northern Constellation in Chinese culture is a turtle with a snake wrapped around it, otherwise known as the Black Tortoise or Black Warrior. As such, many Chinese people’s houses have images of turtles or turtle sculptures on display. A single turtle figure or image is believed to offer the family support, success, and riches.

The turtle had a major presence in most ancient cultures. In many areas of the globe, the animal has long been adored. Most commonly, the turtle is related to the world’s creation and propagation in ancient mythology. 

It is reasonable to ask why so many different civilizations, separated by thousands of miles, have evolved similar ideas. We are not here to argue about it, but we can agree that history is a fascinating subject. When it comes to turtles, it is no different. They are also a source of nice turtle soup in Singapore.

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