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The Five Directions: Wisdom from Ancient Chinese Astrology to Guide the Modern Path

Directional Clarity

A collection born from ancient stars

In ancient Chinese astrology, the stars were not merely points in the universe, but acted as guides to the human soul.  They were points on a celestial map that guided direction here on Earth—here in our hearts.

The most powerful motifs in ancient Eastern astrology are the four symbols—four mythological creatures that represent the cardinal compass directions:  Black tortoise, vermillion bird, azure dragon, and white tiger (north, south, east, and west respectively).  Together they form the mythical deities that guard the heavens and the earth.  This season, LIULI chose to represent them in a small but powerful collection that draws from ancient astrological wisdom.

As with all things interconnected, the four guardians in this series correspond with many elements.  Each deity possesses its own spirit and has been associated with one of the four seasons:  The joy that comes with spring is a manifestation of the powerful dragon; the wise tortoise (or xuanwu) embodies winter.  When combining all four of these cardinal directions, the fifth and final mythical yellow Qilin deity is uncovered to represent the “center”—a “direction” all on its own.  All five mythical creatures have been seen represented in art and astrology across East Asia from China to Korean and Vietnam. 

While astronomers may look with curiosity to the skies—with perfectly good reason—art often begs the viewer to look within.  For LIULI artists, the driving inspiration to understand the order of nature, the heavens, and earth, is to find direction in the world and to find an identity within oneself.  As with a boat in the middle of the sea, without the stars to guide our direction we may never truly know who and where we are. 

It is with this sentiment in mind that LIULI brings you…

Directional Clarity

A collection born from ancient stars 

The Collection: Directional Clarity 



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