The horse in the Chinese horoscope

The horse in the Chinese horoscope

The horse is one of the animals of later incorporation into Chinese culture. If, as some scholars say, the system of 12 animals in the Chinese horoscope originated in the peoples who lived in the north, in the steppes and deserts beyond the Great Wall, the inclusion of the horse among these fundamental animals seems justified.

In ancient times, the Chinese did not use the horse either for war or for agriculture. In the war aspect, they only used it as an animal that pulled a chariot because until the third or fourth century of our era the strength of the armies was measured by the number of chariots they had. Each chariot was usually occupied by three people, one guiding it, another shooting arrows and another possibly with a spear. Around each chariot there were up to 100 infantrymen, so when we read that an army had 100 chariots, it actually tells us that it had 10,000 warriors.

The horse, on the other hand, was widely used for warfare and transportation by the peoples of northern and northwestern China. Precisely the kingdoms that lived in the regions bordering these peoples were the first to discover the superiority of the horse over the chariot, making a series of adaptations not only in the transport of war, but also in the clothing, which allowed the movements of the rider, and even in the weapons to be used.

The horse breeds present in China have never been as strong and fast as those that existed beyond its borders. In fact, it is thought that the need to obtain the famous horses of the Fhergana region was one of the reasons behind the first expeditions that opened what would eventually be called the Silk Road.

Among the Mongols the horse is one of the animals with the greatest symbolic and ritual importance, the ceremony called «horse sacrifice» is one of the most solemn among them.

The Nanzhao kingdom, which flourished in the Yunnan region from the eighth to the tenth century, was also famous for its horses. Historical books say that the trade of these animals was one of the bases of its prosperity.

The horse and the origin of silk

A Chinese legend about the origin of silk tells how a girl, longing for the return of her father who had gone off to war, promised aloud that she would marry whoever brought her father back to her. When the family horse heard this, he went out in search of his father. When he found him, he made him return home. From then on the horse looked at the girl with a pitiful air. When the father asked the cause, they thought it could only be because, having heard the oath, he hoped to marry his daughter. Logically they branded his pretensions as absurd, and even put the horse to death and skinned it. One day, the girl, seeing the horse’s skin lying in the sun, began to trample it, saying: «and you still wanted to marry me». Then suddenly the skin enveloped the girl and they disappeared together. Some time later they appeared on a tree, where they formed the cocoon of a silkworm.

The horse has been the protagonist of one of the most curious debates in the history of Chinese philosophy, the one in which Gongsun Long tries to demonstrate the absurdity of affirming the existence of a white horse, since in his opinion it is not possible to express simultaneously both essences, that of horse and that of white.

The horse also plays an important role in the history of the spread of Buddhism. Since this religion came from India, an important part of the first relations with this religious center, had as a protagonist a traveling monk on a horse. It is no coincidence that the first Buddhist temple founded in China with the approval of the emperor was called the Temple of the White Horse.

Among the minorities of southern China, there are many who celebrate horse races during their most important festivals.

The horse, auspicious animal

In addition, the horse is generally considered an auspicious animal, so it is not uncommon for festivities to be held on a horse day, as is customary: 

– The Achang on the Feast of Worshipping Mother Earth.

– The Bulang on the Dragon Tree Festival

– The Kucong at the New Year’s Day Festival

In addition, several provinces in central China celebrate Horse Day on lunar June 6. On that day, like cows on theirs, horses are exempted from work, and are treated with the utmost affection. In fact, in most of the festivals and ceremonies in the peoples of China, the horse plays a starring role.

The horse in the Chinese horoscope

Since in China we are governed by the lunar calendar, and in the West by the solar calendar, the beginning and end of each year does not coincide exactly. Therefore, before knowing what the Chinese horoscope says about your sign, make sure that you were indeed born under the sign of the Horse, as are the people born on the dates included in the table on the left.

25-1-1906 to 12-2-1907 – Fire

11-2-1918 to 31-1-1919 – Earth

30-1-1930 to 16-2-1931 – Metal

15-2-1942 to 4-2-1943 – Water

3-2-1954 to 23-1-1955 – Wood

21-1-1966 to 8-2-1967 – Fire

7-2-1978 to 27-1-1979 – Earth

27-1-1990 to 14-2-1991 – Metal

To complete your cosmic profile it is necessary to know the influence of the Five Elements on your life. Check in the table above the element to which you belong. The hour of birth also has great influence on the character of the person.

It is generally considered that those born during the wu hour (from 11 am to 1 pm) acquire some qualities of the horse, and tend to be more impetuous than those born at other times.

People born under the sign of the horse tend to have an independent and vigorous character. Quick in thought and action, they have no compassion for those who cannot follow in their footsteps. Impatient, but not very persevering, they need, in fact, the guidance of others to achieve success. They also do not find it easy to listen to the opinions of others, preferring to rely on their intuition.

They live in harmony with: Tiger, dog and sheep.

Conflicts arise with: Rat, Ox

Cite this article as: Ceinos-Arcones, Pedro, «The Zhunti Temple in Kunming, a cult to a mysterious goddess,» in Ethnic China, 17 febrero 2021,


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