A huli jing (Chinese: ; pinyin: hli jng) is a fox spirit that appears in Chinese mythology. Huli jing are spirits, similar to fairies in Europe, that can either be good or bad. In contemporary Mandarin and Cantonese, a woman who lures married or physically connected males is referred to as a "huli jing" in colloquial language.

Imagine a world of magical stories from China, filled with creatures and mysteries. In these tales, there's something special about Huli Jing, also known as Chinese Fox Spirits. They are like charming puzzles that have fascinated people for a long time. We're going to explore 15 amazing facts about these interesting spirits that are an important part of Chinese culture. Let's start a journey to learn more about Huli Jing and discover why they're so special!

1. Hui Jing: The Creatures Also Referred to as Nine-Tailed Foxes

Chinese mythology contains supernatural beings known as Huli jing, or "fox spirits," which can either be good or evil spirits and have the power to change their appearance. The fox spirit can manifest in a variety of shapes, including husheng, huxian, jiuweihu, hushen,  huwang and huyao, often known as the "nine-tailed fox," that each have their own special meanings, powers, traits, and appearances. These beings are frequently seen in Chinese literature, mythology, and folklore; depending on the narrative, their presence may imply either good or bad fate. Additionally, the Japanese and Korean civilizations adopted the idea of the nine-tailed fox.

2. They Frequently Use Their Shape-Shifting Abilities to Transform into a Seductive Woman

The motivations of foxes while dealing with humans are frequently questioned because of their unpredictable behavior, which can be either beneficial or harmful depending on their individual personalities. Huli jing, a kind of fox spirit, have been reported to utilize their seductive powers to take people's life energy, curse people they want to hurt, bestow wealth upon those who homage them, or provide insightful guidance.

3. Daji Was a Infamous Fox Spirit During The Ming Dynasty, Known for Causing a Lot of Trouble

Fox spirits are usually appears as female and frequently represented in stories and traditions as young, attractive women. The fox spirit Daji, one of the most infamous in Chinese mythology, appears in the Ming Dynasty novel Fengshen Yanyi. 

She was formerly a general's daughter who was forced to marry the terrible dictator King Zhou of Shang. After King Zhou angered the goddess Nüwa and drove Daji's actual soul from her body, a Huli Jing nine-tailed fox spirit that served the goddess took control of her body. As Daji, the fox spirit and her new spouse came up with horrible plans and fashioned numerous sorts of torment, such making upright officials clasp blazing metal pillars. Many people rebelled and faced the Shang dynasty as a result of their atrocities, including some of King Zhou's former generals. A new dynasty bearing his nation's name was eventually founded by King Wen of Zhou, a subordinate state of the Shang. Jiang Ziya, the first Prime Minister of the Zhou dynasty, eventually ejected the Huli Jing or fox spirit that had been dwelling inside Daji, and Nüwa criticized her spirit for being very inhumane.

4. In Chinese Culture, During the Tang Dynasty, People Admired and Believed in Spirits or Gods That Were Like Foxes

The significant fox worship that was prevalent throughout the Tang dynasty is discussed in the work "Hu Shen (Fox gods)". It claims that common people would make offerings to fox spirits in their bedrooms and show them respect in an effort to obtain their blessing. It was thought that these foxes consumed human food and beverages and had no allegiance to anyone in particular. "No fox spirit, no village" was a proverb that gained traction at the time, highlighting the significance of foxes in their way of life.

5. Huli Jing are Often Connected to The Yin Side and They Get Their Energy From The Yang

The Chinese word "huli jing" is made up of the characters "hli," referring to "fox," and "jing," which indicates "essence." The huli jing is thought to be a creature connected to yin, the feminine principle, and it eats yang, the masculine force. Additionally, the phrase "huli jing" has been employed as a metaphor to describe the potentially destructive influence of seductively attractive people, frequently with the implication of promiscuity.

6. Besides Huli Jing, There are Other Chinese Foxes, Fox Gods, or Fox Demons

Fox spirits are referred to as "hujing" in earlier concepts, whereas long-lived foxes are referred to as "laohu". Foxes that have been labeled "Huxian" are thought to be spiritual or immortal. In addition, a "jiuwei hu" is a nine-tailed fox, which is regarded as the oldest and most mystical of all foxes.

7. As Huli Jing Get Older, Even Thousands of Years Old, They Become Much Stronger or Powerful

A huli jing's magical skills develop stronger as they age. A long-lived fox spirit can change from an animal to a human and then, ultimately, into a transcendent being. A fox matures into a very talented deceiver and seducer, capable of changing shapes and taking on several forms.

A fox can change into a lady at the age of fifty, according to a writing by Kuo Po dated 324 AD. It can appear as a lovely girl, a magician, or a seductive guy when it is 100 years old. A fox of this age is also claimed to have the ability to sense things happening a thousand li away, and it can utilize these abilities to bewitch and deceive humans, rendering them senseless. A fox is said to be able to communicate with heaven and develop into a supernatural fox by the time it is more than 1,000 years old.

A huli jing can change into a young or old lady or man, unlike a kitsune or kumiho, which typically assume the form of a lovely woman. The huli jing frequently assumes the form of an attractive young woman, but it can also masquerade as a charming young man or wise elder. A huli jing is typically thought to have ulterior purposes if it appears in human form.

8. Huli Jing in Human Form is Always Exposed in Front of Dogs and May Quickly Revert to Their Fox Form

The huli jing's foxlike characteristics, such as the resemblance of a tail or ears, may occur even in human form.

If a huli jing is found in its human form, humans may kill it as payback for its dishonest actions without worrying about retaliation. In a similar vein, it is well known that all varieties of spirit foxes, such as huli jing, kitsune, and kumiho, are terrified of dogs. A fox in human form may become so agitated when approached by a dog that it transforms back into a fox and flees. Some reports claim that huli jing can only assume human form during the daytime.

9. Chinese Fox Spirits Can Also Be a Sign of Disaster, Death, and War

Getting older Huli jing are shape-shifting beings with the capacity to assume human form. Some legends claim that the fox performs a rite in which it places a human skull on its head in order to undergo this transition. These supernatural beings are endowed with a variety of supernatural abilities, including the ability to speak human language, speak deception or glamours, vanish and reappear, transform into mist, communicate with heaven, and live forever. The arrival of foxes might also be a sign of death, heralding conflict and disaster.

According to Chinese culture, foxes can be either good or wicked depending on their relationships with humans and their nature. These spirit foxes manifest in a variety of ways, including nightmares, haunting people or places, inflicting disease or death, awarding money or prosperity, providing reproductive or healing services, or delivering moral advice.

10. Most of the Time, They Seduce Men By Using Their Gorgeous Female Appearance

Taking on human form to take part in seduction is one of the most common dishonest strategies used by huli jing. Foxes employ a variety of techniques to draw out the essence or vitality of humans, including sexual activities. Additionally, huli jing has the ability to steal a person's life energy by stealing their breath when they are sleeping, even when they are still in their fox form. Foxes also take pleasure in playing the trickster role and deceiving people.

Foxes have been known to serve humans in a variety of ways, including by being devoted to their lovers, assisting them in finding misplaced goods, and giving gifts like immortality, money, and success. Some fox spirits, also known as huli jing, want to improve themselves by isolating themselves and practicing meditation to become divine.

11. Their Powers Are Set through Mediation & Growth in Spirituality

But not all huli jing have the same skills. The best foxes cultivate themselves by consuming natural essence to hone their spirits. To achieve immortality and divinity, they engage in purifying rituals and meditation. Foxes without this talent, however, concentrate on improving their physical attributes in order to charm, fool, and subdue humans. They improve their own spirits by taking on human life essence. Given that both huli jing are con artists aiming to advance spiritually, their nature is unclear.

12. Although They are Malicious, They are Also Spiritual, Highly Intelligent, and Loyal

A fox acquires the capacity to shape-shift into a human, improve its might, and develop magical skills after engaging in spiritual development for fifty or one hundred years. The huli jing's endeavor to achieve a higher state of being must include this transformation process as a key component. Even though foxes that need human essence to live forever must be treated with caution, they nevertheless deserve respect. Although huli jing have a reputation for being cunning tricksters, they are also wise, loyal, and spiritual beings.

13. Huli Jing and Kitsune Have Interesting Differences

Japanese folklore describes Kitsune as fox-like creatures that age and develop more tails as they get older, eventually evolving into more magical. However, Huli Jing are magical spirits by nature, thus while they too develop new skills as they age, this is not the case for them.

Most depictions of Huli Jing show them with extended tails, fox ears, and more coarse-grained denser hair, with fox paws in place of hands and feet similar to humans. Kitsune, on the opposite hand, have a more untamed appearance, with human-like hands that have long, pointed claws, feet that combine fox and human characteristics, and a smoother fur coat.

While tales portray Kitsune and Huli Jing as both good and evil, they are ethically ambiguous characters just like humans. However, only the Huli Jing have the capacity to enter a celestial condition. The Shinto goddess Inari's servant spirits, the kitsune, on the opposite end of the spectrum, can gain power but they never cease to be spirits.

14. Huli Jing and Kumiho Have Interesting Differences

The primary distinction between the two nine-tailed fox species—the Kumiho and the Huli Jing—is that Kumiho are frequently portrayed as evil and malevolent, whilst Huli Jing are not. Both species are native to China and Korea. The majority of tales portray Kumiho as seductive and deadly creatures, despite the fact that there are a few that mention good Kumiho.

The Kumiho have a voracious taste for human flesh as well as their victims' life energies, especially their internal organs like hearts and livers. It's even been claimed that they will scour graveyards for corpses to eat. Another significant distinction is that Kumiho cannot reach the skies, but they can change into humans if they abstain from eating human flesh for a thousand years. This is an uncommon accomplishment that is not frequently reached.

Physically, Kumiho are different from Huli Jing in that they have longer tails, human and fox ears, fox paws in place of feet, and human hands. Only one reported incident of a Kumiho changing into a man and few accounts of them changing into older women indicate that they also possess limited magical abilities. They are primarily known for their ability to shift into young women.

15. Huli Jing Are A Symbol For The Fear Of Attractive and Young Women

As people's perceptions of these creatures have varied throughout time, the Huli Jing has been connected to a variety of meanings throughout history. The Huli Jing originally signified fear of young, attractive women as a menace to married men and young adults, similar to the Kitsune and the Kumiho. In addition, foxes were considered a pest by the Chinese who also had a fear of the wild and issues they may cause to farmers and breeders of livestock.

In spite of these unfavorable associations, the Huli Jing was also revered as a divine spirit, showing people's respect for nature and their conviction that the celestial realm can be found there. A Huli Jing was thought to reach the heavens more swiftly if she avoided eating the life essence of others and concentrated instead on growing her own spirit and consuming the essence of nature.

16. The Huli Jing Have Appeared in Popular Culture and Stories of Fiction

The Huli Jing or characters based on them can be seen in a variety of media, such as the fantasy films Soul Snatcher from 2020 and the American cartoon series Love, Death & Robots from 2019, as well as dramas Once Upon a Time from 2017 and the fantasy film Painted Skin from 2008. Characters from the Huli Jing are also included in the 2021 Marvel hugely successful Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

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