The Four Symbols (四象, Sì Xiàng) are a recurring theme in the Final Fantasy series. They refer to the four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellation. These creatures represent the four cardinal directions and the four seasons, and they are known as:
- Azure Dragon (青龍; Qīng Lóng) - represents the direction East and the season Spring.
- Vermilion Bird (朱雀; Zhū Què) - represents the direction South and the season Summer.
- White Tiger (白虎, Bái Hǔ) - represents the direction West and the season Autumn.
- Black Tortoise (玄武, Xuán Wǔ) - represents the direction North and the season Winter.
While originating from China, the Four Symbols are also widely known in Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Each region have distinct names for the symbols. In Japan, the Shijin, as they are collectively known, are called Seiryū, Suzaku, Byakko and Genbu respectively. The symbols have permeated into pop culture, and have recurred in the series as follows.
Four Notorious Monsters are named according to the Japanese Shijin, and each refer to themselves as the "Divine Guardian" of the four cardinal directions. These monsters can be found at the Ru'Aun Gardens in Tu'Lia, but only after summoning them using a particular stone and gem named after their respective Season and Direction.
The boss monsters Slyt, Phoenix, Fenrir and Pandaemonium are each referred to the Sì Xiàng in their bestiaries. They are found at the Pharos at Ridorana both as bosses and a Mark hunted within the Subterra.
The world of Orience is made up of four nations, each containing a Peristylium, or magic academy, that holds a Crystal named after the Shijin.
An Artefact called the "Four-Deity Plate" is described as "a set of four small brooches, each crafted in the image of an Eastern Deity of direction. The intricate inlay of fine jewels suggests the collection once belonged to nobility".
The Shijin is referred to in the "Shijin Shield", a Mythril shield dedicated to the four shijin gods.
A mythril shield called "Shield of the Four" is described as "made in honor of the Four Gods" and "bears the symbols of the Four upon its surface".
The Four Fiends of The Final Fantasy Legend are servants of Ashura, and through him, the Creator. They are based on the Four Symbols of Chinese astrology and are given the Japanese names for those symbols. In the English version, they go by the name of Gen-Bu, Sei-Ryu, Byak-Ko, and Su-Zaku.