Lion Dance Colour Represents Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Ma Chao, Wang Zhong, Zhao Yun
Traditionally, the colour of the lions represents the character in the Classic Historical Legend of the Three Kingdoms (三國時代) which consist of the emperor Liu Bei (劉備) and his five tigers admirals Guan Yu (關羽), Zhang Fei (張飛), Ma Chao (馬超), Wang Zhong (黄忠), and Zhao Yun (趙雲).
Back then, the lions were created to represent the character as remembrance of their wisdom and courage while each lion were specificly dance according to their character’s behavior, martial style and energetic movements.
The Emperor and his Five Tiger Generals (一王五虎)
Liu Bei’s Lion is known as “Rui Shi” The Auspicious Lion. The emperor features yellow based head as an Imperial shade with white beard for wisdom and a multi coloured rainbow tail representing the blessing of the five elements.
Guan Yu’s Lion is known as “Xing Shi” The Awakening Lion. It had a red face with long black beard and a red and black tail. Guan Gong Lion is a symbol of unity, chivalry and heroism.
Zhang Fei’s Lion is known as “Dou Shi” The Fighting Lion. He is well known for his fired temper and love to fight. Therefore his characteristic was featured by a black based head, black beard and white tail.
Zhao Yun (Zhao Zi Long)’s Lion as The Heroic Lion uses a green based head and a green tail with white fur. He fought through Cao Cao’s million man army and rescued Liu Bei’s infant and fought his way back out.
Wang Zhong’s Lion is known as The Righteous Lion, features a yellow based head and a yellow body with white fur. Representing seniority, Wang Zhong was still fighting on the battlefield in his 70’s, he has gained high recognition and respect from the locals.
Ma Chao’s Lion represented by a white coloured lion as he was significantly wearing a white band on his arm as mourning to his farther during his war revenge against Cao Cao(曹操) The King of Wei (魏王). Thus, the lion is recognise as “Xiao Shi” Filial lion
The Emperor is believed to have the blessings from the heaven and thus control of the five elements in Chinese Feng Shui that represented by the five tigers (Yellow = Earth, Black = Water, Green = Wood, Red = Fire, and White = Metal)
Throughout the evolution of the Silk Road Era, lion dance today had emerged into many colours and styles combining arts and creativity to the culture while preserving traditional element and values.
Some says red lion for good luck, yellow/gold lion for wealth, silver for good fortune, pink for good human relations while some likes it to match their sponsor’s corporate colour but most importantly regardless of the colours, lion dance is believed to have the ability to chase away the bad spirits and harvest good luck.