Tiger Spirit

Bǎoshēng Dàdì 保生大帝, the God and Protector of Life, with his tiger assistant. (Contemporary water colour and ink painting by Wang Xingru at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, Canada.)
Hǔ shén 虎神 or Hǔ yé 虎爺 are the titles given to the tiger spirit or tiger guardian who is acts as either the mount of Zhao Gongming 趙公明, the God of Wealth or Cáishén 財神, or the attendant of Bǎoshēng Dàdì 保生大帝, the God and Protector of Life. 

His shrine is usually placed below a temple's main altar, but there are temples dedicated solely to him in Taiwan.

A wooden statue (18-19th century) of God of Wealth Cáishén 財神 on his tiger mount.

I am not sure if the tiger with Cáishén 財神 is the same as the one with Bǎoshēng Dàdì 保生大帝. Logically, it shouldn’t be the case. In any case, the tiger spirit is conferred the powers of the deity it serves/accompanies and devotees pray to it accordingly.

White tiger or Báihǔ 白虎 carving. (Pic from Wikipedia entry on the White Tiger.)

Apart from the tiger spirits, the White Tiger or Báihǔ 白虎 is also worshipped in Malaysia. I have read that he is sometimes known as the Tiger General, but I’ve also read that he is not to be confused with the Tiger General. Some sites say he is the same tiger associated with Cáishén 財神 is the same as the one with Bǎoshēng Dàdì 保生大帝. Other immortals linked to or depicted with tigers are Zhāng Dàolíng 張道陵; Tudigong 土地公 (below whose altar the tiger shrine is often placed); and Sūn Sīmiǎo 孫思邈. 

The White Tiger is of course one of the guardians of the four cardinal directions in Chinese astronomy. The White Tiger guards the West, the Blue Dragon the East; the Black tortoise the North; and the Red Bird the South. Many Daoist temples have paintings or carvings of the White Tiger and Blue Dragon by their left and right entrances respectively.

Tiger carving at Chia Kongsi, George Town, Penang.

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