How ancient mythology inspired the legendary Pokemon Scarlet and Violet quartet

The Paldea region has some of the best end game Pokémon to date. But perhaps chief among them are four with many names: the Destructive Quartet, the Four Treasures of Ruin, Wo-Chien, Chien-Pao, Tin-Lu, and Chi-Yu.

As you might expect, there are significant spoilers ahead, so proceed at your own risk.

The four members of the quartet are the physical embodiment of hatred, fear and envy of the “king”. These Pokémon became so powerful that they had to be sealed in the Ruin Sanctuaries scattered across the Paldin region, one in each corner of the map.

But if a Trainer feels compelled to try and free one of these pitiful Pokémon, he’ll have a long journey ahead of him as he’ll need to find the matching Mysterious Stake.

Chinese inspiration for Paldean Legendries

As for these four monsters, as their name suggests, they are inspired by Chinese legends and beasts. The most obvious of these are the four auspicious beasts. The Four Auspicious Beasts are the Azure Dragon of the East, the Scarlet Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Tortoise of the North.

Each of these Auspicious Beasts has its own element associated with them, as well as human names and the four virtues (benevolentness, justice, wisdom, and perseverance).

Other than that, the inspiration for the Ruinous Quartet is likely varied. China has had many tyrannical emperors in its long and storied history. Although, no doubt, many of these legends have been stretched to the limit of plausibility, they may have served as an inspiration for the “king” who influenced the creation of the Ruinous Quartet.

There are emperors who lived a hedonistic life, riding their advisors like horses and taking the wives and daughters of their citizens to complete their harem. There are Emperors who were obsessed with immortality and sent endless soldiers to their deaths in search of the magical elixir of immortality. There are emperors who waged war on all the neighboring states, inflating China to the size it is today, but leaving the defeated citizens crippled and castrated.

It is quite possible that a dozen of these 259 emperors were the inspiration for the hated “king” who created so much malice that it bore physical fruit in the form of the Ruinous Quartet. But as far as how the Pokémon were actually sealed, it seems to be more of a Japanese inspiration.

There is no shortage of legends of perverted spirits and corrupted kami (spirits that embody concepts, things, or places) sealed in shrines in Japan. But the actual physical design of the Pokémon seems to be a combination of Japanese and Chinese designs.

Wo-Chien , the Dark-Grass snail, is the epitome of hatred for the one who documented the king’s crimes. It’s similar to Ghibli in the sense that it’s a grass-covered mountain, and it’s more like Kami. But Ting-Lu , the “doll” of the Dark Earth, personifying the townspeople’s fear of the king, has a bronze vessel “ding” in its head. Ding is an ancient Chinese cauldron used for many things and also as a place for ritual offerings.

Chi-Yu , on the other hand, seems to be a corruption of the goldfish/carp symbolism of good luck and the protective and wealth-accumulating aspects of Jade seen in Chi-Yu’s eyes. Chien Pao remains the most elusive. It is possible that this Pokémon is meant to represent the white mink farms found in China, combined with Baihu, the White Tiger of the Chinese constellations. But that would be a rather controversial move on the part of The Pokemon Company.

However, each of these Pokémon is clearly carefully crafted and designed, and in my opinion, these are some of the best legendary games we’ve had in a long time. Will you add one of these tormented spirits to your team?

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