Chinese zodiac, 1900-1921.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Print showing stylised Chinese star chart with associated explanatory text. In China, 28 asterisms are recognised along the line of the zodiac, the Sun's apparent path across the sky. The rest of the heavens are divided into quadrants known as the Black Tortoise (North), Red Bird (South), Green Dragon (East) and White Tiger (West). These differ from Western constellations in that the stars form patterns representing whole scenes rather than individual objects, animals or people.