Ancient symbol of the "North". However very real, considered as one of the four 'mythical' animals, the other being the qilin, dragon and the phoenix. It symbolizes strength, endurance and longevity. Evolved over many centuries into Zhenwu, the Daoist God and superhuman warrior who in the Ming dynasty was adopted as the protector of the imperial household.
Traditionally all turtles was thought to be female why it for its reproduction needed to mate with snakes and that they because of this had no sense of shame.