Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Xiang

In , A Xiang is the driver of the chariot of the .

Jin Tian

Jin Tian, also known as Shao Hao, was a mythical emperor in 2600 BC. Legend says that his mother, a weaver goddess, was a beautiful fairy named Huange who fell in love with the planet Venus while drifting on the Milky Way. The two enjoyed many intimate nights together on her raft and they created a son. She soon gave birth to Shao Hao, who grew up to be a handsome young man with a lot of potential. His great uncle, Huang Di, was so impressed with him that he named him God of the Western Heavens. The myth says that Shao Hao created a kingdom in the five mountains of the Eastern Paradise that was inhabited by different types of birds. As the ruler of this bureaucratic land, he captured the identity of a vulture. Other birds worked below him, such as a as his Lord Chancellor, a hawk that delegated the law, and a that was in charge of education. He chose the four seasons of the year to watch over the remaining birds. Although his kingdom was successful for many years, he moved back to the west and left his kingdom of birds to his son Chong. With a different son, Ru Shou, he made his home on Changliu Mountain, where he could rule over the Western Heavens. In union as father and son, they were responsible for the daily setting of the sun. In addition, Shao Hao was thought to have introduced China to the twenty-five string lute.


Jiaolong or jiao is an aquatic in Chinese mythology, variously translated as a "hornless dragon", "scaly dragon", "flood dragon", "alligator", and "crocodile".


蛟 Character

In traditional Chinese character classification, ''jiao'' is a "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic character", combining the "insect " with a ''jiao'' "cross; mix; mingle; mate with; exchange" phonetic. This 虫 radical is frequently used in characters for insects, worms, and reptiles, and occasionally for dragons . This phonetic ''jiao'' 交 is also used with the "fish radical" in ''jiao'' "shark" and the "horse radical" in ''bo'' , which is a variant Chinese character for ''bo'' "mixed colors; piebald; confused".

In the Japanese writing system, the kanji 蛟 can be read ''mizuchi'' "a " in native ''kun'yomi'' or ''kō'' in Sino-Japanese ''on'yomi'' .


''Jiao'' 蛟's etymology is obscure. Carr, using Bernhard Karlgren's reconstruction of Old Chinese *kǒg 蛟, explains.
Most etymologies for ''jiao'' < *''kǒg'' 蛟 are unsupported speculations upon meanings of its phonetic *''kǒg'' 交 'cross; mix with; contact', e.g., the *''kǒg'' 蛟 dragon can *''kǒg'' 交 'join' its head and tail in order to capture prey, or moves in a *''kǒg'' 交 'twisting' manner, or has *''kǒg'' 交 'continuous' eyebrows. The only corroborated hypothesis takes *''kǒg'' 交 'breed with' to mean *''kǒg'' 蛟 indicates a dragon 'crossbreed; mixture'. Eberhard notes from an early time, 蛟 was considered an embodiment of the fish, snake, rhinoceros; or the tiger.
Compare the "tiger ''jiao''" below. In addition, Carr cites Wen Yiduo that ''jiaolong'' 交龍 "crossed dragons"' or ''jiaolong'' 蛟龍 were emblems of the mythological creators Fuxi and Nüwa, who are represented as having a human's upper body and a dragon's tail.

Schuessler reconstructs modern ''jiāo'' 蛟 "scaly dragon", "alligator", or "mermaid" as Middle Chinese ''kau'' and Old Chinese *''kr?u''. He suggests possible etymological connections with ''khruB'' or ''khyuB'' "mermaid; serpent" and ''klu'' "nāga; water spirits".


Chinese ''jiao'' is more frequently used in the ''jiaolong'' with the -''long'' "dragon" suffix than by itself. Take, for example, familiar ''chengyu'' "set phrases; 4-character idioms". ''Jiaolong'' occurs in several such as ''jiaolongdeshui'' 蛟龍得水 "in the most congenial surroundings; bold person getting a good opportunity" and ''jiaolongzhizhi'' 蛟龍之志 "a person with great ambitions". ''Jiao'' occurs abbreviating ''jiaolong'' with ''feng'' abbreviating ''fenghuang'' 鳳凰 "Chinese phoenix" in ''tengjiaoqifeng'' 騰蛟起鳳 "a rapidly rising literary/artistic talent; a genius".

Jiaolong occurs in Chinese toponyms. For example, the highest waterfall in Taiwan is Jiaolong Dapu 蛟龍大瀑 "Flood Dragon Great Waterfall" in the Alishan National Scenic Area.


"''Jiao'' < *''kǒg'' 蛟 is defined with more meanings than any other Chinese draconym", writes Carr , " 'aquatic dragon', 'crocodile; alligator', 'hornless dragon', 'dragoness', 'scaled dragon', 'shark' , and 'mermaid'."

In some textual usages, differentiating these ''jiao'' meanings is problematic. For instance, ''jiaolong'' 蛟龍 can be parsed as two kinds of dragons or one. Some contrastive contexts clearly use the former meaning "''jiao'' and ''long'' dragons"; the ''Zhuangzi'' parallels "the sea serpent or the dragon" with "the rhinoceros or the tiger." The latter meaning of "''jiao'' dragon" is evident from usages such as the ''Guanzi'' , "The ''kiao-lung'' is the god of the water animals. If he rides on the water, his soul is in full vigour, but when he loses water , his soul declines. Therefore I say: 'If a ''kiao-lung'' gets water, his soul can be in full vigour'."

Aquatic dragon

''Jiao'' and ''jiaolong'' were names for a legendary river dragon.

The mythological ''Shanhaijing'' "Classic of Mountains and Seas" mentions ''jiao'' and ''hujiao'' 虎蛟 "tiger ''jiao''", but notably not ''jiaolong''. The "Classic of Southern Mountains" records ''hujiao'' in the Yin River 泿水.
The River Bank rises here and flows south to empty into the sea. There are tiger-crocodiles in it. Their bodies look like a fish's, but they have a snake's tail and they make a noise like mandarin ducks. If you eat some, you won't suffer from a swollen abscess, and it can be used to treat piles.
The commentary of Guo Pu glosses ''hujiao'' as "a type of dragon that resembles a four-legged snake." The "Classic of Central Mountains" records ''jiao'' in the Kuang River 貺水 and Lun River 淪水: "There are numerous alligators in the River Grant" and "The River Ripple contains numbers of alligators". Guo adds that the ''jiao'' "has a small head, narrow neck, white scales, is oviparous, can grow up to ten meters long, and eats people."

Wolfram Eberhard quotes the ''Moke huixi'' 墨客揮犀 for the "best definition" of a ''jiao'', "looks like a snake with a tiger head, is several fathoms long, lives in brooks and rivers, and bellows like a bull; when it sees a human being it traps him with its stinking saliva, then pulls him into the water and sucks his blood from his armpits." He concludes that the ''jiao'', which "occur in the whole of Central and South China", "is a special form of the snake as river god. The snake as river god or god of the ocean is typical for the coastal culture, particularly the sub-group of the Tan peoples."

''Jiao'' 蛟 is sometimes translated as "flood dragon". The ''Yuhu qinghua'' 玉壺清話 says people in the southern state of called it ''fahong'' 發洪 "swell into a flood" because they believed flooding resulted when ''jiao'' hatched. The ''Chuci'' uses the term ''shuijiao'' 水蛟 "water ''jiao''": "Henceforth the water-serpents must be my companions, And dragon-spirits lie with me when I would rest."

Crocodile or Alligator

Besides a legendary dragon, ''jiao'' and ''jiaolong'' anciently named a four-legged water creature, identified as both "alligator" and "crocodile". The "Dragons and Snakes" section of the ''Bencao Gangmu'', which is a comprehensive Chinese materia medica, differentiates between ''jiaolong'' 蛟龍 "Saltwater Crocodile, ''Crocodylus porosus''" and ''tolong'' 鼉龍 "Chinese Alligator, ''Alligator sinensis''". Most early references describe the ''jiaolong'' as living in rivers, which fits not only this freshwater "Chinese alligator" but also the "Saltwater crocodile" that spends the tropical wet season in freshwater rivers and swamps. Comparing maximum lengths of 6 and 1.5 meters for this crocodile and alligator respectively, "Saltwater crocodile" seems more consistent with descriptions of ''jiao'' reaching lengths of several ''zhang'' "approximately 3.3 meters".

Three classical texts repeat a sentence about capturing water creatures at the end of summer; 伐蛟取鼉登龜取黿 "attack the ''jiao'' 蛟, take the ''to'' 鼉 "alligator", present the ''gui'' 龜 "tortoise", and take the ''yuan'' 黿 "soft-shell turtle"."

Early texts frequently mention capturing ''jiao''. The ''Hanshu'' records catching a ''jiao'' 蛟in 106 BCE. The ''Shiyiji'' 拾遺記 has a ''jiao'' story about Emperor Zhao of Han . While fishing in the Wei River, he
caught a white ''kiao'', three chang long, which resembled a big snake, but had no scaly armour The Emperor said: 'This is not a lucky omen', and ordered the Ta kwan to make a condiment of it. Its flesh was purple, its bones were blue, and its taste was very savoury and pleasant.
The historicity of such accounts can be dubious. The ''Shiji'' biography of Emperor Gaozu of Han recounts a legend that his mother dreamed of a ''jiaolong'' before his birth.

Hornless dragon

The ''Shuowen Jiezi'' dictionary defines ''jiao'' 蛟 as "A kind of dragon, a hornless dragon is called ''jiao''. It explains that "if the number of fish in a pond reaches 3600, a ''jiao'' will come as their leader, and enable them to follow him and fly away." However, "if you place a fish trap in the water, the ''jiao'' will leave." According to the ''Chuci'' commentary of Wang Yi 王逸 , the ''jiao'' is a "hornless dragon" or a "small dragon", perhaps implying a young or immature dragon.

Note the pronunciation similarity between ''jiao'' 蛟 and ''jiao'' "horn". ''Jiaolong'' 角龍 "horned dragon", which is the Chinese name for the Ceratops dinosaur, occurs in Ge Hong's '' Baopuzi'' "the horned dragon can no longer find a place to swim."

Female dragon

''Jiao'' meaning "female dragon; dragon mother" is first recorded in the Buddhist dictionary ''Yiqie jingyinyi'' 一切經音義 . It defines ''jiaolong'' as "a fish with a snake's tail," notes the Sanskrit name ''guanpiluo'' 官毘羅 "''kumbhīra''; crocodile; alligator", and quotes Ge Hong's ''Baopuzi'' 抱朴子 that ''jiao'' 蛟 means "dragon mother, dragoness" and '''' "horned dragon" means "dragon child, dragonet". However, the received edition of the ''Baopuzi'' does not include this statement. The ''Piya'' dictionary repeats this "female dragon" definition.

Scaly dragon

The ''Guangya'' defines ''jiaolong'' as "scaly dragon; scaled dragon", using the word ''lin'' [[Wikt:鱗|�"scales ". Many later dictionaries copied this meaning, but it lacks textual corroboration.


''Jiao'' 蛟 was an interchangeable graphic loan character for ''jiao'' 鮫 "shark", usually called the ''jiaoyu'' 鮫魚 or ''shayu'' 鯊魚. ''Jiaoge'' 鮫革 means "sharkskin". Several texts record that soldiers from the southern state of made strong armor with skin from ''jiao'' sharks and hides from rhinoceros.


''Jiaoren'' 蛟人 "dragon person" or 鮫人 "shark person" "mermaid" is a later meaning of ''jiao''. The ''Shuyiji'' 遹異記 "Records of Strange Things" first mentions a mythical southern mermaid who spins silk underwater and sheds pearls for tears. The raw silk supposedly spun by mermaids was called ''jiaoxiao'' 蛟綃 "mermaid silk" or ''jiaonujuan'' 蛟女絹 "mermaid woman's silk".

Jade Emperor

The Jade Emperor , is the Taoist ruler of Heaven and all realms of existence below including that of Man and Hell according to a version of . He is one of the most important gods of the Chinese traditional religion .

The Jade Emperor is known by many names including Heavenly Grandfather which is used by commoners, the Pure August Jade Emperor, August Personage of Jade , the Xuanling High Sovereign, and his rarely used formal title, ''Peace Absolving, Central August Spirit Exalted, Ancient Buddha, Most Pious and Honorable, His Highness the Jade-Emperor, Xuanling High Sovereign'' .

A crater on Saturn's moon discovered by Voyager 2 spacecraft was named after him.

Chinese mythology

There are many stories in Chinese mythology involving the Jade Emperor.


It was said that the Jade Emperor was originally the crown prince of the kingdom of Pure Felicity and Majestic Heavenly Lights and Ornaments. At birth he emitted a wondrous light that filled the entire kingdom. When he was young, he was kind, intelligent and wise. He devoted his entire childhood to helping the needy . Furthermore, he showed respect and benevolence to both men and creatures.
After his father died, he ascended the throne. He made sure that everyone in his kingdom found peace and contentment. After that, he told his ministers that he wished to cultivate Tao on the Bright and Fragrant Cliff.
After 1,550 kalpas, each kalpa lasting for 129,600 years, he attained Golden Immortality. After another one hundred million years of cultivation, he finally became the Jade Emperor.

Vanquishing evil

There is a little known myth which tells of how the Jade Emperor became the monarch of all the deities in heaven. It is one of the few myths in which the Jade Emperor really shows his might.

In the beginning of time, the earth was a very difficult place to live; a much harsher place to live in than it is now. Men were having tremendous difficulty coping with existence; not only did men have to deal with harsh conditions, but also with all kinds of monstrous beings. At this time, there were also not many gods or deities to protect men. Furthermore, a lot of powerful, evil demons were defying the immortals of heaven. The Jade Emperor was still at the time an ordinary immortal who roamed earth to help as many people as he could. He was, however, saddened by the fact that his powers were limited and could only ease the sufferings of men. He decided to retreat in a mountain cave and cultivate his Dao. He passed 3,200 trials, each trial lasted for about 3 million years.

Unfortunately, a powerful, evil entity-- a demon of sorts, which dwelt on earth-- had the ambition to conquer the immortals and gods in heaven and proclaim sovereignty over the entire universe. It went into retreat later than the Jade Emperor. This evil entity retreated itself too and went into meditation to expand its power. He passed through 3,000 trials each trial lasting for about 3 million years too. After it passed its final trial, it felt confident that no one could defeat it anymore. It re-entered the world again, and recruited an army of demons with the purpose of attacking heaven.

The immortals being aware of the threat gathered themselves and prepared for war. The gods were unable to stop the powerful demon and all were defeated by it. The Three Pure Ones were leading the celestial beings at the time.

Fortunately, the Jade Emperor finished his cultivation in the midst of this war. He was changing the land to make it more liveable for men and repelling all kinds of monstrous beasts. Suddenly, he saw an evil glow emitting from heaven and knew something was amiss. He ascended and saw that a war was going on, he saw that the demon was too powerful to be stopped by any of the gods present. He went up and challenged the demon, and a battle ensued between them. Mountains shook and rivers and seas toppled; however, the Jade Emperor stood victorious due to his deeper and wiser cultivation, not for might but for benevolence. After defeating the demon, all the other demons were scattered by the gods and immortals.

Because of his noble and benevolent deeds, the gods, immortals and mankind proclaimed the Jade Emperor the supreme sovereign of all.


The world started with according to the Chinese creation myth, Jade Emperor was the head of the pantheon but not responsible to the creation process itself.

According to another version of creation myth, the Jade Emperor fashioned the first humans from clay, but as he left them to harden in the sun, it rained, misshaping some of the figures, thus explaining the origin of sickness and physical abnormalities

The story above is also told as Nüwa who fashions humans out of the mud from the Yellow River by hand. Those she made herself became the richer people of the earth. After getting lazy she used a rope and swung it around. The drops that fell from the rope became the poorer humans.

In The Journey to the West

In the popular novel by Wu Chengen, The Jade Emperor is featured many times in the story.

The princess and the cowherd

''Main article: ''

In another story, popular throughout Asia and with many differing versions, the Jade Emperor has a daughter named Chih'nü . She is most often represented as responsible for weaving colorful clouds in the heaven, in some versions she is instead a seamstress who works for the Jade Emperor. Everyday Chih'nü descended to earth with the aid of a magical robe to bathe. One day, a lowly cowherd named Niu Lang spotted Chih'nü as she bathed in a stream. Niu Lang fell instantly in love with her and stole her magic robe which she had left on the bank of the stream, leaving her unable to escape back to Heaven. When Chih'nü emerged from the water, Niu Lang grabbed her and carried her back to his home.

When the Jade Emperor heard of this matter, he was furious but unable to intercede, since in the meantime his daughter had fallen in love and married the cowherd. As time passed, Chih'nü grew homesick and began to miss her father. One day, she came across a box containing her magic robe which her husband had hidden. She decided to visit her father back in Heaven, but once she returned, the Jade Emperor summoned a river to flow across the sky , which Chih'nü was unable to cross to return to her husband. The Emperor took pity on the young lovers, and so once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, he allows them to meet on a bridge over the river.

The story refers to constellations in the night sky. Chih'nü is the star Vega in the constellation of Lyra east of the Milky Way, and Niu Lang is the star Altair in the constellation of west of the Milky Way. Under the first quarter moon of the seventh lunar month , the lighting condition in the sky causes the Milky Way to appear dimmer, hence the story that the two lovers are no longer separated in that one particular day each year.

The seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar is a holiday in China called Qi Xi, which is a day for young lovers much like Valentine's Day in the ; in Japan, it is called Tanabata , and in Korea, it is called Chilseok. If it rains on that day, it is said to be Chih'nü crying tears at being reunited with her husband.

The zodiac

There are several stories as to how the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac were chosen. In one, the Jade Emperor, although having ruled Heaven and Earth justly and wisely for many years, had never had the time to actually visit the Earth personally. He grew curious as to what the creatures looked like. Thus, he asked all the animals to visit him in heaven. The cat, being the most handsome of all animals, asked his friend the rat to wake him on the day they were to go to Heaven so he wouldn't oversleep. The rat, however, was worried that he would seem ugly compared to the cat, so he didn't wake the cat. Consequently, the cat missed the meeting with the Jade Emperor and was replaced by the . The Jade Emperor was delighted with the animals and so decided to divide the years up amongst them. When the cat learned of what had happened, he was furious with the rat and that, according to the story, is why cats and rats are enemies to this day.

His predecessor and successor

The Jade Emperor was originally the assistant of the Divine Master of the
Heavenly Origin, Yuan-shi tian-zun. Yuan-shi tian-zun is said to be the supreme beginning, the limitless and eternal creator of Heaven and Earth, who picked Yu-huang, or the Jade Emperor, as his personal successor. The Jade Emperor will eventually be succeeded by the Heavenly Master of the Dawn of Jade of the Golden Door. The characters for both are stamped on the front of the arms of his throne.

Worship and festivals

The Jade Emperor's Birthday is said to be the ninth day of the first lunar month. On this day Daoist temples hold a Jade Emperor ritual at which priests and laymen prostrate themselves, burn incense, and make food offerings.

Chinese New Year's Eve is also a day of worship as it is said to be the day the Jade Emperor makes his annual inspection of the deeds of mortals and rewards or punishes them accordingly. On this day incense is burned in the home and offerings are made to the Jade Emperor and also to Zao Jun, the god of kitchen who reports to the Emperor on each family.

A temple in Hong Kong is located at A Kung Ngam and is also called "Yuk Wong Po Tin" . In the mid 19th century, people from Huizhou and Chaozhou mined stones in the hill for the development of the central urban area. They set up a shrine to worship Yuk Wong. At the beginning of the 20th century, the shrine was developed into a small temple and was renovated many times. The latest renovation was in 1992.

In popular culture

In the television series ''Stargate SG-1'', the Goa'uld System Lord is presumably based on the Jade Emperor, though whether Lord Yu is supposed to be the originator of the related myth, or merely impersonated the deity among the ancient Chinese is unclear.

Akito Sohma, the antagonist of the anime and manga ''Fruits Basket'', is based on the Jade Emperor.

In the manga ''Fushigi Yūgi'', the identity of Tai Yi-Jun , the oracle who created the Universe of the Four Gods, is eventually revealed to be the Jade Emperor.

In the 2008 film ''The Forbidden Kingdom'' the Jade Emperor is one of the minor characters.


Hundun " with the common Daoist usages in a "paradise lost theme".

Daoist texts

''Hundun'' commonly occurs in classics of philosophical Daoism. The ''Daodejing'' does not mention ''hundun'' but uses both ''hun'' graphic variants. One section uses ''hun'' 渾 "bemuddle": "The sage is self-effacing in his dealings with all under heaven, and bemuddles his mind for the sake of all under heaven." Three others use ''hun'' 混 "bound together," "muddled," and "featureless":
*"These three cannot be fully fathomed, Therefore, They are bound together to make unity."
*"plain, as an unhewn log, muddled, as turbid waters, expansive, as a broad valley"
*"There was something featureless yet complete, born before heaven and earth."

The ''Zhuangzi'' has a famous parable involving emperors ''Hundun'' 渾沌, ''Shu'' "a fish name; abrupt; quick", and ''Hu'' "ignore; neglect; sudden". Girardot cites Marcel Granet that Shu and Hu synonymously mean "suddenness; quickness" and "etymologically appear to be linked to the images of lightning and thunder, or analogously, flaming arrows." The "Heavenly Questions" chapter of the ''Chu Ci'' uses Shu and Hu as one name: "Where are the hornless dragons which carry bears on their backs for sport? Where is the great serpent with nine heads and where is the Shu-Hu?"
The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu , the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu , and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun . Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. "All men," they said, "have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn't have any. Let's trying boring him some!" Every day they bored another hole, and on the seventh day Hun-tun died.
Compare Watson's renderings of the three characters with other ''Zhuangzi'' translators.
*Change, Suddenness, Confusion — Frederic H. Balfour
*Sh?, H?, Chaos — James Legge
*Change, Uncertainty, Primitivity — Yu-Lan Fung
*Shu, Hu, Hun Tun — Herbert Giles
*Immediately, Suddenly, Undifferentiation — James R. Ware
*Light, Darkness, Primal Chaos — Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English
*Fast, Furious, Hun-t'un — A.C. Graham
*Lickety, Split, Wonton — Victor H. Mair
*Change, Dramatic, Chaos — Martin Palmer
*Helter, Skelter, Chaos — Wang Rongpei

Two other ''Zhuangzi'' contexts use ''hundun''. Chapter 11 has an allegory about Hong Meng 鴻蒙 "Big Concealment", who "was amusing himself by slapping his thighs and hopping around like a sparrow", which Girardot interprets as shamanic dancing comparable with the ''Shanhaijing'' below. Hong Meng poetically reduplicates ''hunhun-dundun'' 渾渾沌沌 "dark and undifferentiated chaos" in describing Daoist "mind-nourishment" meditation.
"You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves. Smash your form and body, spit out hearing and eyesight, forget you are a thing among other things, and you may join in great unity with the deep and boundless. Undo the mind, slough off spirit, be blank and soulless, and the ten thousand things one by one will return to the root – return to the root and not know why. Dark and undifferentiated chaos – to the end of life none will depart from it. But if you try to know it, you have already departed from it. Do not ask what its name is, do not try to observe its form. Things will live naturally and of themselves."
Chapter 12 tells a story about the Confucian disciple becoming dumbfounded after meeting a Daoist sage. He reported back to Confucius, who denigrated ''Hundun Shi zhi shu'' 渾沌氏之術 "Mr. Hundun's techniques/arts".
"He is one of those bogus practitioners of the arts of Mr. Chaos. He knows the first thing but doesn't understand the second. He looks after what is on the inside but doesn't look after what is on the outside. A man of true brightness and purity who can enter into simplicity, who can return to the primitive through inaction, give body to his inborn nature, and embrace his spirit, and in this way wander through the everyday world – if you had met one like that, you would have had real cause for astonishment. As for the arts of Mr. Chaos, you and I need not bother to find out about them."

The ''Huainanzi'' has one occurrence of ''hundun'' 渾沌 in a cosmological description.
Heaven and earth were perfectly joined , all was chaotically unformed ; and things were complete yet not created. This is called of the Great One. . All came from this unity which gave to each thing its differences: the birds, fish, and beasts. This is called the lot of things.
Three other ''Huainanzi'' chapters use ''hun'', for example, the compound ''hunhun cangcang'' 渾渾蒼蒼 "pure and unformed, vast and hazy".
The world was a unity without division into classes nor separation into orders : the unaffectedness and homeliness of the natural heart had not, as yet, been corrupted: the spirit of the age was a unity, and all creation was in great affluence. Hence, if a man with the knowledge of I appeared, the world had no use for him.

The ''Liezi'' uses ''hunlun'' 渾淪 for ''hundun'', which is described as the confused state in which ''qi'' 氣 "pneuma; breath", ''xing'' 形 "form; shape", and ''zhi'' 質 "matter; substance" have begun to exist but are stilled merged as one.
There was a Primal Simplicity, there was a Primal Commencement, there were Primal Beginnings, there was a Primal Material. The Primal Simplicity preceded the appearance of the breath. The Primal Beginnings were the breath beginning to assume shape. The Primal Material was the breath when it began to assume substance. Breath, shape and substance were complete, but things were not yet separated from each other; hence the name "Confusion." "Confusion" means the myriad things were confounded and not yet separated from each other.

Other texts

The ''Shanhaijing'' collection of early myths and legends uses ''hundun'' 渾敦 describing a '''' 神 "spirit; god" on Tian Shan 天山 "Heaven Mountain".
There is a god here who looks like a yellow sack. He is scarlet like cinnabar fire. He has six feet and four wings. He is Muddle Thick. He has no face and no eyes. He knows how to sing and dance. He is in truth the great god Long River.
This "great god Long River" translates Di Jiang 帝江 "Emperor Yangtze River", which is identified with Huang Di 黄帝 "Yellow Emperor". Toshihiko Izutsu suggests that singing and dancing here and in ''Zhuangzi'' refers to shamanic trance-inducing ceremonies, "the monster is said to be a bird, which is most probably an indication that the shamanistic dancing here in question was some kind of feather dance in which the shaman was ritually ornamented with a feathered headdress."

The ''Shen yi jing'' 神異經 "Classic of Divine Wonders" records a later variation of Hundun mythology. It describes him as a divine dog who lived on Mt. Kunlun, the mythical mountain at the center of the world.
It has eyes but can't see, walks without moving; and has two ears but can't hear. It has the knowledge of a man yet its belly is without the five internal organs and, although having a rectum, it doesn't evacuate food. It punches virtuous men and stays with the non-virtuous. It is called. Hun-tun. ] Hun-tun was Meng-shih's untalented son. He always gnaws his tail, going round and round. Everyone ridiculed him.

A poem in the Tang Dynasty collection refers to the ''Zhuangzi'' myth and reminisces about ''Hundun''.
How pleasant were our bodies in the days of Chaos, Needing neither to eat or piss! Who came along with his drill And bored us full of these nine holes? Morning after morning we must dress and eat; Year after year, fret over taxes. A thousand of us scrambling for a penny, We knock our heads together and yell for dear life.
Note the addition of two holes to the original seven .


''Hundun'' myths have a complex history, with many variations on the "primordial chaos" theme and associations with other legends.

The sociologist and historian Wolfram Eberhard analyzed the range of various ''hundun'' myths in his book on local cultures in South and East China. He treated it as a World egg mythic "chain" from the southern Liao culture, which originated in the Sichuan and Hubei region.
#''Hundun'' creation myths involving humanity being born from a "thunder-egg" or lump of flesh, the son of an emperor, the Thunder god represented as a dog with bat wings, localized with the Miao people and Thai people.
#''The animal Lei'' "is a creature like a lump, without head, eyes, hands, or feet. At midnight it produces noises like thunder."
#''The hundun dumplings'', etymologically connected with "round", "unorganized; chaotic", and perhaps the "round mountain" Kunlun.
#''The world-system huntian'' 渾天 in ancient Chinese astronomy conceptualized the universe as a round egg and the earth as a yolk swimming within it.
#''The sack and the shooting of the god'' connects sack-like descriptions of ''hundun'', perhaps with "sack" denoting "testicles", legends about Shang Dynasty king who lost a game of chess with the god Heaven and suspended a sack filled with blood and shot arrows at it, and later traditions of shooting at human dolls.
#''Pangu'' 盤古 is the mythological creator of the universe, also supposedly shaped like a sack, connected with dog mythologies, and who grew into a giant in order to separate Heaven and Earth.
#''Heaven and earth as marital partners'' within the world-egg refers to the theme of Sky father and Earth Mother goddess.
#''Zhongli'' 重黎 or 融黎 is identified with 祝融 "god of fire", which is a mythology from the southern state , with variations appearing as two gods Zhong and Li.
#''Zhongli'' 重黎 clan, which has variant writings, originated in the Ba , near present-day Anhui.
#''The brother-sister marriage'' is a complex of myths explaining the origins or mankind , and their first child is usually a lump of flesh, which falls into pieces and populates the world. In later mythology, the brother Fu Xi and sister Nüwa, who lived on Mt. Kunlun, exemplify this marriage.

Norman J. Girardot, professor of Chinese religion at Lehigh University, has written articles and a definitive book on ''hundun''. He summarizes this mythology as follows.
#The ''hun-tun'' theme in early Taoism represents an ensemble of mythic elements coming from different cultural and religious situations.
#The symbolic coherence of the ''hun-tun'' theme in the Taoist texts basically reflects a creative reworking of a limited set of interrelated mythological typologies: especially the cosmic egg-gourd, the animal ancestor-cosmic giant, and primordial couple mythologies. The last two of these typologies are especially, although not exclusively, linked to what may be called the deluge cycle of mythology found primarily in southern local cultures.
#While there may also be a cultural connection between the southern deluge cycle and the cosmogonic scenario of the cosmic egg , the fundamental linkage for all these typologies is the early Taoist, innovative perception of a shared symbolic intention that accounts for, and supports, a particular cosmogonic, metaphysical, and mystical vision of creation and life.

Interpretations of ''Hundun'' have expanded from "primordial chaos" into other realms. For instance, it is a keyword in ''Neidan'' "Chinese internal alchemy". Robinet explains, "Alchemists begin their work by "opening" or "boring" ''hundun''; in other words, they begin from the Origin, infusing its transcendent element of precosmic light into the cosmos in order to reshape it."

Huang Long (mythology)

Huang Long is a hornless dragon who once emerged from the River Luo and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Xi with the elements of writing. According to legend, when it appeared before Fu Xi, it filled a hole in the sky made by the monster Kung Kung. Its waking, sleeping and breathing determined day and night, season and weather.

In East Asian culture, there's sometimes a fifth Guardian Beast of the . This deity is the guardian of the center and it represents the element earth, the Chinese quintessence, as well as the changing of the seasons.

Huang Long doesn't appear in Japanese mythology: the fifth element in the Japanese elemental system is Void. So there cannot be an animal representing it. Because of this, Huang Long is often forgotten. However, some consider the ''Ouryu'' as the Japanese counterpart of Huang Long since they share some similarities.

The dragon as symbol of imperial authority

At the end of his reign, the first legendary Emperor was said to have been immortalized into a dragon that resembled his emblem, and ascended to Heaven. Since the Chinese consider Huang Di as their ancestor, they sometimes refer to themselves as "the descendants of the dragon". This legend also contributed towards the use of the Chinese dragon as a symbol of imperial power.


In legend, hsigo are flying monkeys with human faces and wings.

The flying monkeys in ''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'' could be considered hsigo.

Hong (rainbow-dragon)

Hong or jiang was a two-headed in Chinese mythology, comparable with rainbow serpent legends in diverse cultures and mythologies.

Chinese "rainbow" names

has three "rainbow" words, regular ''hong'' 虹, literary ''didong'' 蝃蝀, and ''ni'' 蜺 "secondary rainbow".

Note that all these Chinese characters share a graphic element of ''chong'' "insect; worm; reptile; etc." , known in Chinese as Kangxi radical number 142 and loosely translated in English as the "insect radical". In traditional Chinese character classification, "radical-phonetic" or "phono-semantic" characters are statistically the most common category, and they combine a "" or determinative that suggests semantic field with a "phonetic" element that roughly indicates pronunciation. Words written with this 虫 radical typically name not only insects, but also reptiles, and other miscellaneous creatures, including some dragons such as '''' "aquatic dragon" and '''' "flood dragon". studying folk taxonomy discovered many languages have zoological categories similar to ''chong'' 虫, and Brown coined the portmanteau word ''wug'' meaning the class of "insects, worms, spiders, and smaller reptiles". Following Carr , "wug" is used as the English translation of the Chinese logographic radical 虫.


The regular script Chinese character for ''hong'' or ''jiang'' "rainbow" combines the "wug radical" with a ''gong'' "work" phonetic. Both Qin dynasty seal script and Zhou dynasty bronze script elaborated this same radical-phonetic combination. However, the oldest characters for "rainbow" in Shang dynasty oracle bone script were pictographs of an arched dragon or serpent with open-mouthed heads at both ends. Wolfram Eberhard notes, "In early reliefs, the rainbow is shown as a snake or a dragon with two heads. In West China they give it the head of a donkey, and it rates as a lucky symbol."

The ''Shuowen Jiezi'' dictionary, the first Chinese character dictionary, described the seal character for ''hong'' 虹 "rainbow" as 狀似蟲 "shaped like a wug". Over 18 centuries later, Hopkins described the recently-discovered oracle character for 虹.
What should we see in this simple but striking image? We should, I now feel sure, discern a Rainbow terminating in two animal heads. But of what animal? Certainly of the Dragon, must be the answer. For the design of the character is, in the main, naturalistic, in so far as it is clearly modeled on the semi-circular Bow in the sky, but symbolistic through the addition of two heads, for where the Rainbow ends, there the Dragon begins!
Hopkins elucidated.
It is the belief of the Chinese that the appearance of the Rainbow is at once the herald and the cause of the cessation of rain and the return of clear skies. … Now, if by his own volition, when mounting to the upper air, the Dragon could beget the rolling thunder and the drenching rain-storm, how should he not be able also, in descending, the cause the rain to cease, and the face of the blue sky to clear? And that is why I conjecture and suggest that the early Chinese must have seen in the Rainbow one avatar of the wonder-working Dragon as conceived by their animistic mentality. That would likewise explain why to the arching bow seen with their bodily eyes they added the Dragon heads beheld only by the eye of faith.

''Jiang'' is an uncommon pronunciation of 虹, limited to colloquial or dialectal usage, and unlike ''hong'' not normally found in . For instance, ''caihong'' "rainbow", ''hongcai'' "rainbow colors; iridescence; the iris; banners", ''hongqiao'' 虹橋 "arch bridge", and ''hongxi'' 虹吸 "siphon".


''Didong'' 蝃蝀 or 螮蝀 is a Classical Chinese word for "rainbow", now usually restricted to literary or historical usage. These three characters combine the "wug radical" with phonetics of ''zhuo'' 叕 "connect" or ''dai'' 帶 "girdle; sash" in ''di'' 蝃 or 螮 and ''dong'' 東 "east" in ''dong'' 蝀.


''Ni'' or means "secondary rainbow" or "supernumerary rainbow", which results from double reflection of sunlight, with colors inverted from a primary rainbow . These characters combine a phonetic of ''er'' "child" with either the "wug radical" 虫 or the "rain radical" . ''Ni'' 蜺 can also mean ''hanchan'' 寒蟬 "winter cicada", which is a "silent, mute" metaphor.

While ''hongni'' 虹霓 means "primary and secondary rainbows; rainbows", ''nihong'' 霓虹 is a loanword from English neon in expressions like ''nihongdeng'' 霓虹燈 "neon light", compare the chemical loanword ''nai'' "neon; Ne". ''Fuhong'' 副虹 means "secondary rainbow" in Chinese terminology.

Early textual references

Chinese classic texts dating from the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period referred to ''hong'', ''didong'', and ''ni'' rainbows.

The ''Shijing'' has the oldest known textual usages of ''hong'' and ''didong'', and both are bad omens. One poem uses 虹, which is interpreted as a loan character for ''hong'' "disorder; conflict; quarrel": "That kid with horns was truly a portent of disaster, my son!" Another poem begins with ''didong'' 蝃蝀: "There is a girdle in the east; No one dares point at it. A girl has run away, Far from father and mother, far from brothers young and old." Arthur Waley explains translating ''zhuo'' 蝃 "spider" as a loan for ''di'' 螮 "girdle".
The girdle is the rainbow. Its appearance announces that someone who ought not to is about to have a baby; for the arc of the rainbow typifies the swelling girdle of a pregnant woman. No one dares point at it, because pointing is disrespectful, and one must respect a warning send by Heaven."

"Although many ancient cultures believed rainbows were good omens," Carr explains, "the Chinese saw them as meteorological disasters. Unlike the auspicious 龍 dragon symbolizing forthcoming rain, the two-headed 虹 was inauspicious because it appeared after a rain shower." The ''Huainanzi'' says both rainbows and comets were warnings from ''tian'' "heaven; god". Several classic texts use the phrase ''baihong guan ri'' 白虹貫日 "bright rainbow threads the sun". For example, it is a portent of assassination in the ''Zhanguoce'' "a white halo pierced the sun." One notable exception is the ''Mengzi'' using ''yunni'' 雲霓 "cloud and rainbow" to describe the legendary Tang of Shang: "the people looked to him, as we look in a time of great drought to the clouds and rainbows."

The oldest Chinese dictionary, the ca. 3rd century BCE ''Erya'' says ''didong'' 螮蝀 was called ''yu'' "rain sacrifice", defines it as ''hong'' 虹 "rainbow", and says ''ni'' 蜺 "secondary rainbow" was called ''qie'er'' 挈貳 "lift/carry two." The commentary of Guo Pu notes rainbows were called ''yu'' in Jiangdong , and gives additional names of ''meiren'' 美人 "beautiful woman" and ''xiyi'' 析翳 "split cover/screen".

The ''Chuci'' has more rainbow occurrences than any other early text. It graphically interchanges ''ni'' 蜺 and ''ni'' 霓 except the latter is exclusively used in ''yunni'' 雲霓 "clouds and rainbows" . Many rainbows occur in ''Chuci'' descriptions of "flights" through the skies, frequently in contexts with other dragons, for instance : "To hang at my girdle the coiling Green Dragon, To wear at my belt the sinuous rainbow serpent ... A great rainbow flag Iike an awning above me, And pennants dyed in the hues of the sunset." This mythical Green or Azure Dragon ruling the eastern sky and the Vermilion Bird ruling the southern sky reoccur with ''baini'' 白霓 "Bright rainbows darting swiftly in the traces".

The ''Yueling'' 月令 "Monthly Ordinances" section of the ''Liji'' claims ''hong'' 虹 rainbows only appear during half the year. In the last month of spring, "Moles are transformed into quails. Rainbows begin to appear." In the first month of winter, "Pheasants enter the great water and become large mollusks. Rainbows are hidden and do not appear." Along with the rainbow, the ''shen'' 蜃 is considered to be a dragon.

Yin and Yang cosmology dichotomized between primary ''hong'' 虹 "Yang/male rainbow" and secondary ''ni'' 霓 "Yin/female rainbow". Marcel Granet analyzed ancient Chinese beliefs about rainbows, which were believed to emanate from interchanges between earthly Yin ''qi'' and heavenly Yang ''qi'' . Rainbows thus symbolized a sexual union of Yin-Yang and a competition between male and female river gods or dragons. Eberhard explains the Chinese symbolism.
The rainbow is seen as a resplendent symbol of the union of ''yang'' and ''yin''; it serves therefore as an emblem of a marriage. You should never point your finger at a rainbow. But the rainbow can have another meaning, in that it may appear when either husband or wife is more handsome and attractive than the other, and therefore enters upon an adulterous relationship. The rainbow is then an emblem of fornication or sexual abuse, and forebodes ill.
Like rainbows, dragons were explained in Yin-Yang theory. Rain-dragons supposedly had Yin powers since they controlled water. Edward H. Schafer says.
In China, dragon essence is woman essence. The connection is through the mysterious powers of fertilizing rain, and its extensions in running streams, lakes, and marshes. In common belief as in literature, the dark, wet side of nature showed itself alternately in women and in dragons. The great water deities of Chinese antiquity were therefore snake queens and dragon ladies: they were avatars of dragons precisely because they were equally spirits of the meres and mists and nimbus clouds.


The ca. 200 CE ''Shiming'' dictionary , which defines words through phono-semantic glosses, gave the oldest Chinese "etymologies" for rainbows.
*''Hong'' 虹 "rainbow" is ''gong'' 攻 "attack; assault", pure Yang ''qi'' attacking Yin ''qi''. 虹攻也,純陽攻陰氣也。
*Also called ''didong'' 蝃蝀, which always appears in the east when the sun is in the west, ''chuoyin'' 啜飲 "sucks" the ''qi'' from easterly water. It is called ''sheng'' 升 "rise; ascend" when seen in the west, appear when the morning sun begins to "rise". 又曰蝃蝀,其見每於日在西而見於東,啜飲東方之水氣也。見於西方曰升,朝日始升而出見也。
*Also called ''meiren'' 美人 "beautiful person", named after times when disharmony between Yin and Yang, marital disorder, rampant immorality, men and women considering one another "beautiful", constantly chasing after each other, and such overbearing behaviors are flourishing. 又曰美人,陰陽不和,婚姻錯亂,淫風流行,男美於女,女美於男,恒相奔隨之時,則此氣盛,故以其盛時名之也。

Using "etymology" in the usual Western sense of historical linguistics, Joseph Edkins first proposed Chinese ''hong'' 虹 "rainbow" was "doubtless a variant" of ''gung'' "bow" and compared it with ''lung'' "rainbow".

Carr compares Proto- and Proto-Austro-Tai etymological proposals for ''hong'' and ''didong''. Peter A. Boodberg thought *''g'ung'' < *''glung'' 虹 "rainbow " and *''lyung-t'lia'' 龍魑 "dragon" descended from a Proto-Sino-Tibetan *''s-brong'' "wug" root. Paul K. Benedict first thought *''lyung'' 龍 and *''g'ung'' 虹 were early Chinese borrowings from Proto-Austro-Tai *''ru?'' "dragon; rainbow"; but later saw *''g'ung'' < *''g'u?'' or *''kung'' 虹 "rainbow" and *''tiadtung'' < *''tiad-ung'' 蝃蝀 "rainbow" as semantically related with *''g'ung'' < *''gung'' "red".

For ''hong'' 虹 "rainbow", Schuessler reconstructs Old Chinese *''g??'' < *''glo?'' and compares "very irregular" dialect forms such as Proto- ''ghio?B'' and Shanggao dialect ''lɑnB-lu?H''. He lists etymological proposals of ''hong'' 虹 from Proto-Miao-Yao *''klu?A'' or Chinese ''long'' 龍 "dragon" and ''hong'' 紅 "red" . For ''jiang'' 虹 "rainbow", Schuessler reconstructs *''kr??h'' and notes the survival in Gan Wuning dialect ''k??C1''. He concludes the "wide range of forms" including ''didong'' 蝃蝀 < *''tês-t??'' < *''tês-tl??'' suggests a non-Sino-Tibetan "source for this etymon", possibly include Kam-Tai and words like ''tu2-tu?2'' or Proto- *''Dru?'' (cf. ''ru?C2'' "rainbow".

Mythological parallels

"''Hong'' < *''g'ung'' 虹 'rainbow' has always represented a dragon to the Chinese," says Carr , "from Shang oracle pictographs of dicephalous sky-serpents to the modern 虹 graph with the 'wug' radical." The mythic Chinese ''hong'' "rainbow" dragon has a few parallels in the natural world and many in comparative mythology .

Loewenstein compares rainbow-serpent legends throughout Southeast Asia, the Pacific, Australia, Africa, and South America; and concludes:
Myths of a giant rainbow-serpent are common among primitive tribes inhabiting the tropics. Outside the tropical belt the rainbow-serpent concept is hardly to be found. This points to the fact that the myth must be intimately connected with the occurrence and geographic distribution of a particular family of snakes, the Boidae, which includes the largest specimens in existence, namely the Pythons and the Boas.

The well-known Rainbow Serpent is central to creation myths of the Indigenous Australians . Some other examples include:
*Ayida-Weddo is a rainbow serpent loa of rainbows and fertility in Haitian Vodou
*Nehebkau is a two-headed snake in Egyptian mythology
*Sisiutl is a three-headed sea serpent, with one anthropomorphic and two reptilian heads, in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology
*Oshunmare is a male and female rainbow serpent in Yoruba mythology

Lastly, another Chinese rainbow myth involves the creator Nüwa 女媧 repairing a crack in the sky caused by the water deity Gong Gong 共工 . She supposedly created the first rainbow by melting stones of 5 or 7 different colors to patch the sky. Nüwa and her brother-consort Fuxi are represented as having the upper body of a human and the tail of a dragon or serpent. They are associated with ''yin'' and ''yang'', like secondary and primary rainbows.

Popular culture

*Rainbow Dragon, a "Crystal Beast" card in Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game
*Rainbow Dragon , a Commodore 64 soundtrack by Ben Daglish
*"Dragon or Rainbow Serpent" was a gunpowder-art project of Cai Guo-Qiang


In Chinese mythology the Fucanglong , Futs-Lung or Futs-Long, are the underworld s which guard buried treasures, both natural and man-made. Volcanoes are said to be created when they burst out of the ground to report to heaven.

Four benevolent animals

In Chinese mythology, Joseph Campbell identifies four benevolent animals that took abodes in the gardens of the palace of the Chinese Empire during the legendary period of the Yellow Emperor.

# The qilin qi2lin2, lord of warm-blooded quadrupeds.
# The long2, lord of scaly animals.
# The tortoise wu1gui1, lord of mollusks.
# The feng4huang2, lord of birds.

Epic of Darkness

The Epic of Darkness is a collection of tales and legends of primeval China in epic form, preserved by the inhabitants of the Shennongjia mountain area in Hubei. As such, it is the only such collection preserved by people classed as belonging to the nationality. It contains accounts from the birth of Pangu till the historical era.

Emperor Ku

Kù was a legendary Emperor of China. He is the great grandson of the Yellow Emperor. According to speculative dates he ruled from c. 2436 BC – c. 2366 BC. He established schools and was the first emperor to practise polygamy.

Dragon turtle

A dragon turtle is a legendary turtle with a dragonlike head. It combines two of the of Chinese mythology. It is promoted as a positive in Feng Shui. The dragon sits on top of large coins with a small turtle on its back representing fertility. It is believed that the dragon brings the occupants of a home wealth and security. The dragon is traditionally placed facing the window.

sometimes drew dragon turtles along with other fantastical creatures in unexplored areas - see here be dragons.

Dragon turtles in popular fiction

*, the arch-nemesis of Mario in the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise, is a well known dragon turtle.
*In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game are gigantic sea creatures, feared by sailors for their ability to capsize the largest ships. They are massively armoured and breath a cloud of scalding steam.
*Dragon turtles are monsters in some DragonQuest/DragonWarrior games, often called Tortragon.
* The Lion Turtle from avatar the last airbender, is influenced by the dragon turtle. as lions and dragons have relation in chinese mythology- for wiki edit.

East Sea (Chinese mythology)

East Sea is identified as the body of water east of the mainland, according to ancient geography. It contains modern day East China Sea as well as the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea.

In Chinese mythology, East Sea is the domain of Ao Guang, the ''Donghai Longwang'' , or "the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea", who is responsible for controlling its storms and tides. Supposedly, the Dragon King resides in a large "dragon palace", the ''Donghai Longgong'' , located at its bottom.


Dilong is a Chinese dragon name that is also used to mean "earthworm" in Traditional Chinese Medicine and "Geosaurus" in Zoological nomenclature.


In Chinese mythology, ''dilong'' 地龍 "earth dragon" is one of many types of ''-long'' dragons such as ''shenlong'' 神龍 "divine dragon" and ''huanglong'' 黃龍 "yellow dragon". Since ''di'' "earth; land; soil; ground" semantically contrasts with ''tian'' "heaven; sky" , the ''dilong'' is paired with the ''tianlong'' 天龍 "heavenly dragon". Chinese dragons were supposedly able to fly, and thus were considered celestial creatures rather than terrestrial ones like the "earthbound" ''dilong''. Two other exceptions are ''panlong'' 蟠龍 "coiled/curled dragon; a dragon that has not ascended to heaven" and ''tulong'' 土龍 "soil/earth dragon", which refers to the ''tuo'' "Chinese Alligator" .

''Dilong'' first occurs in the mid 7th-century CE History of Southern Dynasties biography of Liang Dynasty Admiral Wang Sengbian 王僧辯 . It says witnesses saw ''lianglong'' 兩龍 "two/paired dragons" that ascended into the sky, and this ''dilong'' "earth dragon" leaving Liang territory was interpreted as a portent of their defeat in 550 CE. Ronan and Needham cite another context in Wang's biography that says his boat had ''shuanglong'' 雙龍 "two dragons" on the side, which they construe as a "literary emendation" for ''shuanglun'' 雙輪 "two wheels" describing an early paddleboat.


''Dilong'' or ''dilongzi'' 地龍子 "earth dragon child" is an elegant name for the "earthworm; worm", which is usually called ''qiuyin'' . "''Long'' 龍 is employed in Chinese zoological nomenclature in much the same way that English ''dragon'' is used in ''dragonfly'' or ''dragonfish''", explains Carr . First, "''long'' names lifeforms thought to resemble dragons" ; second, "''long'' 龍 is closely associated with dinosaurs" .

''Dilong'' first means "earthworm" in the ''Qixiu Leigao'' 七修類稿 written by the Ming Dynasty scholar Lang Ying 郎瑛 . The 1578 Bencao Gangmu pharmacological entry for ''qiuyin'' 蚯蚓 "earthworm" lists alternate names of ''dilong'' and ''tulong'' 土龍 . Li Shizhen notes these names derive from the myth that earthworms can create ''yinqing'' 陰晴 "cloudy and clear; unsettled weather".

''Dilongsan'' 地龍散 "earth dragon powder" or Di Long is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is prepared from the abdomen of the Red earthworm, Lumbricus rubellus, and has many purported medicinal uses.

Other meanings

''Dilong'' 地龍 "earth dragon" is the modern Chinese term for the Mesozoic crocodilian ''Geosaurus'' . Contrast the feathered tyrannosaurid Dilong that was named from Chinese ''dilong'' 帝龍 "emperor dragon".

Chinese ''dilong'' or Japanese ''chiryū'' 地龍 is the name of a chess piece in Shogi. In Taikyoku shogi, this piece has 地龍 "earth dragon" written on one side and ''yulong'' or ''uryū'' 雨龍 "rain dragon" on the obverse.

One variety of Ditangquan martial arts is called ''Shaolin dilongquan'' 少林地龙拳 "Shaolin Earth Dragon Boxing".

In the Sexagenary cycle and Chinese astrology, ''duchen'' 土辰 "The Year of the Earth Dragon" is a recurring combination of Dragon with the , see Chinese calendar correspondence table and Tibetan calendar.


Dan Zhu was the son of Emperor . His mother was a concubine San Yi.

He was not very intelligent, and spent most his time playing a game called . Legend has it that when Emperor Yao wanted to replace Yihe Dan Zhu was recommended for the position but Emperor Yao disagreed, stating that Dan was not suitable at anything else other than Weiqi. In anticipation of Dan Zhu's anger, Yao exiled his son Dan Zhu to Yan , and appointed his son as his successor.


Chronomancy is divination of the best time to do something, the determination of lucky and unlucky days, especially popular in ancient China.

The term "chronomancy", stemming from the Greek word ''chronos'' , and the word ''manteia'' is also used in fiction to refer to a school of involving supernatural manipulation of time.

Time manipulation

While modern portrayals of magical time manipulation are commonly based on quantum physics and certain scientific theories, there is no concrete evidence of the perfected use of time manipulation.

The best known historical figure that has been believed to possess the power of chronomancy is the Count of St Germain, the eighteenth century philosopher, , and spiritualist. He has been believed to transcend time by reincarnation and eternal youth.

Fiction and games

Chronomancers are offered as a character class available to players in some games such as ''Bard's Tale III'', and are s capable of manipulating time. Typical abilities they have available involve making themselves move faster, curing aging, and time travel.

"Time Mages" also appears as a character class in the ''Final Fantasy'' video game series.

In expansion pack, the , there is a character who is a student of chronomancy, and offers to turn the player into a self-display by freezing him in time.

In EverQuest 2, Enchanters who chose to use their achievement points to increase their casting times, Can earn the title "Chronomancer"

Chinese mythology

Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written form. There are several aspects to Chinese mythology, including creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the . Like most mythologies, some people believed it to be true at least in part a factual recording of history.

Historians have conjectured that the Chinese mythology began in The myths and the legends were passed down in oral format for over a thousand years, before being written down in early books such as ''Shan Hai Jing''. Other myths continued to be passed down through oral traditions such as theatre and song, before being recorded in the form of novels such as ''Fengshen Yanyi''.

Records of Myths

A number of works record ancient Chinese mythology in their settled forms. Most myths extant today are derived from their recording in these works.

* ''Shan Hai Jing'' - Literally ''Mountain and Sea Scroll'', the ''Shan Hai Jing'' describes the myths, witchcraft, and religion of ancient China in great detail and also has a record of the geography, sea and mountains, history, medicine, customs, and ethnicities in ancient times. It has been called an early encyclopedia of China. In Wu Chinese, "talking about the ''Shan Hai Jing''" is an idiom meaning gossip or idle chat.
* ''Hei'an Zhuan'' - Epic of Darkness Literally ''Epic of the Darkness'', this is the only collection of legends in form preserved by a community of the Han nationality of China, namely, inhabitants of the Shennongjia mountain area in Hubei, containing accounts from the birth of Pangu till the historical era.
*Imperial historical documents and philosophical canons such as , Shiji, , Lüshi Chunqiu, and others.

Some myths survive in theatrical or literary formats, as plays or novels. Important mythological fiction which is seen as definitive records of these myths include:
* Verse poetry of ancient states such as ''Lisao'' by Qu Yuan of the Chu state.
* ''Fengshen Yanyi'' , or ''Anointing of the Gods'', which is mythological fiction dealing with the founding of the Zhou dynasty.
* ''Journey to the West'', by Wu Cheng'en, a fictionalised account of the pilgrimage of Xuanzang to India, in which the pilgrims encounter a variety of ghosts, monsters, and demons as well as the Flaming Mountains.
* ''Baishe Zhuan'', a romantic tale set in Hangzhou involving a snake who attained human form and fell in love with a man.

Myths and Legends

Creation myths

A unique characteristic of Chinese culture is the relatively late appearance in Chinese literature of creation myths. Those that do exist appear well after the foundation of Confucianism, Taoism, and Folk Religions. The stories exist in several versions, often conflicting, with the creation of the first humans being variously ascribed to Shangdi, Yu Huang, , Nuwa, Pangu. The following presents common versions of the creation story in roughly chronological order.

*Shangdi , appears in literature probably earlier than 700 BC as ''Huangtian Dadi'' 皇天大帝 very occasionally as 皇天上帝, , is possibly an attempt to Christianise Chinese god by religious advocates. When Huangtian Dadi was used it refers to Jade Emperor or Yu Huang, and Tian 天 and Jade Emperor were synonymous in Chinese prayers.

*Yu Huang , appears in literature after the establishment of Taoism in China, but the position of Yu Huang dates back to beyond the times of Huangdi, Nuwa or Fuxi.

*Tian , appears in literature probably about 700 BC, or earlier . There are no "creation" oriented narratives for 'Heaven', although the role of a creator is a possible interperatation. The qualities of 'Heaven' and Shangdi appear to merge in later literature . The extent of the distinction between them is debated. The sinologist Herrlee Creel proposes that an analysis of the Shang oracle bones shows Shangdi preceded 'tian' as a deity, and that Zhou Dynasty authors replaced the term Shangdi with tian to cement the claim of their influence. Again this is possible Christianization of Jade Emperor into God in the Christian Bibles.

*Nüwa , appears in literature no earlier than about 350 BC. Her companion was Fuxi , the brother and husband of Nuwa. These two beings are sometimes worshipped as the ultimate ancestor of all humankind. They sometimes believe that Nuwa molded humans from clay for companionship. They are often represented as half-snake, half-human creatures. Nüwa was also responsible for repairing the sky after Gong Gong damaged the pillar supporting the heavens .

*Pangu , written about 200 AD by the Daoist author Xu Zheng, was a later myth claiming to describe the first sentient being & creator.

Three August Ones and Five Emperors

Following on from the age of Nuwa and Fuxi was an age known as the Three August Ones and Five Emperors . This involves a collection of legendary rulers who ruled between c. 2850 BC to 2205 BC, the time preceding the Xia dynasty.

The list of names comprising the Three August Ones and Five Emperors vary widely between sources . The version in the widest circulation is:

*The Three August Ones :
**Fuxi - The companion of Nuwa.
**Shennong - Shennong, literally meaning "Divine Farmer", reputedly taught the ancients agriculture and medicine.
**Huang Di - Huang Di, literally meaning, and commonly known as, the "Yellow Emperor", is often regarded as the first sovereign of the Chinese nation.

*The Five Emperors :
**Shaohao - Leader of the Dongyi or "Eastern Barbarians"; his pyramidal tomb is in present-day Shandong province.
**Zhuanxu - Grandson of the Yellow Emperor
** Emperor Ku - Great grandson of the Yellow Emperor; nephew of Zhuanxu.
** - The son of Ku. His elder brother succeeded Ku, but abdicated when he was found to be an ineffective ruler.
** - Yao, passing over his own son, made Shun his successor because of Shun's ability and morality.

These rulers were generally regarded as extremely moral and benevolent rulers, examples to be emulated by latter day kings and emperors. When Qin Shi Huang united China in 221 BC, he felt that his achievements had surpassed those of all the rulers who have gone before him. Hence, he combined the ancient titles of ''Huang'' and ''Di'' to create a new title, Huangdi , usually translated as ''Emperor''.

Great Flood

passed his place as leader of the Huaxia tribe to Yu the Great . According to legend, the Yellow River was prone to flooding, and erupted in a huge flood in the time of . Yu's father, Gun, was put in charge of flood control by , but failed to alleviate the problem after 9 years. He was executed by , and Yu took his father's place, and led the people in building canals and levees. After thirteen years of toil, flooding problems were solved under Yu's command. Shun enfeoffed Yu in the place of , in present-day Wan County in Henan. On his death, Shun passed the leadership to Yu. The main source for the story of Yu and the Great Flood comes from The Counsels of Yu the Great in the Classic of History .

Because of his achievement in resolving the Great Flood, Yu, alone among the mythological rulers, is usually called "Yu the Great" . Alternatively, he is called Emperor Yu , like his predecessors.

Xia Dynasty

Upon Yu's death, his position as leader was passed not to his deputy, but was inherited by his son . Various sources differ as to the process by which Qi rose to this position. Most versions agree that during his lifetime, Yu had designated his deputy, , to be his successor. When Gaotao died before him, Yu then selected Gaotao's son, Bo Yi as successor. One version then says that all the peoples who had submitted to Yu admired Qi more than Boyi, and Yu passed power to Qi instead. Another version holds that Boyi ceremoniously offered the position to Qi, who accepted, against convention, because he had the support of other leaders. A third version says that Qi killed Boyi and usurped his position as leader.

A 4th version, the currently most accepted version in China says, Yu named Bo Yi as successor, because Bo Yi had achieve fame through teaching the People to use fire to drive animals during hunts. Bo Yi had the popular support of the People and Yu could not go against it easily. But Yu gave Bo Yi the empty successor title, without giving Bo Yi more responsibilities. Instead Yu gave his own son all the responsibilities of managing the country. After a few years, Bo Yi lose popularity without additional achievements, and Yu's son Qi became more popular among the People. Then Yu named Qi as the successor. Bo Yi, however, did not lose willingly. Bo Yi challenged Qi for leadership, and a civil war ensued. Qi with great support of the People, managed to defeat Bo Yi's forces, and killed Bo Yi, and solidified his rule.

In any case, Qi's succession broke the previous convention of meritorious succession, and began what is traditionally regarded as the first dynasty in Chinese history. The dynasty is called "" after Yu's centre of power.

The Xia Dynasty is considered at least semi-mythological. The ''Records of the Grand Historian'' and the ''Bamboo Annals'' record the names of 17 kings of the Xia Dynasty. However, there is no conclusive archaeological evidence of its capital or its existence as a state of any significant size. Archaeological evidence do not point towards a significant urban civilisation until the Shang Dynasty.

Shang Dynasty

, the last king of the Xia Dynasty, is said to be a bloodthirsty despot. Tang of Shang, a tribal leader, revolted against Xia rule and eventually overthrew Jie and established the Shang Dynasty, based in Anyang. The Shang Dynasty ruled from ca. 1766 BC to ca. 1050 BC. It came to an end when the last despotic ruler, , was overthrown by the new Zhou Dynasty. The end of the Shang Dynasty and the establishment of the is the subject of the influential mythological fiction, '''' .

Unlike the preceding Xia Dynasty, there is clear archaeological evidence of a government centre at Yinxu in Anyang, and of an urban civilisation in the Shang Dynasty. However, the remains an area of active research and controversy.

Creation and the Pantheon

The Jade Emperor is charged with running of the three realms heaven, hell and that of the living. The Jade Emperor adjudicates and metes out rewards and remedies to actions of saints, the living and the deceased according to a merit system loosely called the Jade Principles Golden Script 玉律金篇, see external links. When judgments proposed were objected to, usually by other saints, the administration would occasionally resort to the counsels of the advisory elders.


The Chinese dragon is one of the most important mythical creatures in Chinese mythology. The Chinese dragon is considered to be the most powerful and divine creature and is believed to be the controller of all waters. The dragon symbolised great power and was very supportive of heroes and gods. One of the most famous dragons in Chinese mythology is Ying Long, or "Responding Dragon". He is said to be the god of rain. Many people in different places pray to him in order to receive rain. In Chinese mythology, dragons are believed to be able to create clouds with their breath. often use the term "" as a sign of ethnic identity.

For the most part, Chinese myths involve moral issues which inform people of their culture and values. There are many stories that can be studied or excavated in China.

Religion and mythology

There has been extensive interaction between Chinese mythology and the major belief systems of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

On the one hand, elements of pre-existing mythology were adapted into these belief systems as they developed , or were assimilated into Chinese culture . On the other hand, elements from the teachings and beliefs of these systems became incorporated into Chinese mythology. For example, the belief of a spiritual became incorporated into mythology, as the place where immortals and deities dwell.

One possible explanation available is that there is no distinction between the religion factions in heaven, whether it is Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam or Catholicism, according to the text of ''Pantao Yen Log'' or ''The Feast of the Immortal Peaches'', ''Tiantang Yiuchi'' both of which alleged the five religions shared the same origin or source. These distinctions were made on earth, originally due to geography. Appellations to the purified and enlightened ''yuanling'' do contain distinctions, collectively these are known as Sheng Fo Xian Zhen .

*''Sheng'' is the honorary title for a deity from the Confucian school or mortal worthy of canonization due to deeds Confucian in nature. Guan Yu for his unwavering loyalty to the two brothers and to his king was a deified as Sheng. This term is also used for deity in the west.
*''Fo'' literally buddha, is a general term for any deity borrowed from Buddhism, including buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, and famous monastics.
*''Xian'' would be immortalised Taoist or adherents, like the famous Eight Immortals were all Taoist
*''Zhen'' is a general title applicable to all schools including the occidental saints.
* ''Xian'' used in conjunction with Sheng, as in ''Shengxian'' , a general title applicable to all saints.

All mortals including the likes of kings e.g. Three August Ones and Five Emperors or commoners like Ji Gong, Zhong Kui, Mulian, with deeds worthy of commendation, using yardstick similar to the Taoist ''Jade Principles Golden Script'' 玉律金篇, would eventually be considered as enlightened being, or as a ''yuanling''. To be a deity or god in the pantheon these enlightened would need to further carry out work or deeds on behalf of heaven, and eventually additional titles added.

Important mythologies and deities

*Three Pure Ones the Daoist trinity, beings first transformed from the primodial unity
** 元始天尊
** 靈寶天尊
** 道德天尊

* heavenly kings of Daoist religion
** Jade Emperor
** Beiji Dadi
** Tianhuang Dadi
** Empress of Earth

*Eight Immortals Daoist
** Lan Caihe , God of Brotherhoods. God of martial power. Also revered as God of War in that time.
*Zhao Gongming
*Bi Gan
*Bi Fang
*Kui Xing
*Sun Wukong
*Zao Jun
*Tu Di Gong
*Town god
*Zhong Kui
*Lung Mo
*Hung Shing
*Tam Kung
*Wong Tai Sin
*Meng Po
*Three August Ones and Five Emperors , a collection of legendary rulers
*Zhu Rong :
*Gong Gong :
*Chi You
*Da Yu
*Kua Fu
*Hou Yi
*Han Ba
*Wenchang Wang
*Gao Yao

Mythical creatures

* Bashe a snake reputed to swallow elephants
**Ji Guang
** A mythical bird supposed to have only one eye and one wing: 鶼鶼 a pair of such birds dependent on each other, inseparable, hence, represent husband and wife.
**Jingwei a mythical bird which tries to fill up the ocean with twigs and pebbles.
**Nine-headed Bird Used to scare children.
**Su Shuang a mythical bird, also variously described as a water bird, like the crane.
** Also known as Chinese roc.
**Qing Niao a mythical bird, the messenger of Xi Wangmu.
* Chinese dragon
**Yinglong, a powerful servant of Huang Di.
**Dragon King
**Fucanglong, the treasure dragon
**Shenlong, the rain dragon
**, the earth dragon
**Tianlong, the celestial dragon
**Li , lesser dragon of the seas. Is hornless.
**Jiaolong, a dragon of floods and the sea.
* Qilin, chimeric animal with several variations. The first giraffe sent as a gift to a Chinese emperor was believed to be the Qilin. An early Chinese painting depicts this giraffe replete with the fish scales of the Qilin.
* Longma , the "dragon horse", similar to the Qilin.
* a mythical one legged monster.
* , also known as a mythical giant monstrous fish.
* Jiang Shi
* Luduan can detect truth.
* Yaoguai — demons.
* Huli jing — fox spirits.
* Nian, the beast
* Ox heads & horse faces 牛頭馬面 messenger boy in Hell.
* Pixiu
* Rui Shi
* , Azure dragon of the east.
* , black warrior of the north.
* , white tiger of the west.
* , vermillion bird of the south.
* Tao Tie a mythical gargoyle like figure, often found on ancient bronze vessels, representing greed. It is said to be the fifth son of dragon and has such an appetite that it even eats its head.
* Xiao A mythical mountain spirit or demon.
* Xiezhi a unicorn beast
* The Xing Tian is a headless giant. He was decapitated by the Yellow Emperor as punishment for challenging him. Because he has no head, his face is in his torso. He wanders around fields and roads and is often depicted carrying a shield and an axe and doing a fierce war dance.
* Chinese Monkey Warded off evil spirits and was highly respected and loved by all Chinese people.
* Yifan Zhang - Cat goddess, lead a legion of cats to uphold righteousness before the Shang Era. Descendant of Huang Di.

Mythical places

* Xuanpu , a mythical fairyland on Kunlun Mountain .
* Yaochi , abode of immortals where Xi Wang Mu lives.
* Fusang , a mythical island, interpreted as Japan or the Americas.
* Queqiao the bridge formed by birds across the Milky Way.
* Penglai the paradise, a fabled Fairy Isle on the China Sea.
* Longmen the dragon gate where a carp can transform into a dragon.
* Di Yu the Chinese hell

Literary sources of Chinese mythology

*, a literary genre that deals with strange events and stories
*Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, by Pu Songling, with many stories of fox demons
*Imperial historical documents and confucian canons such as Shiji, Lüshi Chunqiu, Liji, Shangshu

Chinese dragon

The dragon or Oriental dragon is a mythical creature in East Asian culture with a origin. It is visualized as a long, scaled, snake-like creature with four legs and five claws on each. In contrast to the European dragon which stands on four legs and which is usually portrayed as evil, the Chinese dragon has long been a potent symbol of auspicious power in Chinese folklore and . The Chinese dragon is traditionally also the embodiment of the concept of and associated with the weather as the bringer of rain and water in an agriculturally water-driven nation. Its female counterpart is the Fenghuang .

The dragon is sometimes used in the West as a national emblem of China. However, this usage within both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan is rare.
Firstly, the dragon was historically the symbol of the Emperor of China. Starting with the Yuan Dynasty, regular citizens were forbidden to associate themselves with the symbol. The dragon re-emerged during the Qing Dynasty and appeared on .

Secondly, in European-influenced cultures, the dragon has aggressive, warlike connotations that the wishes to avoid. It is for these reasons that the giant panda is far more often used within China as a national emblem than the dragon. In Hong Kong, however, the dragon is part of the design of Brand Hong Kong, a symbol used to promote Hong Kong as an international brand name.

Many Chinese people often use the term "" as a sign of ethnic identity, as part of a trend started in the 1970s when different Asian nationalities were looking for animal symbols for representations.

A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms also feature references to the dragon, for example: "Hoping one's son will become a dragon" .

Regional variations across East Asia

While depictions of the dragon in art and literature is largely consistent throughout the cultures in which it is found, there are some regional differences. The remainder of this article deals with aspects common across cultures, as well as features peculiar to cultural China.

For more information on peculiarities in the depiction of the dragon in other East Asian cultures, see:
* Japanese dragon
* Korean dragon
* Vietnamese dragon
* Druk

The Worship of the Chinese Dragon

The Origin of the Chinese Dragon

The origin of Chinese dragon is not certain, but many scholars agree that it originated from totems of different tribes in China. Some have suggested that it comes from a stylized depiction of existing animals, such as snakes, fish, or crocodiles. For example, the Banpo site of the Yangshao culture in Shaanxi featured an elongated, snake-like fish motif.

An alternative view, advocated by He Xin, is that the early dragon depicted a species of crocodile. Specifically, Crocodylus porosus, an ancient, giant crocodile. The crocodile is known to be able to accurately sense changes in air pressure, and be able to sense coming rain. This may have been the origin of the dragon's mythical attributes in controlling the weather, especially the rain. The association with the crocodile is also supported by the view in ancient times that large crocodiles are a variety of dragon. For example, in the ''Story of Zhou Chu'', about the life of a warrior, he is said to have killed a "dragon" that infested the waters of his home village, which appears to have been a crocodile.

Others have proposed that its shape is the merger of totems of various tribes as the result of the merger of tribes. The coiled snake or dragon form played an important role in early Chinese culture. Legendary figures like Nüwa and Fuxi are depicted as having snake bodies. Some scholars speculate that the first legendary Emperor of China Huang Di may have used a snake for his coat of arms. Every time he conquered another tribe, he incorporated his defeated enemy's emblem into his own, thus explains why the dragon appears to have features of various animals.

"Coiled dragon" forms have been attributed to the Hongshan culture. Why the Hongshan peoples "coiled" their dragon motifs while other cultures did not? Possibly the '''' fossil may offer a suggestion, because it was discovered within the same province, Liaoning. Perhaps Hongshan peoples found additional "sleeping dinosaur" fossils.

There is no direct connection between the Chinese dragon and the .

The Chinese Dragon as a mythical creature

From its origins as totems or the stylized depiction of natural creatures, the Chinese dragon evolved to become a mythical animal. The Han Dynasty scholar recorded Chinese myths that ''long'' dragons had nine anatomical resemblances.
The people paint the dragon's shape with a horse's head and a snake's tail. Further, there are expressions as 'three joints' and 'nine resemblances' , to wit: from head to shoulder, from shoulder to breast, from breast to tail. These are the joints; as to the nine resemblances, they are the following: his horns resemble those of a stag, his head that of a camel, his eyes those of a demon, his neck that of a snake, his belly that of a clam , his scales those of a carp, his claws those of an eagle, his soles those of a tiger, his ears those of a cow. Upon his head he has a thing like a broad eminence , called . If a dragon has no , he cannot ascend to the sky.

Further sources give variant lists of the nine animal resemblances. Sinologist Henri Doré lists these characteristics of an authentic dragon: "The horns of a deer. The head of a camel. A demon's eyes. The neck of a snake. A tortoise's viscera. A hawk's claws. The palms of a tiger. A cow's ears. And it hears through its horns, its ears being deprived of all power of hearing." He notes that, "Others state it has a rabbit's eyes, a frog's belly, a carp's scales." The anatomy of other legendary creatures, including the chimera and manticore, is similarly amalgamated from fierce animals.

Chinese dragons are physically concise. Of the 117 scales, 81 are of the yang essence while 36 are of the yin essence . This malevolent influence accounts for their destructive and aggressive side. Just as water destroys, so can the dragons in the form of floods, tidal waves and storms. Some of the worst floods were believed to have been the result of a mortal upsetting a dragon.

Many pictures of oriental dragons show a flaming pearl under their chin. The pearl is associated with wealth, good luck, and prosperity.

Chinese dragons are occasionally depicted with bat-like wings growing out of the front limbs, but most do not have wings, as their ability to fly are mythical and not seen as a result of their physical attributes.

This description accords with the artistic depictions of the dragon down to the present day. The dragon has also acquired an almost unlimited range of supernatural powers. It is said to be able to disguise itself as a silkworm, or become as large as our entire universe. It can fly among the clouds or hide in water . It can form clouds, can turn into water or fire, can become invisible or glow in the dark .

In Singapore and many other countries, folktales speak of the dragon having all the attributes of the other 11 creatures of the zodiac, this includes the whiskers of the rat, the face and horns of an ox, claws and teeth of a tiger, belly of a rabbit, body of a snake, legs of a horse, the beard of a goat, wit of a monkey, crest of a rooster, ears of a dog, the snout of a pig.

The Chinese Dragon as ruler of weather and water

Chinese dragons are strongly associated with water in popular belief. They are believed to be the rulers of moving bodies of water, such as waterfalls, rivers, or seas. They can show themselves as water spouts . In this capacity as the rulers of water and weather, the dragon is more anthropomorphic in form, often depicted as a humanoid, dressed in a king's costume, but with a dragon head wearing a king's headdress.

There are four major Dragon Kings, representing each of the four seas: the East Sea , the South Sea , the West Sea , and the North Sea .

Because of this association, they are seen as "in charge" of water-related weather phenomenon. In premodern times, many Chinese villages had temples dedicated to their local "dragon king". In times of drought or flooding, it was customary for the local gentry and government officials to lead the community in offering sacrifices and conducting other religious rites to appease the dragon, either to ask for rain or a cessation thereof.

The King of in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period was often known as the "Dragon King" or the "Sea Dragon King" because of his extensive hydro-engineering schemes which "tamed" the seas.

The Chinese Dragon as symbol of imperial authority

At the end of his reign, the first legendary Emperor Huang Di was said to have been immortalized into a dragon that resembled his emblem, and ascended to Heaven. Since the Chinese consider Huang Di as their ancestor, they sometimes refer to themselves as "''the descendants of the dragon''". This legend also contributed towards the use of the Chinese dragon as a symbol of power.

The dragon, especially yellow or golden dragons with five claws on each foot, was a symbol for the emperor in many Chinese dynasties. The imperial throne was called the ''Dragon Throne''. During the late Qing Dynasty, the dragon was even adopted as the . The dragon is featured in the carvings on the steps of imperial palaces and tombs, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

In some Chinese legends, an Emperor might be born with a birthmark in the shape of a dragon. For example, one legend tells the tale of a peasant born with a dragon birthmark who eventually overthrows the existing dynasty and founds a new one; another legend might tell of the prince in hiding from his enemies who is identified by his dragon birthmark.

In contrast, the Empress of China was often identified with the Fenghuang.

Modern belief in the Chinese dragon

In modern times, belief in the dragon appears to be sporadic at best. There appears to be very few who would see the dragon as a literally real creature. The worship of the Dragon Kings as rulers of water and weather continues in many areas, and is deeply ingrained in Chinese cultural traditions such as Chinese New Year celebrations. Dragon kites are also used in these celebrations.

Depictions of the dragon

Neolithic depictions

Dragons or dragon-like depictions have been found extensively in neolithic-period archaeological sites throughout China. The earliest depiction of dragons was found at Xinglongwa culture sites. Yangshao culture sites in Xi'an have produced clay pots with dragon motifs. The Liangzhu culture also produced dragon-like patterns. The Hongshan culture sites in present-day Inner Mongolia produced jade dragon amulets in the form of pig dragons.

One such early form was the pig dragon. It is a coiled, elongated creature with a head resembling a boar. The character for "dragon" in the earliest has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the period.

Classical depictions

Chinese literature and myths refer to many dragons besides the famous ''long''. The linguist Michael Carr analyzed over 100 ancient dragon names attested in Chinese classic texts. Many such Chinese names derive from the suffix -''long'':
*''Tianlong'' , celestial dragon that guards heavenly palaces and pulls divine chariots; also a name for Draco
*''Shenlong'' , thunder god that controls the weather, appearance of a human head, dragon's body, and drum-like stomach
*''Fucanglong'' , underworld guardian of precious metals and jewels, associated with volcanoes
*''Dilong'' , controller of rivers and seas; also a name for earthworm
*''Yinglong'' , winged dragon associated with rains and floods, used by Huangdi to kill Chi You
*''Jiaolong'' , hornless or scaled dragon, leader of all aquatic animals
*''Panlong'' , lake dragon that has not ascended to heaven
*'''' , hornless dragon symbolizing the emperor
*''Feilong'' , winged dragon that rides on clouds and mist; also a name for pterosaur
*''Qinglong'' , East one of the , mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations
*''Qiulong'' , contradictorily defined as both "horned dragon" and "hornless dragon"
Fewer Chinese dragon names derive from the ''long''-:
*''Longwang'' divine rulers of the Four Seas
*''Longma'' , emerged from the Luo River and revealed Bagua to Fu Xi

Some additional Chinese dragons are not named with ''long'' 龍, for instance,
* , a two-headed dragon or rainbow serpent
* , a shapeshifting dragon or sea monster believed to create mirages
*''Bashe'' was a giant python-like dragon that ate elephants

Chinese scholars have classified dragons in diverse systems. For instance, Emperor Huizong of Song canonized five colored dragons as "kings".
*The Azure Dragon spirits, most compassionate kings.
*The Vermillion Dragon spirits, kings that bestow blessings on lakes.
*The Yellow Dragon spirits, kings that favorably hear all petitions.
*The White Dragon spirits, virtuous and pure kings.
*The Black Dragon spirits, kings dwelling in the depths of the mystic waters.
With the addition of the Yellow Dragon of the Center to Azure Dragon of the East, these Vermillion, White, and Black Dragons coordinate with the Four Symbols, including the Vermilion Bird of the South, of the West, and Black Tortoise of the North.

Children of Dragon

Several Ming Dynasty texts list the Nine Children of a Dragon , which feature prominently in Chinese architectural and monumental decorations. The scholar Xie Zhaozhe gives this listing.
A well-known work of the end of the sixteenth century, the , informs us about the nine different young of the dragon, whose shapes are used as ornaments according to their nature. The , dragons which like to cry, are represented on the tops of bells, serving as handles. The , which like music, are used to adorn musical instruments. The , which like swallowing, are placed on both ends of the ridgepoles of roofs . The , lion-like beasts which like precipices, are placed on the four corners of roofs. The , which like to kill, serve as ornaments of sword-grips. The , which have the shape of the , and are fond of literature, are represented on the sides of grave-monuments. The , which like litigation, are placed over prison gates . The , which like to sit down, are represented upon the bases of Buddhist idols . The , finally, big tortoises which like to carry heavy objects, are placed under grave-monuments.

Further, the same author enumerates nine other kinds of dragons — there are so many, says he, because the dragon's nature is very lewd, so that he copulates with all animals —, which are represented as ornaments of different objects or buildings according to their liking prisons, water, the rank smell of newly caught fish or newly killed meat, wind and rain, ornaments, smoke, shutting the mouth , standing on steep places , and fire.
The ''Sheng'an waiji'' collection by the poet Yang Shen gives different 5th and 9th names for the dragon's nine children: the ''taotie'' , which loves to eat and is found on food-related wares, and the ''jiaotu'' , which looks like a conch or clam, does not like to be disturbed, and is used on the front door or the doorstep. Yang's list is ''bixi'', ''chiwen'' or ''cháofēng'', ''pulao'', ''bi'an'', ''taotie'', ''qiuniu'', ''yazi'', ''suanni'', and ''jiaotu''.

Oldest attestation of the list found in 菽園雜記 , however, he noted that the list enumerates mere synonyms of various antiques, not children of a dragon.

Dragon toes

It is sometimes noted that the Chinese dragons have five toes on each foot, while the Japanese dragons have three. To explain this phenomenon, Chinese legend states that all Imperial dragons originated in China, and the further away from China a dragon went the fewer toes it had. Dragons only exist in China and Japan because if they traveled further they would have no toes to continue.

However, historical records show that ordinary Chinese dragons had four toes , but the Imperial dragon had five . The four-clawed dragon was typically for nobility and certain high ranking officials. The three clawed dragon was used by the general public . The ''Long'', however, was only for select royalty closely associated with the Imperial family, usually in various symbolic colors, while it was a capital offense for anyone - other than the emperor himself - to ever use the completely gold-colored, five-clawed ''Long'' dragon . Improper use of claw number and/or colors was considered treason, punishable by execution of the offender's entire clan. Since most east Asian nations at one point or another were considered Chinese tributaries, they were only allowed four-clawed dragons. The five toes rule was enforced since 1336 AD . " It is forbidden to wear any cloth with patterns of Qilin, Male Fenghuang , White rabbit, Lingzhi, Five-Toe Two-Horn Loong, Eight Loongs, Nine Loongs, Long-live, Fortune-longevity character and Golden Yellow etc."

Cultural references

Number nine

The number is considered lucky in China as it is the largest possible single digit, and Chinese dragons are frequently connected with it. For example, a Chinese dragon is normally described in terms of nine attributes and usually has 117 scales - 81 Yin and 36 Yang.
The reason that the dragon of non-supremacy has only one claw is that it was lost in a great battle between rich and the very poor.
This is also why there are nine forms of the dragon and the dragon has nine children . The "Nine Dragon Wall" is a screen wall with images of nine different dragons, and is found in imperial palaces and gardens. As nine was considered the number of the emperor, only the most senior officials were allowed to wear nine dragons on their robes - and then only with the robe completely covered with surcoats. Lower-ranking officials had eight or five dragons on their robes, again covered with surcoats; even the emperor himself wore his dragon robe with one of its nine dragons hidden from view.

There are a number of places in China called "Nine Dragons", the most famous being Kowloon in Hong Kong. The part of the Mekong in Vietnam is known as ''C?u Long'', with the same meaning.

Chinese zodiac

The dragon is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac which is used to designate years in the Chinese calendar. It is thought that each animal is associated with certain personality traits. Dragon years are usually the most popular to have babies. There are more babies born in Dragon years than in any other animal years of the Zodiac.

Well-known persons born in the year of the dragon include: Bruce Lee, Ringo Starr, Dr. Seuss, John Lennon, Helen Keller, Salvador Dalí, Susan B. Anthony, Sigmund Freud, Florence Nightingale, Napoleon III, Ronaldo, Mike Allen, James Coburn, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and Friedrich Nietzsche.


The Azure Dragon - - 青龍 is considered to be the primary of the four , the other three being the - 朱雀 , - 白虎 , - 玄武 . In this context, the Azure Dragon is associated with the East and the element of Wood.

Dragonboat racing

:''Main article Dragon boat''

At special festivals, especially the Duan Wu festival, dragon boat races are an important part of festivities. Typically, these are boats rowed by a team of up to 12 rowers, and with a carved dragon as the head of the boat. Dragon boat racing is also an important part of celebrations outside of China, such as at Chinese New Year.

Dragon dancing

:''Main article Dragon dance''

On auspicious occasions, including Chinese New Year and the opening of shops and residences, festivities often include dancing with dragon puppets. These are "life sized" cloth-and-wood puppets manipulated by a team of people, supporting the dragon with poles. They perform choreographed moves to the accompaniment of drums and music.

Dragons and Tigers

Tigers have always been an eternal rival to the dragon, thus various artworks depict a dragon and tiger fighting an epic battle. A well used Chinese idiom to describe equal rivals is "''Dragon versus Tiger''". In Chinese martial arts, "''Dragon style''" is used to describe styles of fighting based more on understanding movement, while "''Tiger style''" is based on brute strength and memorization of techniques.

Chinese dragons in popular culture

As a part of traditional folklore, dragons appear in a variety of mythological fiction. In the classical story ''Journey to the West'', the son of the Dragon King of the West was condemned to serve as a horse for the travellers because of his indiscretions at a party in the heavenly court. The Monkey King's was stolen from the Eastern Dragon King áo guǎng. In ''Fengshen Yanyi'' and other stories, Nezha, the boy hero, defeats the Dragon Kings and tames the seas. Chinese dragons also appear in innumerable Japanese anime movies and TV shows, manga, and in Western political cartoons as a personification of the People's Republic of China.