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This "China" essay I'm writing up for furcon is driving me mad.

I've got the semi-legendary Xia Dynasty, writing on tortoises and China's first dragon totem.

I haven't got an animist folk religion turned organized state religion or an overall cultural fascination with mythical beasts, both of which made doing a short essay on Japan relatively easy (as Hinduism will likely make writing about anthropomorphic animals in India easy).



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
What da you need to know? I am somewhat familiar with the subject, plus a few books to boot.
Oct. 19th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what the parameters of your essay are, but here's a few ideas.

The first mythological Chinese animal that come to mind is the Fox. Similar to fox tales in Japan, the Fox cult was big in Northern China and there are quite a few tales of foxes being both good and bad as they interact with human. A good place to start would be Pu Songling's "Strange Tales from a Scholar's Studio" (the title is translated several different ways.) The Penguin translation from last year is quite good, there's also a three volume translation from the 1990s and the classic, if somewhat censored, Edwardian translation by Giles is available online.

Pu also writes about other animals, such as a wasp girl in "The Girl In Green" and some of the loose adaptations of "A Chinese Ghost Story" (Magic Sword and Magic Bag) have Xiao Xian as a fox demon instead of a ghost. The grandmother demon in at least one of the TV series adaptations is a spider demon instead of a tree demon.

Ji Xiaolan's "Fantastic Tales" also has a few fox stories.

A more scholarly and religously oriented text is "Fox Cult in Northern China" by an author whose name escapes me, but it's available through Amazon.

The next place I'd think of would be the tales of the Monkey King, starting with Journey to the West. I seem to remember that one of the other companions is a pig.

There's also the Dragon Emperor of the Sea, who rules over a kingdom of sea creatures.

I have no idea if any of this is useful at all, but there ya go.
Oct. 19th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
the kyrin, the dragon and phoenix, the zodiac
The chinese unicorn, whose horn slopes backward, who is so careful not to harm a living thing that he steps one careful step at a time so as not to hurt any bugs. One was supposed to have been seen at the time Confucius was born.
There are also the Dragon and the Phoenix, which you see on a lot of marriage announcements. The Dragon is the male principal and the Phoenix is the female.
These are the mythical beasts that show up in many places.
Then there's the Chinese zodiac, you know, monkey, tiger, rabbit, dragon, etc
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )