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Mythical Monsters

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Author Topic: Mythical Monsters  (Read 1347 times)
Keira Kensington
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« Reply #900 on: March 27, 2010, 08:34:53 pm »

Against this, however, which is not a very weighty objection, if we consider the length of time that Egyptian papyri have been entombed before their restoration to the light, Mr. Legge ranges preponderating evidence in favour of their authenticity, and concludes that "they had, no doubt, been lying for nearly six centuries in the tomb in which they had been first deposited when they were then brought anew to light."
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #901 on: March 27, 2010, 08:35:03 pm »

The annals consist of two portions, one forming what is undoubtedly the original text, and consisting of short notices of occurrences, such as, "In his fiftieth year, in the autumn, in the seventh month, on the day Kang shin [fifty-seventh of cycle] phœnixes, male and female, arrived," &c. &c. It also records earthquakes, obituaries, accessions, and remarkable natural phenomena. The other portion is interspersed between these, in the form of rather diffuse, though not very numerous, notes, which by some are supposed to be a portion of the original text, by others, to have been added by the commentator Shin Yo [A.D. 502-567].
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #902 on: March 27, 2010, 08:35:28 pm »

In the latter, frequent references are made to the appearance of phœnixes (the fang wang), ki-lins (unicorns), and dragons.

In the former we find only incidental references to either of these, such as, "XIV. The Emperor K‘ung-kea. In his first year (B.C. 1611), when he came to the throne, he dwelt on the west of the Ho. He displaced the chief of Ch‘e-wei, * and appointed Lew-luy † to feed the dragons."

p. 219
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #903 on: March 27, 2010, 08:35:35 pm »

According to the latter, Hwang Ti (B.C. 2697) had a dragon-like countenance; while the mother of Yaou (B.C. 2356) conceived him by a dragon. The legend is: "After she was grown up, whenever she looked into any of the three Ho, there was a dragon following her. One morning the dragon came with a picture and writing. The substance of the writing was—the Red one has received the favour of Heaven. . . . The red dragon made K‘ing-teo pregnant."
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #904 on: March 27, 2010, 08:35:44 pm »

Again, when Yaou had been on the throne seventy years, a dragon-horse appeared bearing a scheme, which he laid on the table and went away.

The Emperor Shun (B.C. 2255) is said to have had a dragon countenance.
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #905 on: March 27, 2010, 08:36:05 pm »

It is also said of Yu (the first emperor of the Hia dynasty) that when the fortunes of Hia were about to rise, all vegetation was luxuriant, and green dragons lay in the borders; and that "on his way to the south, when crossing the Kiang, in the middle of the stream, two yellow dragons took the boat on their backs. The people were all afraid; but Yu laughed, and said, 'I received my appointment from Heaven, and labour with all my strength to nourish men. To be born is the course of nature; to die is by Heaven's decree. Why be troubled by the dragons?' On this the dragons went away, dragging their tails."
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« Reply #906 on: March 27, 2010, 08:36:15 pm »

From these extracts it will be seen that the dragon, although universally believed in, was already mythical and legendary, so far as the Chinese were concerned.
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« Reply #907 on: March 27, 2010, 08:36:30 pm »

THE "SHU KING" * OR "SHOO KING"

is, according to Dr. Legge, simply a collection of historic memorials, extending over a space of one thousand seven hundred years, but on no connected method, and with great gaps between them.

p. 220
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #908 on: March 27, 2010, 08:36:46 pm »

It opens with the reign of Yaou (B.C. 2357), and contains interesting details of the polity of those remote ages.

It contains a record of the great inundation occurring during his reign, which Mr. Legge does not identify with the Deluge of Genesis, but which Dr. Gutzlaff and other missionary Sinologues consider to be the same.
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« Reply #909 on: March 27, 2010, 08:36:58 pm »

It is interesting to find in this work, claiming so high an antiquity, references to an antiquity which had preceded it—a bygone civilization, perhaps—as follows, in the book called Yih and Ts‘ih. * The emperor (Shun, B.C. 2255 to 2205) says, "I wish to see the emblematic figures of the ancients—the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountain, the dragon, and the flowery fowl, which are depicted on the upper garment; the temple cup, the aquatic grass, the flames, the grains of rice, the
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« Reply #910 on: March 27, 2010, 08:37:07 pm »

hatchet, and the symbol of distinction, which are embroidered on the lower garment. I wish to see all these displayed with the five colours, so as to form the official robes; it is yours to adjust them clearly." Here the dragon is chosen as an emblematic figure, in association with eleven others, which are objects of every-day knowledge, and this, I think, establishes a presumption that it itself was not at that date considered an object of doubtful credibility.
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« Reply #911 on: March 27, 2010, 08:37:29 pm »

Similarly, we find the twelve symbolical animals, representing the twelve branches of the Horary characters (dating, see Williams' Dictionary, from B.C. 2637), to be the rat, the ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, ****, dog, boar, where the dragon is the only one about whose existence a question can be raised. From this latter we learn that there was no confusion of meaning then between dragons and serpents; the distinction of the two creatures was clearly recognized, just as it was many centuries afterwards by Mencius (4th century B.C.), who, in writing of these early periods, says, In the time of Yaou, the waters,

p. 221

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