World Mythology: Fantastic Beasts of Chinese Legends
Today we will get acquainted with a rather unusual creatures from Chinese legends. These creatures may seem strange to Westerners.
Born under the influence of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, the Chinese magical creatures are rarely represent the absolute evil or good. They are all a combination of two principles, yin and yang, struggle and unity of opposites, the symbols of harmony.
In Chinese mythology, there are 360 main animals living on land. And Qilin is one of the most revered on a par with the Tiger, Phoenix, Dragon and Turtle. Wonderful, magical beast, like the unicorn, but is distinct from it in meaning.
The Qilin is a Chimera, combining body parts of different animals, real and fictional. The body of a deer covered with blue-green scales, the neck of a wolf, the tail of an ox and the face of the dragon. The main symbol of the Qilin - his horns, or more frequently one horn that ends with a soft lump.
The coming of the Qilin brings peace and prosperity for nature and people.
Walking on Earth, he will never crush a single beetle and will not break a single blade of grass. He doesn't eat other animals and only feeds on magical crops plants, and can live 2000 years. His blunted horn emphasizes the fact that the Qilin is unable to bear any harm.
The Qilin is often depicted with a baby, or a sage on his back. People believed that the Qilin predicts the birth of a great man, who will benefit the country and the people. He is also the incarnation of the five elements, five virtues and five symbolic colors.
This entity may cause laughter because of its eccentric appearance. A piece of flesh, without a face and without holes for the main sense organs (ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth), it has six legs/hands and four wings.
But if we turn to the older myths, then its appearance can be easily understood. Hundun lived in the center of the world even before the birth of the Universe and the Earth. The gods of South and North seas (Shu and Hu), who lived on both sides of the Hundun's kingdoms often visited him, and he always greeted them warmly and with joy.
The gods wanted to reward Hundun for his kindness and decided to drill 7 holes in his body for all the senses, one hole in one day. On the seventh day, Hundun died and the Universe was created from his body.
First of all, Hundun is the embodiment of primordial chaos, a symbol of the undivided beginning, he's older than the universe. The lack of senses highlights the complete darkness that exists in the beginning of time, and which ended with the death of Hundun.
There is another legend, according to which Hundun was a kind of living creature.
The beast like a dog with bear paws, but no claws. He has eyes but he does not see, has ears but he cannot hear, he can't walk, but he can “see” people. He has no internal organs, but only one intestine, passing through the whole body. He hurts good people and like the villains. Bites own tail and laughs, running around in a circle.
Another mythical magical beast, the wisest of all. Chimera with a human face, body of a lion, legs of a bull, there are 6 the all-seeing eye on his body. He is a good creature, has great wisdom and can talk in human language.
The Yellow Emperor accidentally met this creature during his trip to the East of the country, on the coast. But, Bai Ze said that he was waiting for the meeting with the Emperor, to share with him great wisdom.
The beast told the great Emperor about all 11520 kinds of magical creatures, about all the demons and evil spirits, all dragons and werewolves. He told how to banish evil spirits and make friends with good.
Nobody had such full knowledge of the demons, monsters and spirits that the Bai Ze possessed, and which he gave to the great emperor, so that he could rule not only over humans, but over magical creatures, maintaining peace in the Empire.
The Emperor ordered to create a detailed map with descriptions of all the magical creatures, their habitats and habits, so that people know them all. But, unfortunately, the map has not reached our days and only its fragments continue to emerge in other ancient texts.
Strange hairy humanoid giant, always female, with one leg, one arm and one eye, her arrival causing the drought. This mythical creature has migrated also in Japanese mythology under the name Hiderigami.
According to Chinese legend, the Batsu is descended from the eponymous goddess. During one great battle, the Yellow Emperor turned to the goddess Batsu to defeat his enemies, and she answered his call.
The body of the goddess exuded a terrible heat, that had killed enemy soldiers and brought victory to the Yellow Emperor. But the Batsu spent too much power during the battle and could not return to heaven, so she was left to roam the earth, causing a terrible drought and fires.
Where Batsu appeared, the earth cracked, trees and grass burned, rivers and clouds disappeared. Despite her strange body she is able to move with the speed of the wind. Batsu hid in the mountains, but some people still believe that she is the cause of the appearance of deserts in China.
Believe me, I haven't forgotten about the mighty and the majestic dragons- the central characters of Eastern mythology. First of all, I wanted to introduce You to lesser-known representatives of Chinese folklore and legends. We will definitely return to this wonderful world to learn about the gods, mighty heroes, magical creatures, and of course, about the Yellow Emperor.
I'm sorry, I could not resist using the more modern image of the Yellow Emperor
sources: Bestiary, Mythological-creations, Chinese mythology, Symbolarium,Classic of Mountains and Seas, images from Google Search.
Previous articles about the gods, monsters and creatures of World Mythology:
- World Mythology: Unique Characters of The Slavic Mythology
- The Dark Past of Santa Claus
- World Mythology: The Gods of Death
- Halloween with Unusual Monsters