Today we continue exploring the American Museum of Natural History‘s past exhibit on Mythic Creatures (May 26, 2007 – January 6, 2008).
Click on any of the blue links to go to the museums website.
“None of the animals is so wise as the dragon. His blessing power is not a false one. He can be smaller than small, bigger than big, higher than high, and lower than low.”
–Chinese scholar Lu Dian (AD 1042-1102)
Between Heaven and Earth
The dragons of East Asian legend have sweeping powers. They breathe clouds, move the seasons, and control the waters of rivers, lakes, and seas. They are linked with yang, the masculine principle of heat, light, and action, and opposed to yin, the feminine principle of coolness, darkness, and repose. Dragons have been part of East Asian culture for more than 4,000 years. In the religious traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, they have been honored as sources of power and bringers of rain.
So They Say
“The dragon’s 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.”
–Chinese scholar Wang Fu (Han dynasty, 206 BC to AD 220)