Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Mythology In China -- Wonder World and Mythical Animal

Around 6500 years ago, the sky was divided into four parts in Chinese astrology, namely east, west, north and south. Each section contains seven stars, which look like images of four mythical creatures.

 

These four mythical animals represent each section of the sky, and control the four seasons, respectively. 

Qing Long (Cyan Dragon)

Qing Long is considered as one of the most important and powerful mythical creatures in Chinese mythology. It lies in the east of the sky and is the representative of left, spring and the tree. 

 

Qing Long is the representative of power, strength and integrity. Therefore, human respected it as the guardian of their land. 

Bai Hu (White Tiger)

 

Bai Hu lies and in charge of the west of the sky, and is the representative of right, autumn and metal. 

The White Tiger is the symbol of loyalty, power, bravery and justice, and is respected as God of War. So, white tiger was widely used in military in the history of China, such as army flag and seal.

Zhu Que (Red Bird)

 

Zhu Que lies in the south of the sky, and is the representative of front, summer and fire. 

 

Zhu Que, which looks like a huge red bird, is believed as a mythical creature that can lead people’s souls to heaven after they die. 

Xuan Wu (Black Turtle-Snake)

 

Xuan Wu lies in the north of the sky, and is the representative of back, winter and water. 

Black turtle was widely used in divination as a messenger, which could take questions to celestial or ancestors in another world, and then bring the answer back.

Ying Long (Yellow Dragon)

Ying Long lies in the middle of the sky, and is the representative of the earth. It is superior than other mythical creatures and was in charge of wind and rain.

 

In Chinese legends, Ying Long had assisted two famous kings and made distinguished contributions in defeating enemies and huge flood. 

 

Unlike other dragons in Chinese culture, Ying Long has two wings, which later were evolved into colorful clouds in handicraft masterpieces. 

 

Images of yellow dragon were strictly and exclusively used by emperors in the history of China. 

 
 

In China, there are two different Mount Kunluns.

The Legendary Mount Kunlun is the most important mountain in Chinese mythology and Taoism religion, which is located somewhere in a mysterious world.

It is regarded as the origin of Chinese culture, in where many influential kings used to live and hold sacrifice rites. 

 

The Traditional Chinese Calendar, many customs, basic etiquettes, and Tai Ji, were all invented there by the King Fu Xi

 

In addition, it's the place that many ancient Chinese mythological stories happened: Pan Gu separated heaven from earth, while Nu Wa created human beings and patched the broken sky.

Legend Mount Kunlun is very steep, which has a huge pillar leading a path to heaven. 

 

It is surrounded by four gates, nine paths, and a river, as well as five small cities and nine main buildings.

 

Outside those gates and the river, there are the Mountain of Fire, which could burn everything unwelcome into ashes.

On the top of Mount Kunlun, there is a magic lake named Yao Chi with lots of beautiful flowers and special plants blooming next to.

Lu Wu -- God of Mount Kunlun

 

Lu Wu is in charge of plants, animals and climates of the world. He has a human’s head, a tiger’s body with nine tails, and was as large as 99 normal tigers. 

 

In some legends, Lu Wu is also the guard of the whole world and an open-minded administrator of the heaven.

 

He had helped Yu the Great, the founder of the Xia Dynasty, defeat a monster and fight against the huge flood. 

Bai Ze -- Smartest Mythical Creature

 

Bai Ze is an extremely knowledgeable animal that can speak human language. It has beautiful white fur, which makes it looks like a goat with one horn and two wings. 

Usually, Bai Ze only lives in Mount KunLun, and only shows up in the secular world when the society is at peace and prosperity.

 

Therefore, it is the representative of luck, safety and happiness in Chinese culture. 

 

Bai Ze has knowledge in respect to all evil monsters, ghosts, and the means to defeat them.

 

Once, Bai Ze came to the secular world and passed on those information to the King Huang Di, who then edited those knowledge into a book and disseminated it to all civilians. 

Xi Wangmu -- Deity of Mount Kunlun

 

Xi Wangmu is a powerful celestial living in Mount Kunlun, who is in charge of all goddesses.

She is also the most paramount goddess who controls all of the elixirs of life in the world. 

For many times, she had sent mythical animals, fairies, or even herself, to come to the secular world and help human defeat destructive disasters.

 

Some exceptional emperors in the history of China who had achieved outstanding accomplishments, also had met, or rewarded by Xi Wangmu. 

 

San Qing -- Messenger of Mount Kunlun

 

San Qing delivers messages for the Goddness Xi Wangmu and accompanies her wherever she goes.

 

According to historical documents, the famous Chinese emperor Liu Che of the Han Dynasty once saw a San Qing bird and was very excited; he then was told that the deity from Mount Kunlun will be visiting soon.

 

So he started preparing for her arriving. Some time later, Xi Wangmu came, rewarded Emperor Liu Che seven magical peaches, and promised him the prosperity of his country and  the success of military activities.

Afterwards, Liu Che built a fantastic building on Mount Tai, where is the place for her to live when she came into the secular world. 

Prototype of the Legend Mount Kunlun

 

Based on description of Mythology and activity territory of ancient Chinese people, the Mount Xicheng, which was apotheosized in Chinese culture afterwards, is believed as the prototype of the mysterious Mount Kunlun.

Mount Xicheng is located in Shanxi province, where earliest Chinese ancestors lived and built the fundamental mold of Chinese culture, where Yu the Great fought with the huge flood and great King Tang of Shang Dynasty held big ceremonies to pray for rain.

Today, habitants here still could recognize four gates and nine paths of this mountain, exactly the same as it is described about the legendary Mount Kunlun. 

Prototype of Mountain of Fire outside the Mount Xicheng  

Second Mount Kunlun

Another Mount Kunlun is the geological Kunlun Mountains that are located in the northwest of China.

 

It is around 500,000 square kilometers large, most of which is covered by snow. It is extraordinarily tremendous, magnificent and mysterious; in Taoism Religion, this is the most sacred place.

Till now, only a very small part of Kunlun Mountain is open to tourists, while most of it is still shrouded in mystery. 

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Other Mythical Creatures in Chinese Culture

​There are many mythical animals documented in the history of China, of which the most important book is The Classic of Mountains and Seas

In Chinese mythology, animal can become human or celestial if it went through assiduous cultivation, did remarkably good things like having saved people's lives, or run into a lucky opportunity.


Many mythical animals were used in divination, worship or other mysterious rites in ancient Chinese culture. 

 

Images of the lucky ones are widely applied in clothes, decoration and construction, most of which are still quite popular nowadays. Read More