Comparison on the Differences of Chinese Long and Western Dragon

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  • Topic: Han Chinese, Chinese dragon, Chinese calendar
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  • Published : August 1, 2010
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Chinese long (Chinese dragon) and Western dragon exist in many countries’ legendaries and literature works. They have some similarities but they still have many differences and should not be lumped together. This paper tries to find out their differences and show that they are different in many ways.

Chinese long (Chinese dragon) and Western dragon originate from different legendaries and contain people’s different emotions. Their figures and capabilities are different. Chinese long (Chinese dragon) is a combination of several animals and it can fly without wings. Western dragon looks like a winged dinosaur. It can fly with its wings and spring fire from its mouth. Chinese long (Chinese dragon) combines several propitious animals and it can bring harvest. People believe Chinese long (Chinese dragon) is a positive imaginary. But in the west, Western dragon is a violent evil and it is the embodiment of Satan. It is a negative imaginary. In China, people regard those who are wise and gentle as the son of Chinese long (Chinese dragon). Those government officers wear clothes embroidered with Chinese long (Chinese dragon). In I Ching, the most influential book in China, Chinese long (Chinese dragon) has been used to represent quite many things. However, Western dragon in western culture is a negative imaginary. Those who killed a Western dragon would be regarded as a great hero, like the story of Saint George and Dragon. In English, Western dragon can be referred to a person who is violent, combative or very strict.

With the rapid development of China, espcially the sponsership of the Olympic Games 2008, Beijing together with the World Expo 2010, Shanghai, it becomes more and more important to reconstruct our country’s national image. Some scholars thus raise the suggestion that Chinese long (Chinese dragon) should not be the symbol of China in order to gear to the international conventions.

In international communication, each country’s culture should be respected. No country should give up any of their specific culture. Chinese long (Chinese dragon) and western dragon refers to different culture. We should let people know the differences between them but not to give up any of them. This paper explains in detail the opposition to the suggestion to give up Chinese long (Chinese dragon) as the national symbol of China

Chapter 1. The Origination of Chinese Long and Western Dragon.

The question where Chinese long (Chinese dragon) and Western dragon originate from has been discussed for a long time and it is still an open question. This paper discusses it from its cultural aspects.

1.1The Origination of Chinese Long

In the Spring and Autumn Period, letters on the bronzes recorded that people have caught a Chinese long (Chinese dragon). In I Ching, an ancient philosophical book, there is description that Chinese long (Chinese dragon) can dive into the abyss, fly in the sky, and fight on the earth. In TSO CHUAN, an ancient Chinese history book, recorded that in 523BC, when Zheng State,a kingdom in the Spring and Autumn Period, suffered flood, people said they saw Chinese longs fighting outside of the City gate. Chinese long (Chinese dragon) is also discribed in Shan Hai Ching, a book on ancient Chinese geography. But here Shan Hai Ching appears to convey those supernatural beings.

According to the archeological discoveries, the earliest Chinese long (Chinese dragon) appeared 6,000 years ago, Chinese long (Chinese dragon) was found painted in lots of potteries from tombs of Painted Pottery Culture Period. Thus we can see that Chinese long (Chinese dragon) is an important element in Chinese culture.

About the antitype of Chinese long (Chinese dragon), the famous scholar Wen Yiduo talked about it in 1940s. [16]He thought that the main body and basic figure of Chinese long (Chinese dragon) was snake, and later a people whose totem was this kind of huge snake absorbs some other peoples’...
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