Dragons, East and West

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  • Author: Zhao Qiguang;
  • Language: English
  • Page: 250
  • Publication Date: 09/2013
  • ISBN: 9787511014108
  • Publisher: Dolphin Book
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“By integrating folkloric studies with analysis of literary texts, Professor Zhao’s study of dragonology promises to be a landmark in East/West Comparative Literature. With his vast referential range, Zhao breathes new fire into that rarest of being: a truly global symbol.”
—David Lenson

University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Qiguang Zhao’s stimulating book on dragons East and West is a thoroughly researched work of scholarship, but is much more than just a collection of facts and data. This is also a work of ideas and conceptions. By opening wide the scope of his inquiry and dismissing all arbitrary constraints, the author has demonstrated in a most edifying fashion the relatedness of human cultures. Above all, he has given us a fresh, new way to look at ancient Chinese mythology. This is a book about dragons, but it is also a collection of valuable insights about the nature and development of Chinese civilization in the context of world history and culture.”
—Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania)
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 Our Approaches to Dragonology 
CHAPTER2 The Dragon's "Origin" and Appearances 
The So-Called Unique Origin of International Dragons 
Dragons of Chinese Sub-Origin 
Miao (Hmong) Dragons 
Japanese, Korean, and Bhutanese Dragons 
Dragons of Indic Sub-Origin 
Dragons of Middle-Eastern Sub-Origin 
CHAPTER 3 The Great Dragon Was Cast Out: The Western Dragon as a Symbol 
The Western Dragon: Identification with the Judeo-Christian Devill, Monsters, and Enemies 
Its Sexualized Image 
Its Association with Fire, the Underworld, and Death 
The Combination of the Western Dragon's Symbolic Aspects 
CHAPTER 4 The Great Dragon Was Enshrined 
The Implication of the Chinese Mythological Dragon: the Sky 
Spiritual Nobility 
Good Fortune and Philosophical Symbol 
The Chinese Nation 
CHAPTER 5 The Dragon of the Waters, East and West 
The Myth of Yu and Hydraulic Despotism 
The Chinese Dragon of the Waters 
The Different Functions of the Dragon and the Dragon King in the 
Hydraulic Society 
The Western Dragon of the Waters 
The Spring of Water and the Fire 
CHAPTER 6 The Dragon-Slayer 
The Dragon Involved in Human Life 
Western Dragon-Slayers 
Japanese Dragon-Slayers 
Chinese Dragon-Slayers 
The Structure of Dragon-Slayer Tales 
Dragon-Slaying As a Struggle with the "Inner Exoteric" 
CHAPTER 7 Dragons As Zoological "Fact," Psychological Archetypes, and Ideological Symbols 
Dragons as Fact 
Dragons as Psychological Archetypes 
The Dragon as Ideological Symbol 
CHAPTER 8 The Dragon Between Hard Covers: The Scholarship of Dragon Studies 
Western Writings about Dragons 
Chinese Writings About Dragons 
Sample Pages Preview

On the other hand, the fusion of human reality with the dragon's fabulousness makes it possible for ordinary people to be transformed into heroes. When humans become protagonists,their own life is considerably enriched and enlarged. And all systems and all anthropo-cosmic experiences become their surroundings. In this case, the human protagonists no longer feel themselves to be a fragment of daily life, but a god open to all the other gods by which they are surrounded. In a tale of dragon-human confrontation, dragons at large are no longer something outside the human world and therefore ultimately mysterious.A battle with the exoteric dragon does not alienate the dragon-slayers from themselves and their daily life. On the contrary, it leads them towards the meaning of their life, and reveals their own esoteric existence. The dragon-slaying tales thus appear as a means to the understanding of people's self-recognition:through battles, heroes find their own significance and come to understand life. 
We have referred to a number of dragon slayers in Western myths that are characteristic of human reality. It is inevitable that the exoteric part of the dragon should beget Western folktales about the slayer of the dragon. Such folktales, with their rich flavor of daily life, are numerous and widespread. Best known is the dragon sacrifice motif. The central episode deals with a youth - most often an ugly duckling at home - who discovers a beautiful maiden - most often a princess - about to be sacrificed to an evil dragon.
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