Re: [Indo-Eurasia] Origin of Chinese dragon?
- [Mod. note. If reading in a browser, set to UTF-8. - sf.]
Carr mentions p. 137-138 in the previously quoted article, that chi chi
赤螭 ('red hornless dragons') in Sima Xiangru's "The Shanglin Park",
translated by Watson 1965: 143. However, he does not add much on chi
chi, which would help to identify a foreign product. They seem to come
also in other colors in the "Chu ci" (玄螭, 白螭)(Hawkes tr. 1965: 275,
Watson Burton tr. 1965: From 'The 'Shang-lin Park', in: Birch, Cyril
(ed.), Anthology of Chinese literature, Grove Press, pp. 142-153.
Dou you know what the pigment from Socotra was made of?
John Hill wrote:
> [Mod. note. Set browsers to UTF-8. SF.][Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Dear Heleanor:
> Thank you for all the details. I am wondering if, in any of your
> reading, you have come across Chinese "Red Dragons" - they turn up in
> a list of products of Da Qin in the 3rd century Weilüe (which begins
> with the phrase: "Da Qin has plenty of ... ).
> I am inclined to think that the Weilüe account merely repeats a story
> that the Romans told about the origin of the "dragons' blood" which
> came from Socotra and the adjacent east African coast, and was used as
> a pigment and a medicine - but I have no proof and keep looking for
> more info.
> It is listed as: chichi 赤螭 (literally, ‘Red hornless dragon’). I add
> in my notes:
> "GR No. 1918 says that chi, “red�?, refers particularly to the colour
> of cinnabar, or of fire. It is true that cinnabar was considered to be
> the “Blood of the Red Dragon�? – especially among Taoist alchemists
> (see Shafer (1957), p. 133), but this always referred to the chilong
> 赤�? – long �? being the ‘normal’, or ‘common’ variety of dragon,
> whereas chi 螭 is an unusual form. It is sometimes described as a
> ‘hornless’ variety, and sometimes as a baby long. In either case, it
> seems likely here that an unusual form of ‘dragon’ was chosen to
> distinguish its product, or ‘blood,’ from real cinnabar.
> I have not found any other reference to chichi. . . ."
> Any help you may be able to give would be deeply appreciated.
> John Hill
>[Mod. note. Dan, note that John corrected himself on this yesterday. - Cheers, Steve.]My posting also included additional material indicating (1) that, at least in the 19th c, the term alligator was used for some Indian crocodilians, [are these Indian alligators now extinct, or was this merely a nomenclature problem?] (2) the Chinese alligator, now almost extinct and confined to "a few ponds," once ranged over much of China, and (3) that standard Skt-Eng dictionaries list both alligator and crocodile as meanings for kumbhiira.