Chinese Mythology

Chinese mythology refers to those myths found in the historical geographic area of China: these include myths in Chinese and other languages, as transmitted by Han Chinese as well as other ethnic groups (of which fifty-six are officially recognized by the current administration of China). Chinese mythology includes creation myths and legends, such as myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state. As in many cultures' mythologies, Chinese mythology has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history. Thus, in the study of historical Chinese culture, many of the stories that have been told regarding characters and events which have been written or told of the distant past have a double tradition: one which tradition which presents a more historicized and one which presents a more mythological version.

The dozens of ethnic minority groups of the country of China have their own languages and their own folk lore, and many have their own writing: much of which writing contains valuable historical and cultural information as well as many unique myths. Some myths are widely shared across multiple ethnic groups, but may exist as versions with some differences.

Historians have written evidence of Chinese mythological symbolism from the 12th century BC in the Oracle bone script. Legends were passed down for over a thousand years before being written in books such as Shan Hai Jing. Other myths continued to be passed down through oral traditions like theater and song before being recorded as novels such as Hei'an Zhuan (Epic of Darkness).

Imperial historical documents and philosophical canons such as Classic of History, Records of the Grand Historian, Classic of Rites, and Lüshi Chunqiu all contain Chinese myths.

Read more about Chinese MythologyMajor Concepts, Creation and The Pantheon, Dragon, Religion and Mythology, Important Deities and Mythological Figures, Mythical Places, Mythical Plants, Mythical Substances, Literature

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Famous quotes containing the words mythology and/or chinese:

    Love, love, love—all the wretched cant of it, masking egotism, lust, masochism, fantasy under a mythology of sentimental postures, a welter of self-induced miseries and joys, blinding and masking the essential personalities in the frozen gestures of courtship, in the kissing and the dating and the desire, the compliments and the quarrels which vivify its barrenness.
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    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)