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Chinese Mythology - gui 龜, turtle

Periods of Chinese History
The turtle (gui 龜) is an auspicious animal in ancient China. It is said in the book Zhongxuanji 中玄記 that a thousand years of turtle is able to communicate with humans. In the age of one thousand years a turtle grows hair, as the Shuyiji 述異記 says. A five thousand years old turtle is called shengui 神龜 "divine turtle", an animal older thatn ten thousand years is called linggui 靈龜 "spiritual turtle".
The black turtle xuangui 玄龜, wugui 烏龜 or xuanwu 玄武, or "turtle-snake" guishe 龜蛇 is the symbol of the north, darkness and winter.
Other auspicious animals are phoenix (fenghuang 鳳凰), unicorn (qilin 麒麟) and dragon (long 龍).

Source: Yuan Ke 袁珂 (ed. 1985), Zhongguo shenhua chuanshuo cidian 中國神話傳說詞典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), pp. 137, 203.

August 20, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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