Saturday, June 2, 2007

Waterfalls and Dragons

Qu Yuan and the Dragon Boats

I happened upon the story of Qu Yuan because of an art assignment. The assignment was to take two animals and combine them to make a new one. I made a dragon fish, combining a carp’s tail and a dragon’s head. The carp was from Hokusai, and the Dragon was from a roof with a Chinese Imperial Dragon in a photo of Old Shanghai.

The Imperial Dragons look a bit like the Aztec Feathered Dragons. In fact, there’s a book I read that noted the similarities between Chinese, Asian art and the art of the Mayans and Aztecs—pretty convincing of contact between the two.

Qu Yuan lived in a time of wars, and corruption, and to protest the later he walked into a river and took his own life. In reading the tale, I learned about the Dragon Boat Races, and about Chinese Dragons, and carp that ascend waterfalls, all full of symbolism and ritual.

There’s something about Qu Yuan that reminds me of Suibhne’s tale. They’re both remembered for their poetry.

The dragon Cadmus killed was a sacred guardian of a spring. More about that tomorrow…
Tree in the Door
June 2, 2007

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