NAGA


Nāga

For the modern ethnic group, see Naga people. For other uses, see Naga (disambiguation).

A Hoysala sculpture of a Naga couple. Halebidu.

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Sarpa Kavu at Sakthanthamburan palace, Thrissur

Sarpa Kavu at Sakthanthamburan palace, Thrissur

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Vishnu resting on Ananta-Shesha, with consort Lakshmi.

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Naga stone worship at Hampi

Nāga (Sanskrit: नाग, IAST: nāgá, Burmese: နဂါး, ngar, Indonesian: naga, Javanese: någå, Khmer: នាគ neak, Thai: นาค nak, Chinese: 那伽) is the Sanskrit and Pāli word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very great snake—specifically the King Cobra, found in Hinduism and Buddhism. The use of the term nāga is often ambiguous, as the word may also refer, in similar contexts, to one of several human tribes known as or nicknamed “Nāgas”; to elephants; and to ordinary snakes, particularly the King Cobra and the Indian Cobra, the latter of which is still called nāg in Hindi and other languages of India. A female nāga is a nāgīn or nāginī.

Etymology

In Sanskrit, a nāgá (नाग) is a cobra, a specific type of snake (hooded snake). A synonym for nāgá is phain (फणिन्). There are several words for “snake” in general, and one of the very commonly used ones is sarpá (सर्प). Sometimes the word nāgá is also used generically to mean “snake”.[1][2] The word is cognate with English ‘snake’, Germanic: *snēk-a-, Proto-IE: *(s)nēg-o-.[3]

In the Mahabharata

In the great epic Mahabharata, the depiction of Nagas tends toward the negative, and they are portrayed as the deserving victims of the snake sacrifice and of predation by the eagle-king Garuda. The epic calls them “persecutors of all creatures”, and tells us “the snakes were of virulent poison, great prowess and excess of strength, and ever bent on biting other creatures” (Book I: Adi Parva, Section 20). At the same time, nagas are important players in many of the events narrated in the epic, frequently no more evil nor deceitful than the other protagonists, and sometimes on the side of good.

The epic frequently characterizes Nagas as having a mixture of human and serpent-like traits. Sometimes it characterizes them as having human traits at one time, and as having serpent-like traits at another. For example, the story of how the Naga prince Sesha came to hold the world on his head begins with a scene in which he appears as a dedicated human ascetic, “with knotted hair, clad in rags, and his flesh, skin, and sinews dried up owing to the hard penances he was practising.” Brahman is pleased with Shesha, and entrusts him with the duty of carrying the world. At that point in the story, Shesha begins to exhibit the attributes of a serpent. He enters into a hole in the Earth and slithers all the way to bottom, where he then loads the Earth onto his head. (Book I: Adi Parva, Section 36.)

Enmity with Garuda

The great nemesis of the Nagas in the Mahabharata is the gigantic eagle-king Garuda. Garuda and the Nagas began life as cousins. The sage Kasyapa had two wives, Kadru and Vinata, the former of whom desired many offspring, and the latter of whom desired few but powerful offspring. Each got her wish. Kadru laid 1000 eggs which hatched into snakes, and Vinata laid two, which hatched into the charioteer of Surya the sun god and Garuda. Through a foolish bet, Vinata became enslaved to her sister, and as a result Vinata’s son Garuda was required to do the bidding of the snakes. Though compliant, he chafed and built up a grudge that he would never relinquish. When he asked the snakes what he would have to do in order to be released from his bondage, they told him he would have to bring them amrita, the elixir of immortality. Garuda stole the elixir from the gods and brought it to the serpents in fulfillment of their requirement, but through a ruse prevented them from partaking of it and achieving immortality. From that point onward, he regarded them as enemies and as food. (Book I: Adi Parva, Sections 16ff.)

The curse of Kadru

Kadru, the ancestral mother of snakes, made a bet with her sister Vinata, the stakes being that the loser would be enslaved to the winner. Eager to secure victory, Kadru requested the cooperation of her offspring in order to fix the bet so that Kadru would win. When her offspring balked at the request, Kadru grew angry and cursed them to die a fiery death in the snake-sacrifice of King Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, who was the son of Abhimanyu the son of Arjuna. The king of the snakes Vasuki was aware of the curse, and knew that his brethren would need a hero to rescue them from it. He approached the renowned ascetic Jaratkaru with a proposal of marriage to a snake-goddess, Manasa, Vasuki’s own sister. Out of the union of the ascetic and the snake-maiden was born “a son of the splendor of a celestial child.” This son was named Astika, and he was to be the savior of the snakes.

In accordance with Kadru’s curse, Janamejaya prepared a snake sacrifice of a type described in the scriptures, the Puranas. He erected a sacrificial platform and hired priests and other professionals needed for the rites. Following the proper form, the priests lit the sacrificial fire, duly fed it with clarified butter, uttered the required mantras, and began calling the names of snakes. The power of the rite was such that the named snakes were summoned to the fire and were consumed by it. As the sacrifice took on genocidal proportions, Astika came to the rescue. He approached Janamejaya and praised the sacrifice in such eloquent terms that the king offered to grant him a boon of his choosing. Astika promptly requested that the sacrifice be terminated. Though initially regretful of his offer, Janamejaya was true to his word, and the sacrifice came to an end. (Book I: Adi Parva, Sections 13-58.)

Other mentions in the Mahabharata

A naga guarding the Temple of Wat Sisaket in Vientiane, Laos

  • The serpent king Vasuki helped the gods to recover amrita, the elixir of immortality, from the Ocean of Milk by serving as the cord they wrapped around Mount Mandara in order to churn up the depths of the ocean. (Book I: Adi Parva, Section 18.)
  • The naga princess Ulupi had a son Iravat by the Pandava hero Arjuna. (Book I: Adi Parva, Section 216.) Though he had the support of many nagas, Iravat was eventually slain by the Rakshasa Alamvusha at the battle of Kurukshetra. (Book VI: Bhishma Parva, Section 91.)
  • Matali, the charioteer of the god Indra, sought a husband for his daughter Gunakesi. He approached the naga Aryaka and proposed the marriage of Gunakesi with the naga’s handsome grandson Sumukha. Alas, Aryaka replied, Garuda had already declared his intent to devour the comely youth, having previously murdered his father. Matali, however, persuaded Indra and Vishnu to give Sumukha a draught of amrita, the elixir of immortality. Sumukha drank the potion, and thus was rendered impervious to any assault by the lord of the birds. The young couple were happily married. (Book V: Udyoga Parva, Section 103.)

In Hinduism

Compare with Tiamat and Apsu.

An open-air Lingam(symbol of god Shiva) from Lepakshi sheltered by a naga

Stories involving the nāgas are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu regions of Asia (India, Nepal, and the island of Bali). In India, nāgas are considered nature spirits and the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought. According to traditions nāgas are only malevolent to humans when they have been mistreated. They are susceptible to mankind’s disrespectful actions in relation to the environment. They are also associated with waters—rivers, lakes, seas, and wells—and are generally regarded as guardians of treasure. According to Beer (1999),[page needed] Naga and cintamani are often depicted together and associated directly in the literature.

They are objects of great reverence in some parts of southern India where it is believed that they bring fertility and prosperity to their venerators. Expensive and grand rituals like Nagamandala[4] are conducted in their honor (see Nagaradhane). In India, certain communities called Nagavanshi consider themselves descendants of Nagas.

Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, is viewed as the King of the nāgas. Nāgas live in Pātāla, the seventh of the “nether” dimensions or realms.[5] They are children of Kashyapa and Kadru. Among the prominent nāgas of Hinduism are Manasa, Shesha or Sesa, and Vasuki.

The nāgas also carry the elixir of life and immortality. Garuda once brought it to them and put a cup with elixir on the ground but it was taken away by Indra. However, few drops remained on the grass. The nāgas licked up the drops, but in doing so, cut their tongues on the grass, and since then their tongues have been forked.[6]

Vishnu is originally portrayed in the form sheltered by a Shesha naga or reclining on Shesha, but the iconography has been extended to other deities as well. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms: around the neck [7], use as a sacred thread (Sanskrit: yajñyopavīta)[8] wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne.[9] Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.[10]

Nagas are also snakes that may take human form. They tend to be very curious.

Patanjali as Adi-Sesha

Maehle (2007: p.?) affirms that according to tradition, Patañjali is held to be an incarnation of Ādi S’esha.

[edit] In Buddhism

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Mucalinda sheltering Gautama Buddha; Wall-Painting from monastery in Laos.

Traditions about nāgas are also very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. In many countries, the nāga concept has been merged with local traditions of great and wise serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the nāga was equated with the klu, wits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the nāga was equated with the lóng or Chinese dragon.

The Buddhist nāga generally has the form of a great cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the nāgas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance. In Buddhist painting, the nāga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. One nāga, in human form, attempted to become a monk; when telling it that such ordination was impossible, the Buddha told it how to ensure that it would be reborn a man, able to become a monk.

Gigantic naga protecting Buddha amongst the other sculptures of Bunleua Sulilat‘s Sala Keoku.

Nāgas are believed to both live on Mount Sumeru, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in streams or the mer; others are earth-dwellers, living in underground caverns. Some of them sleep on top of anthills. Their food includes frogs and they love milk.[citation needed]

The nāgas are the servants of Virūpākṣa (Pāli: Virūpakkha), one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the devas of Trāyastriṃśa from attack by the Asuras.

Among the notable nāgas of Buddhist tradition is Mucalinda, protector of the Buddha. In the Vajrayana and Mahasiddha traditions according to Beer (1999),[page needed] many notable fully enlightened nagas also transmitted and/or transported terma into and out of the human realm that had been elementally encoded by adepts.

Norbu (1999: p.?) states that according to tradition the Prajnaparamita terma teachings are held to have been conferred upon Nagarjuna by Nagaraja, the King of the nagas, who had been guarding them at the bottom of a lake. Refer Lotus Sutra.

Well-known nāgas

Krishna dancing on the serpent Kaliya; while the serpent’s wives pray to Krishna

Where nāga live

  • Patala (or Nagaloka), the seventh of the “nether” dimensions or realms, Bhoga-vatī being its capital.[13]
  • Lake Manosarowar, lake of the Great Nāgas.
  • Mount Sumeru
  • Nagaland in India
  • Kacha Naga/Duplicate Naga, the Naga tribes outside Nagaland.
  • Naggar, village in the Himalayas, Tibet, that derives its name from Naga (Cobra).
  • Nagpur, Indian city derived from Nāgapuram, literally “city of nāgas”.
  • Pacific Ocean (Cambodian myth)
  • Sheshna’s well in Benares, India, said to be an entrance to Patala.
  • Nagadaa, where naag-yaGYa was performed.
  • Mekong river
  • Anantnag, Indian city (Kashmir) named after one of 12 prominent divine naga king mentioned in Bhavishyapuran.
  • Takshila, an ancient place in Pakistan named after one of 12 prominent divine naga king in Bhavishyapuran.

Other traditions

A naga at the steps of a building in the Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok

For Malay sailors, nāgas are a type of dragon with many heads; in Thailand and Java, the nāga is a wealthy underworld deity. In Laos they are beaked water serpents. Phaya Naga, Water Dragon, is a well-known dragon in Thailand. People in Thailand see it as a holy creature and worship it in the temple. It allegedly lives in Mekong river.

In Lake Chinni

In Malay and Orang Asli traditions, the lake Chinni, located in Pahang is home to a naga called Sri Gumum. Depending on legend versions, her predecessor Sri Pahang or her son left the lake and later fought a naga called Sri Kemboja. It should be noted that Kemboja is the former name of what is Cambodia. Like the naga legends there, there are stories about an ancient empire in lake Chinni, although the stories are not linked to the naga legends. [14] [15]

In Cambodia

Cambodian Naga at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

In a Cambodian legend, the nāga were a reptilian race of beings who possessed a large empire or kingdom in the Pacific Ocean region. See Kaliya. The Nāga King’s daughter married an Indian Brahmana named Kaundinya, and from their union sprang the Cambodian people. Therefore still Cambodians say that they are “Born from the Nāga”.

The Seven-Headed Nāga serpents depicted as statues on Cambodian temples, such as Angkor Wat, apparently represent the seven races within Nāga society, which has a mythological, or symbolic, association with “the seven colors of the rainbow”. Furthermore, Cambodian Nāga possess numerological symbolism in the number of their heads. Odd-headed Nāga symbolise the Male Energy, Infinity, Timelessness, and Immortality. This is because, numerologically, all odd numbers come from One (1). Even-headed Nāga are said to be “Female, representing Physicality, Mortality, Temporality, and the Earth.”

In the Mekong

Main article: Naga fireballs

Naga emerging from mouth of Chinese dragon

Nagayon Paya ( means Dragon-roofed-Buddha ) at Monywa, Myanmar

The legend of the Nāga is a strong and sacred belief held by Thai and Lao people living along the Mekong River. Many pay their respects to the river because they believe the Nāga still rule in it, and locals hold an annual sacrifice for the Nāga. Each ceremony depends on how each village earns its living from the Mekong River — for instance, through fishing or transport. Local residents believe that the Nāga can protect them from danger, so they are likely to make a sacrifice to Nāga before taking a boat trip along the Mekong River.[citation needed]

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Also, every year on the night of 15th day of 11th month in the Lao lunar calendar at the end of Vassa, an unusual phenomenon occurs in the area of the Mekong River stretching over 20 kilometres between Pak-Ngeum and Phonephisai districts in Nong Khai province, Thailand. Fireballs appear to rise from the river into the nighttime sky. Local villagers believe that Nāga under Mekong River shoot the fireballs into the air to celebrate the end of Vassa, because Nāga meditate during this time.[16]

A photograph on display in bars, restaurants, guesthouses, and markets around Thailand captioned, Queen of Nagas seized by American Army at Mekhong River, Laos Military Base on June 27, 1973 with the length of 7.80 meters is a hoax. The photograph is actually that taken by USN LT DeeDee Van Wormer, of an oarfish found in late 1996 by US Navy SEAL trainees on the coast of Coronado, California[17][18]

In 2000, Richard Freeman from the Centre for Fortean Zoology visited the area and talked with witnesses who claimed to have seen gigantic snakes far larger than any python. The general description was of a 60 foot serpent with black scales that had a greenish sheen. Freeman speculated that the nāga legend was based on a real animal, possibly a giant madtsoiid snake.[19]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For the specific terminology for cobra see p. 432, Vaman Shivram Apte, The Student’s English-Sanskrit Dictionary (Motilal Banarsidass: 2002 reprint edition) ISBN 81-208-0299-3.
  2. ^ Vaman Shivram Apte. A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. p. 539. The first definition of nāgaḥ given reads “A snake in general, particularly the cobra.”
  3. ^ Proto-IE: *(s)nēg-o-, Meaning: snake, Old Indian: nāgá- m. ‘snake’, Germanic: *snēk-a- m., *snak-an- m., *snak-ō f.; *snak-a- vb. http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/ie/piet&text_number=2649&root=config
  4. ^ http://www.udupipages.com/home/temple/naga.html
  5. ^ Patala
  6. ^ Mahābhārata 1.30.20, Sanskrit: http://sacred-texts.com/hin/mbs/mbs01030.htm, English: http://sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01035.htm
  7. ^ For the story of wrapping Vāsuki around the neck and Śeṣa around the belly and for the name in his sahasranama as Sarpagraiveyakāṅgādaḥ (“Who has a serpent around his neck”), which refers to this standard iconographic element, see: Krishan, Yuvraj (1999), Gaņeśa: Unravelling An Enigma, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, ISBN 81-208-1413-4 pp=51-52.
  8. ^ For text of a stone inscription dated 1470 identifying Ganesha’s sacred thread as the serpent Śeṣa, see: Martin-Dubost, p. 202.
  9. ^ For an overview of snake images in Ganesha iconography, see: Martin-Dubost, Paul (1997). Gaņeśa: The Enchanter of the Three Worlds. Mumbai: Project for Indian Cultural Studies. ISBN 81-900184-3-4. , p. 202.
  10. ^ Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.  ; p. 151
  11. ^ Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.26.25
  12. ^ Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.1.24
  13. ^ Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.11.11
  14. ^ http://www.nici.ru.nl/~peterh/srigumum/doc/stories.html
  15. ^ http://www.journeymalaysia.com/ML_chini.htm
  16. ^ Bang Fai Phaya Nark (Naga fireballs)
  17. ^ Ranges, Trevor (2002 – 2006). “A Big Fish Tale”. thailandroad.com. pp. 2. http://www.thailandroad.com/trevor/naga.html. “We were on our morning physical fitness run when we came across this huge fish lying on the sand.”
  18. ^ “SEALs and a serpent of the sea” (PDF). ALL HANDS. Naval Media Center. April 1997. pp. 20-21. http://www.navy.mil/media/allhands/acrobat/ah199704.pdf. “The silvery serpent of the sea – an oarfish – was discovered last year by Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Instructor Signalman 2nd Class (SEAL) Kevin Blake.”
  19. ^ “In the coils of the Naga,” ForteanTimes, January 2003

References

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DRUK, The Thunder Dragon


Druk

This article is about Druk, the Thunder Dragon. For other uses, see Druk (disambiguation).

The Flag of Bhutan features Druk

The Druk (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་) is the “Thunder Dragon” of Bhutanese mythology and a Bhutanese national symbol. A druk appears on the Bhutanese Flag, holding jewels to represent wealth. In the Dzongkha language, Bhutan is called Druk Yul, or Land of Druk, and Bhutanese leaders are called Druk Gyalpo, Dragon Kings – because of Druk. During the Bhutanese mock election in 2007, all four mock parties were called the Druk colour Party[1]. The national anthem of Bhutan, Druk Tsendhen, translates into English as ‘The Kingdom of Druk’.

Other Asian dragons

References

  1. ^ Every party had a separate colour representing its values.
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Vietnamese Dragon


Vietnamese Dragon

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Coat of Arms of South Vietnam, 1955-1975.

Vietnamese dragons (Vietnamese: rồng or long ) are symbolic creatures in the folklore and mythology of Vietnam. According to an ancient creation myth, the Vietnamese people are descended from a dragon and a fairy.

To Vietnamese people, the dragon brings rain, essential for agriculture. It represents the emperor, the prosperity and power of the nation. Like the Chinese dragon, the Vietnamese dragon is the symbol of yang, representing the universe, life, existence, and growth.

The legend

The 5th-generation grandson of Shennong, Lạc Long Quân– king of the dragonkind living near the Đông sea, married a goddess, Âu Cơ who was the daughter of the birdkind king Đế Lai. Âu Cơ bore 100 eggs, which hatched into 100 sons. The first-born son became the king of Lạc Việt, the first dynasty of Vietnam, and proclaimed himself Emperor Hùng Vương. The First was followed by Hùng Vương The Second, Hùng Vương The Third and so on, through 18 reigns. This is the origin of the Vietnamese proverb: “Con Rồng, cháu Tiên” (“Children of Dragon, Grandchildren of Gods”).

Historical development of Vietnamese dragon image

Prehistory

The Vietnamese dragon is the combined image of crocodile, snake, lizard and bird. Historically, the Vietnamese people lived near rivers, so they venerated crocodiles as “Giao Long”, the first kind of Vietnamese dragon.

There are some kinds of dragons found on archaeological objects. One group is that of the crocodile-dragons, with the head of a crocodile and the body of a snake. The cat-dragon excavated on a glazed terracotta piece in Bac Ninh has some features of Đại Việt period dragon: it does not have a crocodile head, its head is shorter and it has a long neck, its wing and backfin are long lines, and its whiskers and fur are found in the Đại Việt dragon image.

Ngô Dynasty (938–965)

On the brick from this period found in Co Loa, the dragon is short, with a cat-like body and a fish’s backfin.

Lý Dynasty (1010–1225)

The Lý Dynasty is the dynasty which laid the foundation of Vietnamese feudal culture. Buddhism was widespread and Van Mieu, the first feudal university, was opened. The slender, flowing dragon of this period represents the King, and is literature dragon.

These dragons’ perfectly rounded bodies curve lithely, in a long sinuous shape, tapering gradually to the tail. The body has 12 sections, symbolising 12 months in the year. On the dragon’s back are small, uninterrupted, regular fins. The head, held high, is in proportion with the body, and has a long mane, beard, prominent eyes, crest on nose (pointing forwards), but no horns. The legs are small and thin, and usually 3-toed. The jaw is opened wide, with a long, thin tongue; the dragons always keep a châu (gem/jewel) in their mouths (a symbol of humanity, nobility and knowledge). These dragons are able to change the weather, and are responsible for crops.

Trần Dynasty (1225–1400)

The Trần Dynasty dragon was similar to that of the Ly dynasty but looked more intrepid. The Tran dragon has new details: arms and horns. Its fiery crest is shorter. Its slightly curved body is fat and smaller toward the tail. There are many kinds of tail (straight and pointed tail, spiral tail) as well as many kinds of scale (a regular half-flower scale, slightly curved scale).

The Tran dragon symbolised the martial arts, because the Tran kings were descended from a Mandarin commander. The Vietnamese had to fight Mongol invaders in this age.

Lê Dynasty

In this period, the Vietnamese dragon’s image was influenced by the Chinese dragon, because of Confucianism‘s expansion policy. Differing from those of the previous dynasty, dragons in this age are not only represented in a curved posture among clouds but also in others. These dragons were majestic, with lion-heads. Instead of a fiery crest, they have a large nose. Their bodies only curve in two sections. Their feet have five sharp claws.

Dragon roof detail, imperial enclosure, Huế

Nguyễn Dynasty

(1802–1883) During the early part of the Nguyễn Dynasty, the dragon is represented with a spiral tail and a long fiery sword-fin. Dragons were personified by a mother with her children or a pair of dragons. Its head and eyes are large. It has stag horns, a lion’s nose, exposed canine teeth, regular flash scale, curved whiskers. Images of the Dragon King have 5 claws, while images of lesser dragons have only 4 claws.

(1883–1945) In this later period, the dragon image degenerated and became unrefined, losing its natural and majestic shape, and was seen as a signal of the decline in art of the last Vietnamese dynasty.

Dragon in literature

One of four dragons in front of Ngu Long Mon

Some proverbs and sayings mention dragons but imply something else:

“Rồng gặp mây”: “Dragon meets clouds” – In favourable condition.

“Đầu rồng đuôi tôm”: “Dragon’s head, shrimp’s tail” – Good at first and bad at last; something which starts well but ends badly.

“Rồng bay, phượng múa”: “Dragon flight, phoenix dance” – Used to praise the calligraphy of someone who writes Chinese ideograms well.

“Rồng đến nhà tôm”: “Dragon visits shrimp’s house” – A saying used by a host to (or of) his guest: the host portrays himself as a humble shrimp and his guest as a noble dragon.

“Ăn như rồng cuốn, nói như rồng leo, làm như mèo mửa”: “Eating as dragon scrolls, talking as dragon climbs, working as cat vomits” – A criticism of someone who eats too much and talks a lot, but is lazy.

Vietnamese place-names, and other things, named after dragons

Ha Noi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội), the capital of Vietnam, was known in ancient times as Thăng Long (from Thăng, meaning “to grow, to develop, to rise, to fly, or to ascend” and Long, meaning “dragon”); the capital is still referred to by this name in literature. In 1010, King Lý Thái Tổ moved the capital from Hoa Lư to Đại La, which decision was explained in his Chiếu dời đô (Royal proclamation of moving capital): he saw a Rồng vàng (yellow dragon) fly around on the clear blue sky, so he changed the name of Đại La to Thăng Long, meaning “Vietnam’s bright and developed future”. Furthermore, one of Thăng Long Four Defense Deity (Vietnamese: Thăng Long Tứ Trấn) is Long Đỗ Deity (literally: dragon’s navel- where is the center, the place that Earth and Sky meet each other- according to orient’s view, the belly has a role which is as important as the heart is in western view). Long Đỗ Deity helped Lý Thái Tổ to build Thăng Long citadel.

Many place-names in Vietnam incorporate the word Long, or Rồng (also meaning dragon): Ha Long Bay (vịnh Hạ Long), the section of the Mekong river flowing through Vietnam contains 9 branches and is called Cửu Long (meaning nine dragons); Hàm Rồng bridge, Long Biên bridge. Other things named after dragons include: Thanh Long (dragonfruit), vòi rồng (waterspout), xương rồng (Cactaceae), long nhãn (dragon eyes: Vietnamese cognate word for longan fruit).


Korean Dragon


Korean Dragon

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Korean dragon
Korean name
Hangul 용/룡 (미르)
Hanja
Revised Romanization yong/ryong (mireu)
McCune–Reischauer yong/ryong (mirŭ)

Korean dragons are legendary creatures in Korean mythology and folklore. Although generally comparable with Chinese dragons in appearance and symbolic significance, Korean dragons have unique culture-specific properties that differentiate them from dragons in other cultures.

Korean dragons

Whereas most dragons in European mythology are generally related to the elements of fire and destruction, dragons in Korean mythology are mostly viewed as benevolent beings related to water and agriculture, often considered bringers of rain and clouds. Hence, many Korean dragons are said to have resided in rivers, lakes, oceans, or even deep ponds within mountains.

The symbol of the dragon has been used extensively, both in Korean mythology and ancient Korean art.

Ancient texts sometimes mention sentient speaking dragons, capable of understanding such complex emotions such as devotion, kindness, and gratitude. One particular Korean legend speaks of the great King Munmu, who on his deathbed wished to become a “Dragon of the East Sea in order to protect Korea”.

The Korean dragon was said to have certain specific traits, generally like the Chinese dragon, but it developed a longer beard. It is in many ways very similar in appearance to dragons of Chinese and Japanese mythology.

Very occasionally a dragon may be depicted as carrying a dragon orb known as the Yeouiju (여의주) in one or more of its claws. Modeled after the mythical Cintamani jewel or pearl, it was said that whoever could wield the Yeouiju was blessed with the abilities of omnipotence and creation at will, and that only four-toed dragons (who had thumbs with which to hold the orbs) were both wise and powerful enough to wield these orbs, as opposed to the lesser, three-toed dragons.

As with China, the number nine is significant and auspicious in Korea, and dragons were said to have 81 (9×9) scales on their backs, representing yang essence.

Korean folk mythology states that most dragons were originally Imugis, or lesser dragons, which were said to resemble gigantic serpents. It was thought that an Imugi could become a true dragon, or yong/mireu, if it caught a Yeouiju which had fallen from heaven.

Korean cockatrice

The Korean cockatrice is known as a gye-ryong (계룡/鷄龍), which literally means chicken-dragon; they do not appear as often as dragons. They are sometimes seen as chariot-pulling beasts for important legendary figures or for the parents of legendary heroes. One such legend involves the founding of the Kingdom of Silla, whose princess was said to have been born from a cockatrice egg.

Further reading

Bates, Roy, Chinese Dragons, Oxford University Press, 2002

Bates, Roy, All About Chinese Dragons, China History Press, 2007.

Other Asian dragons

External links

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_dragon

New Miss Universe Crowned


22-year-old Mexico woman crowned Miss Universe,

Jimena Navarrete of Guadalajara, Monday August 23, 2010

in Las Vegas, and become  The 59th Miss Universe

===

The National Costumes portion of the Miss Universe  

Pageant is intended to celebrate the diversity and  

heritage of each contestant’s country. Let’s just say 

 some of the women were very liberal with their  

interpretations. See below the gallery to see the  

most outrageous outfits.Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss USA – Rima Fakih’s golden getup was inspired 

 by the seal of the president of the United States.  

Voters would not approve.Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP

– Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Turkey – Did Gizem Memic draw inspiration 

 from Lady Gaga?Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

 Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Switzerland – Shield our eyes from 

 Linda Fah’s crazy costume!Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Spain – Adriana Reveron could’ve 

 represented America with this ruffled red, white, 

 and blue dress.Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

 Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Kosovo – Don’t make fun of Keshtjella Pepshi’s 

 outfit; she’s armed and dangerous. 

Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Great Britain – The beefeater-inspired uniform  

is unique, but what’s up with the Tara Vaitiere  

Hoyos’s latex leggings?Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

 Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss France – Eiffel Tower? Check. Beret? Check. 

 French flag? Check. Malika Menard is a walking  

souvenir shop.Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

 Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Dominican Republic – Eva Arias must 

 have really, really strong neck muscles. 

Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP – Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Croatia – Lana Obad looked like she belonged 

 at Mardi Gras, not Miss Universe. 

Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP – Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Belgium – Cilou Annys’s accessorized her  

tennis tribute with a ball-shaped scrunchie, racquet,  

and tennis shoes err … heels. 

Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP – Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Angola – We’re surprised Jurema Ferraz  

didn’t take out any lights with her horned headpiece 

.Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP – Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

======

Miss Panama – If you look really closely, you might 

 be able to see Anyoli Abrego under this mountain 

 of material.Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP –

 Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM

Miss Peru – Dozens of tassels were sacrificed  

for Giuliana Zevallos’s outfit.Miss Universe Organization LP, LLLP

– Tuesday, August, 24, 2010, 4:24 AM