Author: wchao37

2008 -- the Loong re-enters center-stage [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-1-3 08:40:24 |Display all floors

Reply #25 sockmonkey's post

But of course you would be right.

"Loong" can easily be pronounced wrong and made to sound like "luen" as in loonie.  The pinyin version is "long" which unfortunately has a meaning of its own in English.

Do you have a better suggestion?

There's a lot of ongoing debate on how this character can be translated into English.

One thing is sure though -- the word "dragon" cannot be used to portray the significance of the Chinese ideograph here:

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Post time 2008-1-3 08:53:58 |Display all floors

Loong vs dragon

Since the character has so much significance in Chinese culture, we are going to spend a little more time on it.

Chinese dragon
(According to Wikipedia)

Chinese name for "dragon" --

Traditional Chinese: 龍
Simplified Chinese: 龙
Hanyu Pinyin: Lóng
- Hanyu Pinyin: Lóng
Yue (Cantonese)
- Yale Romanization: Lùhng

Japanese name
Hiragana: 1. りゅう
2. たつ
Kyūjitai: 龍
Shinjitai: 竜
- Revised Hepburn: 1. ryū
2. tatsu
- Kunrei-shiki: 1. ryû
2. tatu

Korean name
Hangul: 룡/용
Hanja: 龍
- Revised
  Romanization: Ryong/Yong

Thai name
Thai: มังกรจีน
(mangkorn jihn)
Vietnamese name
Quốc ngữ: rồng, long
Hán tự: 龍

The Chinese dragon is a Chinese mythical creature, depicted as a long, scaled, snake-like creature with four claws. In contrast to the Western dragon which stands on four legs and which is usually portrayed as evil, Chinese dragon has long been a potent symbol of auspicious power in Chinese folklore and art. The Chinese dragon is traditionally also the embodiment of the concept of yang (male) and associated with the weather as the bringer of rain and water in an agriculturally water-driven nation. Its female counterpart is the Fenghuang.

An ancient seal script form of the character for "dragon" that is now written 龍 or 龙 and pronounced lóng in Mandarin Chinese.The dragon is sometimes used in the West as a national emblem of China. However, this usage within both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan is rare.

Firstly, the dragon was historically the symbol of the Emperor of China. Starting with the Yuan Dynasty, regular citizens were forbidden to associate themselves with the symbol. The dragon re-emerged during the Qing Dynasty and appeared on national flags.

Secondly, the dragon has aggressive, warlike connotations that the Chinese government wishes to avoid. It is for these reasons that the giant panda is far more often used within China as a national emblem than the dragon. In Hong Kong, however, the dragon is part of the design of Brand Hong Kong, a symbol used to promote Hong Kong as an international brand name.

Many Chinese people often use the term "Descendants of the Dragon" (龍的傳人) as a sign of ethnic identity, as part of a trend started in the 1970s when different Asian nationalities were looking for animal symbols for representations.[1] The wolf was used among the Mongols, the monkey among Tibetans.

In Chinese culture today, it is mostly used for decorative purposes. It is a taboo to disfigure a depiction of a dragon; for example, an advertisement campaign commissioned by Nike, which featured the American basketball player LeBron James slaying a dragon (as well as beating up an old Kung Fu master), was immediately censored by the Chinese government after public outcry over disrespect.

A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms also feature references to the dragon, for example: "Hoping one's son will become a dragon" (望子成龍, i.e. be as successful and powerful as a dragon).

Imagine the oddity if you translate this into English: "I hope my son will become a dragon, and my daughter a dragonlady."  

That would convey the exactly opposite meaning of what is intended.

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Post time 2008-1-3 08:57:33 |Display all floors

from same source as above

The Chinese people have worshipped "loong" for at least 7-8000 years.

The C-shaped jade dragon of Hongshan Culture is considered the prototype of Chinese dragon.

The origin of Chinese dragon is not certain, but many scholars agree that it originated from totems of different tribes in China. Some have suggested that it comes from a stylized depiction of existing animals, such as snakes, fish, or crocodiles. For example, the Banpo site of the Yangshao culture in Shaanxi featured an elongated, snake-like fish motif. Archaeologists believe the "long fish" to have evolved into images of the Chinese dragon. The association with fish is reflected in the legend of a carp that saw the top of a mountain and decided he was going to reach it. He swam upstream, climbing rapids and waterfalls letting nothing get in the way of his determination. When he reached the top there was the mythical "Dragon Gate" and when he jumped over he became a dragon. Several waterfalls and cataracts in China are believed to be the location of the Dragon Gate. This legend is used as an allegory for the drive and effort needed to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Jade-carved dragon garment ornament from the Warring States period (403 BC-221 BC).An alternative view, advocated by He Xin, is that the early dragon depicted a species of crocodile. Specifically, Crocodylus porosus, an ancient, giant crocodile. The crocodile is known to be able to accurately sense changes in air pressure, and be able to sense coming rain. This may have been the origin of the dragon's mythical attributes in controlling the weather, especially the rain. In addition, there is evidence of crocodile worship in ancient Babylonian, Indian, and Mayan civilizations. The association with the crocodile is also supported by the view in ancient times that large crocodiles are a variety of dragon. For example, in the Story of Zhou Chu, about the life of a Jin Dynasty warrior, he is said to have killed a "dragon" that infested the waters of his home village, which appears to have been a crocodile.

Others have proposed that its shape is the merger of totems of various tribes as the result of the merger of tribes. The coiled snake or dragon form played an important role in early Chinese culture. Legendary figures like Nüwa (女媧), Fuxi (伏羲) are depicted as having snake bodies. Some scholars report that the first legendary Emperor of China Huang Di (黃帝,Yellow Emperor) used a snake for his coat of arms. Every time he conquered another tribe, he incorporated his defeated enemy's emblem into his own. That explains why the dragon appears to have features of various animals.

"Coiled dragon" forms have been attributed to the Hongshan culture.[4] Why the Hongshan peoples "coiled" their dragon motifs while other cultures did not? Possibly the sleeping dinosaur fossil may offer a suggestion, because it was discovered within the same province, Liaoning. Perhaps Hongshan peoples found additional "sleeping dinosaur" fossils.

There is no direct connection between the Chinese dragon and the western dragon.
Dragon-C-shaped_jade_carved 7000 years old.jpg

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Post time 2008-1-3 09:17:41 |Display all floors
The following shows Jade carved loong from Warring States Period
Dragon, jade-carved, from Warring States period.jpg

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Post time 2008-1-3 09:23:02 |Display all floors
What you should note is that the Warring States which were welded by Qin in 221 B.C. into one political entity had an area larger than the Roman Empire in its heyday.

From the same source ibid:

The date for the beginning of the Warring States Period is somewhat in dispute. While it is frequently cited as 475 BC (following the Spring and Autumn Period), 403 BC — the date of the tripartition of the Jin — is also sometimes considered as the beginning of the period.

Warring States period

The Warring States Period, in contrast to the Spring and Autumn Period, was a period when regional warlords annexed smaller states around them and consolidated their rule. The process began in the Spring and Autumn Period, and by the 3rd century BC, seven major states had risen to prominence. These Seven Warring States (戰國七雄/战国七雄 Zhànguó Qīxióng, literally "Seven Hegemonial among the Warring States"), were the Qi (齊/齐), the Chu (楚), the Yan (燕), the Han (韓/韩), the Zhao (趙/赵), the Wei (魏) and the Qin (秦). Another sign of this shift in power was a change in title: warlords still considered themselves dukes (公 gōng) of the Zhou dynasty king; but now the warlords began to call themselves kings (王 wáng), meaning they were equal to the Zhou king.

The Warring States Period saw the proliferation of iron working in China, replacing bronze as the dominant metal used in warfare. Areas such as Shu (modern Sichuan) and Yue (modern Zhejiang) were also brought into the Chinese cultural sphere during this time. Different philosophies developed into the Hundred Schools of Thought, including Confucianism (elaborated by Mencius), Taoism (elaborated by Lao Zi and to a lesser extent Zhuang Zi, in that it is possible to see the philosophy espoused in the text of the Zhuang Zi as separate from what could be considered "classical Daoism"), Legalism (formulated by Han Feizi) and Mohism (formulated by Mozi). Trade also became important, and some merchants had considerable power in politics. Military tactics also changed. Unlike the Spring and Autumn Period, most armies in the Warring States Period made combined use of infantry and cavalry, and the use of chariots gradually fell into disfavor. Thus from this period on, the nobles in China remained a literate rather than warrior class, as the kingdoms competed by throwing masses of soldiers against each other. Arms of soldiers gradually changed from bronze to unified iron arms. Dagger-axes were an extremely popular weapon in various kingdoms, especially for the Qin who produced eighteen-foot long pikes.

This was also around the time the legendary military strategist Sun Tzu (Sun Zi) wrote The Art of War which is recognized today as the most influential, and oldest known military strategy guide. Along with this are other military writings that make up the Seven Military Classics of ancient China: T'ai Kung's Six Secret Teachings, The Methods of the Sima, Sun Bin's Art of War, Wu Qi, Wei Liaozi, Three strategies of Huang Shigong, and The Questions and Replies of Tang Taizong and Li Weigong (the last being made ±800 years after this era ended). Once China was unified, these seven military classics were locked away and access was restricted due to their tendency to promote revolution.
Warring States Period.jpg

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Post time 2008-1-3 09:26:03 |Display all floors
The Nine-dragon screen was, IMHO, the acme of loong-related ancient art.
Dragon - Nine-dragon-Screen-DatongJiulongBi.jpg

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Post time 2008-1-3 09:28:50 |Display all floors
Depiction of loong in cross-Pacific interchange in peace.

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