Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

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Shinto-Cetra
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Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:10 am

I was looking at a Wikpedia article on Shenism/Chinese Folk Religion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_folk_religion
On thing struck me as interesting, in "Features-Gods of astral and terrestrial phenomena" (Bold my own):

"Longshen (龙神 "Dragon Gods") or Longwang (龙王 "Dragon Kings"),[vi] also Sihai Longwang (四海龙王 "Dragon Kings of the Four Seas"), are gods of watery sources, usually reduced to four, patrons of the Four Seas (sihai 四海) and the four cardinal directions. They are the White Dragon (白龙 Báilóng), the Black Dragon (玄龙 Xuánlóng), the Red Dragon (朱龙 Zhūlóng), and the Blue Dragon or Green Dragon (青龙 Qīnglóng). Corresponding with the Five Deities as the chthonic forces that they sublimate (the Dragon Gods are often represented as the "mount" of the Five Deities), they inscribe the land of China into an ideal sacred squared boundary. The fifth dragon, the Yellow Dragon (黄龙 Huánglóng), is the dragon of the centre representing Yellow Emperor and the source of the universe itself."

I wonder if this was the inspiration for Lunar's 4 dragons? If you use your head a bit, the Yellow Dragon/Emperor could even correspond to the Goddess Althena. Btw: I am not an expert of Ancient China (though I am fairly well versed on it), and as this is Wikipedia, I would be interested if anyone knows how factual this is. I tried a brief search of only ":.edu sources", and couldn't find much. Oh how I miss free access to JSTOR back in college...

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Kizyr » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:09 am

My theory... I don't think it's a direct and intentional reference. But dragons have figured in Chinese and Japanese folklore and mythology for ages, and hence they -- that is, Chinese and Japanese-style dragons -- have been fixtures in RPGs for decades now. Things being divided into fours -- four seasons, four cardinal directions, etc. -- is likewise a motif in a lot of folklore and literature.

So, this is actually really fascinating and I wasn't aware of it beforehand. But, I think it's just as likely an unintentional similarity (where the creators are drawing upon familiar stories, which in turn probably pulled from familiar stories, in creating the Lunar world) as an intentional one. KF
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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Alunissage » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:01 am

Incidentally, I just discovered that an early sketch of Fidy (Quark) is labelled Silver Dragon...

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:13 am

Alunissage wrote:Incidentally, I just discovered that an early sketch of Fidy (Quark) is labelled Silver Dragon...

Interesting, please do elaborate.

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Alunissage » Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:33 am

Here you go.

Silver dragon sketch.jpg
Silver dragon sketch.jpg (170.77 KiB) Viewed 3971 times


The writing below the dragon says "Silver dragon [etc]". I'm not entirely sure of the last bit ("scene", maybe) but I'm pretty sure about the silver dragon part.

This is from a 1991 magazine article that I've now scanned but need to reduce to post on the board.

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:48 pm

Alunissage wrote:Here you go.

Silver dragon sketch.jpg

The writing below the dragon says "Silver dragon [etc]". I'm not entirely sure of the last bit ("scene", maybe) but I'm pretty sure about the silver dragon part.

This is from a 1991 magazine article that I've now scanned but need to reduce to post on the board.


First off, cool concept art. My Japanese is a bit rusty but I managed to translate it:

ファイディ 白竜

アレスの住むブルグ村近くの洞窟にいるドラゴン。

Fidy (Quark) The White Dragon

Alex who lives in the village of Burg is far away in the dragon cavern.

白=White. Jisho.org lists silver as “銀色” or “銀”. So it's still "White Dragon", at least in this sketch.

EDIT: I looked into it more, and I think I see why you thought it was silver. Was it the "いる/iru" before the "ドラゴン/doragon"? I thought that it was the verb iru meaning that Alex was currently existing in/being in the cave, but "色" half of the kanji I posted for silver is read as "iru" as well. If anyone is fluent in Japanese please correct me.

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Kizyr » Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:34 pm

Shinto-Cetra wrote:EDIT: I looked into it more, and I think I see why you thought it was silver. Was it the "いる/iru" before the "ドラゴン/doragon"? I thought that it was the verb iru meaning that Alex was currently existing in/being in the cave, but "色" half of the kanji I posted for silver is read as "iru" as well. If anyone is fluent in Japanese please correct me.

Alun was actually referring to the really really small text in the sketch itself, not the caption. You're right that the text above does refer to him as the White Dragon.

Alunissage wrote:Here you go.
[Silver dragon sketch.jpg]
The writing below the dragon says "Silver dragon [etc]". I'm not entirely sure of the last bit ("scene", maybe) but I'm pretty sure about the silver dragon part.
This is from a 1991 magazine article that I've now scanned but need to reduce to post on the board.


First here's the captioned text:
Fidy (White Dragon)
The dragon in the cave near the village of Burg where Alex lives

Second, the really tiny text in the sketch itself says:
"scene with the silver dragon".

Because it says シルバードラゴン instead of something like 銀竜 (where the latter would be consistent with all the other dragons: 赤竜, 青竜, 白竜, 黒竜, and... uh... 星の竜 is another outlier I guess), I can't say for certain if they meant for this to be the "Silver Dragon" (capitalized) or just referred to it as a silver dragon as a placeholder reference. KF
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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Alunissage » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:00 pm

Yes, thanks. I do actually know that the text above the sketch says "white". That's why I referred to the writing (not print) below the dragon. I don't post things as definitely saying something unless I know I'm right. [/snit]

I could see Silver Dragon being a placeholder for Fidy before his name was selected.

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Sat Jul 30, 2016 5:21 am

Oh THAT. I didn't even notice that small text at first.

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Re: Lunar's dragons origin in ancient Chinese cosmology?

Postby Shiva Indis » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:53 pm

Kizyr wrote:My theory... I don't think it's a direct and intentional reference. But dragons have figured in Chinese and Japanese folklore and mythology for ages, and hence they -- that is, Chinese and Japanese-style dragons -- have been fixtures in RPGs for decades now. Things being divided into fours -- four seasons, four cardinal directions, etc. -- is likewise a motif in a lot of folklore and literature.


While I agree that this sort of thing is more about style than substance, I would like to note how Dragon Song pretty blatantly refs the closely related concept of the Four Gods https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Symbols_(China). And I'm not interested in trying to count the number of games/anime I've consumed that are into that one.
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