Ancient Chinese mythology

A characteristic feature of ancient Chinese mythology is the historicization of mythological characters who, under the influence of the rationalistic Confucian worldview, began to be interpreted as real figures of antiquity. The main characters of the myths turned into emperors, and the minor characters into dignitaries, officials. The euhemerization of myths contributed to the anthropomorphization of heroes, which continued in late folk mythology. Totemistic representations played an important role. The Yin tribes considered the swallow their totem, the Xia tribes – the snake. Gradually, the snake transformed into a dragon (moons), commanding rain, thunderstorms, water elements and simultaneously connected with underground forces. The dragon became the symbol of the emperor, and the mythical bird fenghuang became the symbol of the empress.

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