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In the year of the dragon. Where is the tomb of the dragon? (Continued)

Vasily Beregovoi • Drawings and illustrations, 2024
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About the artwork
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Subject and objects: Literary scene
Technique: Pencil
Materials: Paper
Date of creation: 2024
Region: Luts'k
Location: Vasily Beregovoi

Description of the artwork «In the year of the dragon. Where is the tomb of the dragon? (Continued)»

"...the castle gate and the tree (cassia) in front of it, equally as the well serving as a mirror, form a combination known also from European folklore" - yes, yes, he noticed - a mirror. And continued reading, "Europe probably also borrowed them from India, the cradle of Western and Eastern legends. In writing this, I learned the interesting fact, pointed out by Mr. Muller, that a similar myth exists in the islands of Cay and Minahassa. Some features in it so strikingly resemble those of the Japanese that we may be sure of its Indonesian origin. Probably the foreigners who conquered Japan in prehistoric times came from Indonesia and brought this myth with them" - the author did not realize that there was no conquest, for the author belonged to a society that was constantly conquering, he would say, and continued reading: "In the Kei Islands version, a man who loses a hook lent to him by his brother enters the clouds in a boat and finally finds the hook in the throat of a fish. In the Minahassa legend, however, he dives into the sea and finds himself in a village at the bottom underwater. There he discovers a hook in the throat of a girl, and is carried home on the back of a large fish. And, just as Hohodemi punished his brother by nearly drowning him with the treasure of the tide, so the hero of the legend Minahassa calls downpouring rain on the head of his wicked mate with his prayers. In Japan Buddhist influence has evidently changed the village in the sea into the palace of the Dragon King, but in the older version the god of the sea and his daughter retain their original appearance as wani, probably a type of crocodile, as indicated by the Chinese character. An old painting by Sensai Eitaku, shown by Müller, shows Hohodemi returning home on the back of a crocodile. It is quite possible that a form of Indonesian myth brought to Japan spoke of crocodiles, and the vague idea of these animals was preserved under the old name wani, which may be an Indonesian word. On p. 149 of the same work Aston says: "There is little doubt that the wani is really a Chinese dragon. In Japanese paintings it is often represented in this way. I have before me a print showing Toyotama-hiko and his daughter with dragon heads towering above human heads. It shows that he was not only regarded as the Dragon Lord, but that he himself was represented as a dragon..... In Japanese myth the serpent, or dragon, was almost always associated with water in one of these forms." He quotes an engraving on the same page, and we see at once that we are here not so much in Chinese as in Indian territory. In the Introduction I mentioned Grunweddel's description of the dragon in Indian art, so that it is needless to repeat here that "dragon-heads appearing over human heads" form quite an Indian motif, carried over into China, and thence into Korea and Japan. As the sea-god in the grand palace was an Indian conception, Japanese art represented him, of course, in the Indian way. This, however, does not prove that the Wani was originally identical with the Naga, or with the Sino-Indian Dragon Kings." Continuation follows. Beregovoy V.I. "In the Year of the Dragon. Where is the Tomb of the Dragon?"
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