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Interviews with experts

Interview with "Lok-a-kang Culture Office" Wu-lang Cheng:

  

Question:The so-called "Nine Similarities Sharing by Dragon" demonstrates that the image of the dragon in ancient times is a complex sampled from nine animal shapes. Does such sampling follow rules and have special meanings? taking the appearances from nine animals

Answer: Take the Sanchuan Hall Dragon column of Lukang Longshan Temple as an example. Regarding the images used to carve the image of the dragon, there are the ancient statement of "Nine Similarities Sharing by Dragon. Dragon totem combines nine animals. Why do we use nine animals? This is because the "nine" means the highest number, and collection of the best part of nine animals becomes a dragon. Besides, the monarch dragon has five-claw, indicating the monarch's royal prerogative (nine and five).


    The significance and origins concerning the nine similarities sharing by dragon is summarized as follows:

Item Part Animal from which Appearance was Taken Feature Origin Significance
1 Horn Deer   Antlers have the most remarkable regeneration ability among all animals and their horns can be regenerated in case of being cutting off. The new pilos antler is full of blood and is not easy to break, but with the passage of time, it is calcified into a horn and fragile. Therefore, it is called coupling hardness with softness. Antler is a symbol of life and growth in nature and couples hardness with softness.
2 Eye Shrimp Bulgy eyes The lobster can see in 360 degrees and everywhere Extraordinary eyesight and can see things very clearly
3 Nose Dog  

It can scent smells from far away

A keen sense of smell
4 Mouth Cattle The early dragon mouth did not have the upper teeth (ruminant). But latter, people's views and definitions of the dragon changed, so the dragon sculpture started to have the upper teeth, believing the dragon would be fiercer with the function of guarding people. China is an agricultural country. Cattle can be used to cultivate land and have great strength, the so-called the strength of nine bulls and two tigers (tremendous effort). Therefore, cattle has been the most intimate animal of mankind since ancient times.  Cattle have four stomachs and are good at eating. It is generally believed that eating is a blessing, also known as a blessing mouth. Cattle have great strength and the cattle mouth can eat well
5 Back hair Lion   Lion has the grouping habits and knows how to cooperate and carry out group hunting. Compared with the (proud) tiger which fights alone (there cannot be two tigers in one territory), lion naturally becomes the king of beasts, thus understanding the importance of unity and cooperation. Rigid and strong
6 Body Snake   Snake is called the dragonet with degraded feet just as humans have degraded tails. Its body is bendable and flexible Bending flexibly
7 Claw Chicken/eagle The number of claws represents the position The sharp claw can grab things firmly Sharp
8 Scale Fish     Hard
9 Barbel Catfish     The catfish barbell has strong induction force



Question:What are the ways of presenting door deities in the image of dragon in Taiwan's temples?

Answer:The Chief God to which Taiwan's temples sacrifice offerings decides the representation ways of the door deities dragon. The imperial-level is decided by the number of claws. Besides, the common representation way (indirect representation) presents the god clothes with dragon ornamentation of door deities of military officials or civil officials. A few temples will have direct representations in the image of dragon totem because the Chief God to which Taiwan's temples sacrifice offerings is imperial-level, such as dragon and phoenix door deities of Changhua Nanyao Temple and double dragon door deities in Yunlin Beigang Chaotian Temple.


Question:What is the meaning of the two dragons grabbing a ball (worshiping the sun) which is commonly seen atop the rooftops of Taiwan temples?

Answer : Dragon ball or sun indicates successful and prosperous life and growth in nature, and its other meaning is to pray for large attendance of the temples. Since the dragon ball/the sun is pertinent to fire, so double dragons pertinent to water needs to be equipped, which meets China's traditional philosophy of harmony between yin and yang and completeness.


Question:Five-claw dragon column of the Qing Dynasty is quite rare in Taiwan, and the only five-claw dragon column is seen in the rear hall of Lukang Mazu Temple? Do you know the origin?

Answer : No literature is available. The general explanation is that the rear hall in the second floor of the Lukang Mazu Temple has the honor of building a five-claw Dragon column because the Jade Emperor to which the temple sacrifices offerings is the highest imperial level.


Interview with City and Tourism Development Section, Changhua City Office, instruct teachers: Hsin-jung Chiang, Chih-ping Huang, Hsiao-mu Wei

Ms. Hsin-jung Chiang

( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

Mr. Chih-ping Huang

( Source: Photo by Dragon Seekers )

Mr. Hsiao-mu Wei

( Source: :Provided by the Sightseeing Section of Changhua City Office )


Question:Five-claw dragon is the emperors' dedicated totem. Why the Imperial Road Dragon/Cloud Dragon in the Changhua Temple of Confucius is a five-claw dragon?

Answer : Five-claw dragon is an emperor-used totem and the civilian use of such dragon is prohibited. The stone carving of the Imperial Road Dragon/Cloud Dragon in the Changhua Temple of Confucius has a 5-claw dragon which came from the Mainland China, but without clear reasons. The reasons are not recorded in the literature. However, this can demonstrate that tolerance of emperors in different dynasties towards the civilian use of five-claw dragon varied, so the emperors or turned a blind eye. Mixed use of 5-claw dragons is found in both Taiwan and Mainland, is not a unique phenomenon in Taiwan but it is few and far between.


Question:Why are Changhua Nanyao Temple's door deities dragon and phhen totem instead of civil and military officers?

Answer : Generally, the temples with imperial-level chief god often directly use dragon totem as door deities, especially in Mazu Temples such as dragon and phoenix door deities in Changhua Nanyao Temple and golden dragon door deities in Yunlin Beigang Chaotian Temple. This is because Mazu is rumored to be the god of sea and in charge of the Dragon King.

 



Trace of Dragons in Changhua - Meet the Dragon through Time  / Team:Dragon Seekers
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