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Horses in Chinese Mythology

Βαθμολόγησε αυτό το Άρθρο Dragons are often the more prominent aspect in Chinese mythology. However, there are some pretty interesting mythical horses that are described in Chinese mythology. Want to find out more? Do read on!
Παιχνίδια με Άλογα στο Διαδίκτυο - Horses in Chinese Mythology

Unless you’re a fan of Chinese mythology, most people won’t even know that the Chinese is not only famous for its kung fu or cheap food, but also its mythology. Dragons are often the more prominent aspect in Chinese mythology. However, there are some pretty interesting mythical horses that are described in Chinese mythology. Want to find out more? Do read on!

One of the most bizarre horses in Chinese mythology is the dragon-horse hybrid, Longma, which is literally translated as “Dragon-horse”. The dragon-horse has been described as having the head of a dragon (Note: Traditional Chinese dragons are different than Western dragons) and a body and legs of a horse. However, the Longma is covered in dragon scales and has a fiery tail.

This mythical horse is often seen in Chinese mythology as a sign of manifestation of one of the group of mythological rulers, who possessed great morals and character, in Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. These rulers were considered demigods who are sent from heaven to help create the human race and also to impart their skills, knowledge and wisdom to them. There are also some accounts where Longma was said to have revealed one of the earliest example of a mathematical magic square, the Yellow River Map.

Besides Longma, there is also Tianma, the Chinese version of the Pegasus. Tianma, which literally means “heavenly horse”, is a mythical type of winged horse that is often described as having dragon-like features, much like Longma. The name was also used to describe a special breed of real life horses in Central Asia, namely the Ferghana horse, back in the Han dynasty due to their size, strength and prowess. Interestingly, Tianma were linked to this strange phenomenon of “blood-sweating”, which a scientist later discovered, can be associated with an endemic horse parasite called the Parafilaria multipapillosa.

Furthermore, the Chinese frequently holds the White Horse or Baima in the highest esteem due to how Buddhist teachings were introduced to China. In Chinese mythology, the 2 Buddhist monks rode on the backs of 2 white horses when they arrived from the Yuezhi territory. The Buddhist monk, Kumarajiva, have also reportedly transported important Buddhist scriptures via the ancient Silk Road to Dunhuang on the back of his trusty white horse, Tianliu.

Even in the famous mythological story, Journey to the West, the monk who was charged with carrying the scripture to... well, the west, was also riding a white horse for his journey. Due to the significance of White Horses in Chinese mythology and in Buddhism, there are many Buddhist temples in China that commemorate these events, such as the Luoyang White Horse Temple and the Dunhuang White Horse Temple.

In addition to the Tianma, Longma and White Horse, there is also a Chinese unicorn called the Qilin. Qilin is another hybrid animal that has the head of a dragon, the body and antlers of a deer, and the hooves of a horse. It is frequently depicted as being covered in flames. However, as most of it consists of “deer” rather than “horse”, Qilin is sadly not considered a type of Chinese mythical horse albeit being dubbed as the Chinese unicorn. That being said, Qilin is often favorably looked upon as it is thought to be a good omen linking to imminent prosperity and serenity.

Now that you know more about the various mythical horses in Chinese mythology, you might want to check out other articles of the series, namely Greek mythology and Norse mythology, as well. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, remember to rate this article!

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