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Asian Mythology. China. Most myths recorded during the Han dynasty (206BC-AD220) First emperor burned all books not about medicine, prophecy, or farming. China –Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors.

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  • Most myths recorded during the Han dynasty (206BC-AD220)
  • First emperor burned all books not about medicine, prophecy, or farming
china three sovereigns and five emperors
China –Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
  • Chinese mythology tells us about the first legendary rulers of Ancient China. These wise men and demigods ruled long before the first Chinese dynasty.
  • The Three Sovereigns were powerful demigods who lived to be very old and brought peace and prosperity to the land during their rule.
china three sovereigns and five emperors1
China –Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
  • Fu Xi - Fu Xi was said to have invented fishing, trapping, and writing. His sister was Nuwa. It was Fu Xi and Nuwa who crafted the first humans out of clay.
  • Nuwa - Nuwa was the sister of Fu Xi. She helped him to create humans and also repaired the wall of heaven.
  • Shennong - Shennong's name means "Divine Farmer.” He brought the knowledge of agriculture to the Chinese people. He invented the plow, axe, hoe, irrigation, and the Chinese calendar.
china three sovereigns and five emperors2
China –Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
  • Other names for the Three Sovereigns include The Heavenly Sovereign, The Earthly Sovereign, and the Human Sovereign.
  • The Five Emperors were perfect kings who ruled wisely and with honor. The most famous of the Five Emperors was the Yellow Emperor. He ruled for 100 years and brought about the start of the Chinese civilization. In addition to the Yellow Emperor were Zhuanzu, Emperor Ku, Emperor Yao, and Shun.
chinese dragon
Chinese Dragon
  • The greatest creature in Chinese mythology is the legendary dragon. The dragon is a long snake-like creature with four legs each with long and dangerous claws. Some dragons are drawn with small wings, but they all have the magical power to fly. Dragons were thought to have power over water and the weather. They can control storms, tornadoes, the ocean, and floods.
  • The dragon was the symbol of the emperor. His throne was even called the Dragon Throne. It is said that the Yellow Emperor turned into a dragon and flew to heaven when he died
other mythical creatures
Other Mythical Creatures
  • The dragon, phoenix, tortoise, and kylin are the four most revered animals of ancient China. Of these only the tortoise is real, the others being entirely fictitious; each was a symbol of good fortune and this is why people paid them so much respect.
the phoenix
The Phoenix
  • The phoenix is splendid and regarded as the king of birds. Usually it paired with the dragon and in wedding celebrations it is a wish for a harmonious marriage for the new couple. Once the dragon became a totem of the emperor, the phoenix was accorded a similar significance to empresses.
the tortoise
The Tortoise
  • The tortoise is one of the animals that has endured longest on earth and as such is a symbol of longevity and wealth because it is thought that the tortoise evolved while collecting the nimbus of nature.
the kylin
The Kylin
  • The kylin has a compound appearance with dragon's head, antlers, horse's hoofs, an oxtail, wolf's forehead and a colorful scute. It is lively, intelligent, and gentle, but valorous to ward off devils.
legend of the new year
Legend of the New Year
  • The legend of the Chinese New Year began in a small village many thousands of years ago.
  • Each winter a monster named Nian would enter the village and attack the people. The villagers were scared and didn't know what to do.
  • Then one year a wise old man figured out a plan. The next time Nian appeared the people used fireworks and drums to make a lot of noise. These noises scared off the monster and it fled into the hills.
legend of the new year1
Legend of the New Year
  • The people of the village celebrated the day that they freed themselves from the monster. Each year they would light fireworks and celebrate their victory. This day became the start of the Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year.
interesting facts about chinese mythology
Interesting Facts about Chinese Mythology
  • Only the emperor could wear clothes that had pictures of the dragon.
  • Nian was said to have the body of a bull and the head of a lion.
  • Sometimes the Yellow Emperor was considered one of the Three Sovereigns.
  • The Three Sovereigns are also known as the Three August Ones.
  • Some records show that the Three Sovereigns each ruled for over 10,000 years.
  • It was the Yellow Emperor's wife, Leizu, who taught the Chinese how to make silk from silkworms.
  • Emperor Yao was said to have been morally perfect and served as the example of how all future Chinese emperors should behave.
  • Crossed the Korea Strait during the Han dynasty in China
    • Ainu people where on the island before them
  • Recorded their myths in 8th century AD
  • Japanese mythology includes a vast number of gods, goddesses, and spirits. Most of the stories concern the creation of the world, the foundation of the islands of Japan, and the activities of deities, humans, animals, spirits, and magical creatures. Some myths describe characters and events associated with particular places in Japan. Others are set in legendary locations, such as the heavens or the underworld.
source of japanese myths
Source of Japanese Myths
  • For many centuries myths were transmitted orally in Japan. In A . D . 712, a written version of the mythology, the Kojiki(Records of Ancient Matters), was compiled for the Japanese imperial court. The tales in the Kojiki tell of the creation of the world, the origin of the gods, and the ancestry of the Japanese emperors, who claimed descent from the sun goddess Amaterasu.
  • Another early source of Japanese mythology is the Nihongi, or Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan). Completed in 720, this work also includes various myths and legends, and it helps establish the genealogy of the imperial family The Nihongiwas greatly influenced by Hachiman, one of the most popular gods of Japanese mythology, was the patron of warriors.
japanese deities
Japanese Deities
  • Deity: Role
  • Amaterasu: goddess of the sun and fertility who brings light to the world
  • Hachiman: god of warriors, known for his military skill
  • Inari: god associated with rice and merchants
  • Izanagi: creator god
  • Izanami: creator goddess
  • Kagutsuchi : god of fire
  • Susano-ô: violent god associated with storms and the sea, Amaterasu's brother
  • Tsuki-yomi: moon god, Amaterasu's brother
  • Majority of the people are Hindu
    • Accommodates other views
    • Believes that there is more than one path
    • Dharma: a pattern of righteous behavior
    • Everything moves in a cycle
fundamental beliefs of hinduism
  • Hindu religion is more philosophy than doctrine. There is no authoritative hierarchy of clergy; the religion is highly decentralized with multiple sects, perfectly acceptable to Hinduism (in contrast to the regrettable divisions within Christianity). The Hindu claim that there are different paths for each person.
  • A practical definition of Hinduism: performing the duty (dharma) of one's stage in life and social status (caste).
fundamental beliefs of hinduism1
  • The essence of the Hindu vision of reality lies in the tension between dharma (social duty or righteousness) and moksha (release from the material world, final liberation from the endless cycles of rebirth). Both these perspectives, the world-supporting and the world-denying, are necessary to fulfill human destiny.
  • Other important terms :
  • karma = moral law of cause and effect (deeds of past lives determine present)
  • samsara = rebirth according to the nature of a person's karma; what we are now is the sum of all we have done in the past.
dharma and caste
Dharma and caste
  • Dharma means fulfilling one's duty in one's station in life, which is determined by birth not merit.
  • Each person is born into a distinct caste, depending on the karma from the past lives.
  • There is no crossing over or intermingling from one caste to another, as this would disrupt the social order.
  • Brahmins are the highest caste because they have faithfully executed their duty in a previous life; lower castes must have served society poorly to be born into their caste, but if they perform their duty in this life, they have hope of being reborn to a higher caste. Thus dharma focuses on maintaining social and cosmic stability.
hindu gods and goddesses
Hindu Gods and Goddesses
  • Deity: Role
  • Brahma: creator god
  • Devi: wife of Shiva, goddess who takes many forms—both kind and fierce
  • Ganesha: god of good fortune and wisdom
  • Indra: god of storms and rain
  • Shiva: avenging and destroying god
  • Varuna: originally a creator god and ruler of the sky, later became god of water
  • Vishnu: preserver god and protector of life
pacific islands
Pacific Islands
  • Variety of cultures
  • People are known for their excellent navigation skills
  • Some display a distinct Western influence
  • Includes islands from Midway and Hawaii in the north to New Zealand in the south
  • Includes triangular area called Polynesia also includes Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Tuamotu, the Cook Islands, and the Pitcairn Islands.
polynesian mythology
Polynesian Mythology
  • Scholars believe that humans first migrated to Polynesia from Southeast Asia about 2,000 years ago. These people carried with them their mythological traditions about events, deities, and heroes.
  • As time passed and people moved to different island groups, they adapted their mythology and religious beliefs to suit their new environments.
  • In the process, they added new characters and events to the traditional myths and legends. T
  • he basic elements of religion and myth remained relatively unchanged throughout the island groups, and a fairly distinct pantheon of gods and goddesses emerged.
polynesian mythology1
Polynesian Mythology
  • Polynesian religion and mythology placed great emphasis on nature, particularly the ocean environment. The Polynesians became masters of navigation and other seafaring skills, and their religion and myths strongly reflected the importance of nature and the sea. Polynesians believed that all things in nature, including humans, contained a sacred and supernatural power called mana. Manacould be good or evil, and individuals, animals, and objects contained varying amounts of mana.
  • Because mana was sacred, Polynesians invented complicated rules to protect it. Ordinary people were not allowed, for example, to touch even the shadow of a great chief. Nor could they step inside sacred groves or temples. The punishment for breaking important rules, known as tapus (the source of the word taboo), was often death. Illness and misfortune were believed to come from breaking minor tapus.
  • The Polynesians' religion included many gods, local deities as well as the great gods of their pantheon. The people felt a close personal connection to their deities and to various heroes, demigods, and tricksters of their mythology. The most popular character was Maui, a hero-trickster well known throughout Polynesia.
origin of yams
Origin of Yams
  • The yam, or sweet potato, is one of the basic food crops of Polynesia. A number of myths explain the origin of this important food.
  • One Maori myth tells how the god Rongo-maui went to heaven to see his brother Wahnui, the guardian of the yam. Rongo-maui stole the yam, hid it in his clothing, and returned to earth. Soon after, he made his wife, Pani, pregnant, and she later gave birth to a yam, the first on earth. Rongo-maui gave this food to humans.
polynesian deities
Polynesian Deities

Deity Role

Haumia: god of wild plants and vegetables

Kamapua’a: pig god

Kane: god of creation and growth

Ku: creator god

Lono: god of the heavens

Maui: trickster god and hero

Oro: war god

Papa, Po: supreme creator goddess, mother earth

Pele : fire goddess

Rangi, Ao: supreme creator god, father sky

Rongo: god of cultivated plants

Ta'aroa, Rua-i-tupra: supreme creator god

Tane: god of the forest

Tangaroa, Kanaloa, Tangaloa: god of the seas

Tawhiri: god of the wind and storms

Tu: god of war

polynesian deities1
Polynesian Deities
  • By far the most popular figure in Polynesian mythology was Maui, the trickster god and hero. Though small in stature, he displayed amazing strength and had various magical powers.
  • The many tales about his adventures reveal a cunning and determined hero who performed many great and wondrous deeds, including creating the Pacific islands with a magical hook and providing humans with more hours of daylight by slowing the sun's passage across the sky. Maui also tried, but failed, to become immortal.