Citation: ZHU NaichengThe Totem of Yan-huang Era, the Origin and Formation of Dragon and Chinese Dragon Culture[J]. The journal of xinyang normal university (philosophy and social science edition), 2019, 39(5): 71-85.   doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1003-0964.2019.05.013 shu

The Totem of Yan-huang Era, the Origin and Formation of Dragon and Chinese Dragon Culture

  • Received Date: 2019-05-15

    CLC number: K21

  • Dragon is the symbol of the Chinese nation. In Chinese traditional historiography, dragon is regarded as a god, while in Chinese modern historiography, it is related to the formation and development of totem concept. Totem is a concept introduced from the western academic circles in 1903, and then totem is explained for some cultural phenomena in the Yan-huang era recorded in ancient documents, such as the legend of ancestor, the animal name or clan name of ancestor, the emblem and dragon. Whether this explanation is appropriate remains to be further studied. At present, the earliest dragon remains confirmed by archaeological discovery are buried in Xishuipo, Puyang city, Henan province, which imitated the crocodile image. This crocodile image added cultural significance due to the special status of the tomb owner. Thus it can be confirmed that dragon culture consciousness has been produced around 4000 BC. The Chinese dragon culture, which continues to the present day, was formed in the early period of the Taosi culture (2400-2150 BC). In the early period of the Taosi culture, dragon was ascended into the cultural element of the royal family. The image of dragon broke away from the form of animal entity and gradually evolved into a dignified, mysterious and sacred symbolic image. This phenomenon is related to the birth of the early civilization of the Taosi culture, which shows that Chinese dragon culture and Chinese civilization were formed at the same time.
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The Totem of Yan-huang Era, the Origin and Formation of Dragon and Chinese Dragon Culture

  • Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing 100006, China

Abstract: Dragon is the symbol of the Chinese nation. In Chinese traditional historiography, dragon is regarded as a god, while in Chinese modern historiography, it is related to the formation and development of totem concept. Totem is a concept introduced from the western academic circles in 1903, and then totem is explained for some cultural phenomena in the Yan-huang era recorded in ancient documents, such as the legend of ancestor, the animal name or clan name of ancestor, the emblem and dragon. Whether this explanation is appropriate remains to be further studied. At present, the earliest dragon remains confirmed by archaeological discovery are buried in Xishuipo, Puyang city, Henan province, which imitated the crocodile image. This crocodile image added cultural significance due to the special status of the tomb owner. Thus it can be confirmed that dragon culture consciousness has been produced around 4000 BC. The Chinese dragon culture, which continues to the present day, was formed in the early period of the Taosi culture (2400-2150 BC). In the early period of the Taosi culture, dragon was ascended into the cultural element of the royal family. The image of dragon broke away from the form of animal entity and gradually evolved into a dignified, mysterious and sacred symbolic image. This phenomenon is related to the birth of the early civilization of the Taosi culture, which shows that Chinese dragon culture and Chinese civilization were formed at the same time.

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