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East Asia

In Japanese folklore Saraswati, the Hindu river goddess, was transformed as Benten into the genius of music, the guardian of eloquence, and the giver of wealth. As a deity of good fortune she has been popular since the twelfth century, many local legends collecting about her and her shrines. In the vicinity of Kamakura, on a small island, there is a temple built to celebrate the marriage of the goddess with a serpent king. According to legend, the serpentine appearance of her lover distressed Benten, who yielded herself to his embrace with great reluctance. Belief in the existence of serpent peoples in the seas around Japan is long-standing.

Subjects: Religion.

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