Chinese mythology

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Chinese mythology, as it has developed over the ages, is a mixture of history, legend, and myth. This is most clearly seen in the mythology of the early emperors (see Chinese Emperors and Chinese Deities). The actual myths of ancient pre-Buddhist China are, for the most part, only known to us in later Confucian works, in which scholars have attempted to place the old stories in a historical context and to use them to illustrate moral and other social principles. In the first millennium bce collection entitled Shanhai Jing, for example, demons and gods were listed for the benefit of travelers. Other sources for ancient myths are the late fourth century bce poems of Qui Yuan. Daoists and later Buddhists contributed their own perspective to Chinese mythology as well (see for example, Guanyin, Daoism, and Chinese Buddhism). Daoism contributed the philosophy of a natural order, reflected in the art of fengshui, for instance, a system of aesthetic arrangement of space so as to not offend the spirit of that space. Buddhism, among many other things, contributed the idea of the cyclical life of souls (see Chinese Cosmogony, Yi).

Subjects: Religion.

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