BYU Asian Studies Journal


Sarah Cutler


BYU Asian Studies, confucian, Chinese culture


From the tortoise shells used in ancient divination to the colorful camels of Tang tombs and from companionable oxen of the rice fields to singing birds in their cages, animals have been a significant part of Chinese culture. Perhaps most intriguing to the Western mind are the fanciful mythological animals of China adorning temple roofs, tomb walls, and traditional stories. Study of these creatures reveals a deep insight into Chinese culture for not only do the traditions about them indicate the ideas humans have about the animal world, but also the animals themselves are symbolic of various ideas maintained by the Chinese.