I'd wanted for some time to attempt drawing a Chinese dragon, or long
, by referring to the 'nine likenesses', and so when East Asian Monsters was chosen as our theme for Tonight We Draw
, I jumped at the chance.
this picture got waaaay out of hand pretty early on, but I'm glad it did. I haven't finished a big illustration like this in a long time, much less one done for myself, and I couldn't be prouder.
the nine likenesses are: "horns of a stag, head of a camel, eyes of a demon, neck of a snake, belly of a clam, scales of a fish, talons of an eagle, paws of a tiger, and ears of an ox."
fun facts I picked up - some I knew already, and others I found while I was bouncing around the net looking at stuff (you can tl;dr of course if you're not interested):
are carp that have managed to leap the Dragon's Gate, a waterfall along the Yellow River in China. the fish that make the jump are rewarded by being transformed into dragons (someday I want to make a proper picture of this). "the carp leaping over the dragon's gate" is a Chinese metaphor for someone that has worked hard and succeeded at his endeavors -- specifically in ancient times for someone who has passed the imperial examinations. this is also why we have magikarp and gyarados, hah.
are generally benevolent and wise (though not without some degree of vanity as a result). they are also water creatures and were believed by farmers to bring the rains, so sacrifices and offerings were made to the Dragon Kings to ward off drought.
STOP MAKING THEM BREATHE FIRE, WESTERNERS.
- generally speaking, Chinese dragons have five toes on each foot, Korean dragons have four toes and Japanese dragons have three toes. supposedly, according to the Chinese, dragons originated in China and as they moved further away from home they lost toes until they had not enough toes to walk properly; according to the Japanese, dragons originated in Japan, and as they moved further away from home they gained toes until they had too many to walk properly. I'm not sure how true this is, but it amuses me. some sources claim that only the Imperial dragons of China had five toes while all lesser kinds had four.
- linking to this story/idiom because the site tells it better than me:
"In the Southern and Northern Dynasties Period (420-589), there was a painter called Zhang Zengyou. Once he visited a temple and painted on the wall four dragons, but gave none of them eyes. The onlookers felt that this was odd, and asked why he hadn't painted the eyes. He answered, "Eyes are crucial for dragons. With the eyes painted on, the dragons would fly away." Nobody believed this, so Zhang Zengyou took up his brush and added eyes to two of the dragons. No sooner had he finished than the two dragons flew into the sky amid a thunderstorm. The two without eyes stayed painted on the wall.
This idiom is used to describe how, when writing or speaking, one or two sentences will enhance the contents."
-画 龙 点 睛
(I'd like to make a proper picture of this someday too.)
I also want to draw some qilin/kirin and rui-shi ("fu dogs"), so yay!