The essential guide to the complex, fascinating world of Chinese myths: retelling the stories and exploring their significance in Chinese culture.
This is a concise and entertaining guide to the complex tradition of Chinese mythology. While many around the world are familiar with some aspects of Chinese myth – through Chinese New Year festivities or the classic adventures of the Monkey King in Journey to the West – few outside of China understand the richness of Chinese mythology, influenced by Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Offering much more than any competing overview of Chinese mythology, The Chinese Myths not only retells the ancient stories but also considers their place within the patterns of Chinese religions, culture and history. Tao Tao Liu introduces us to an intriguing cast of gods, goddesses, dragons and monks, including: the ancient hero, Yi the Archer, who shot suns out of the sky to save humanity from a drought; Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, to whom there are temples dedicated all over East Asia; and Madame White Snake, a water snake spirit in the guise of a mysterious widow, her story adapted into countless films and operas. This book is for anyone interested in China, as knowing its myths allows readers to understand and appreciate its culture in a new light.