Chinese myths, just like those in other parts of the world, included fantastic creatures, supernatural powers, and some mythological places and times.
The topics of myths were cosmology (mythological explanations of the nature of the universe), the origin of people, culture, and the Chinese state. There were also many stories about some heroes who taught people various useful things, like how to cook, write, or build houses.
Others involved ancestors of important families and ethnic groups. All these myths were closely related to various ritual ceremonies and sacrifices.
There’s never been a single, uniform Chinese mythology. Different geographic regions and cultural traditions had their own sets of myths. Even among the Han people, for example, each class and ethnic group had its own mythological traditions.
Its society consisted of a king, judges, secretaries, conductors of souls, torturers, and a number of ghastly supernatural beings, such as Horce-Face, Ox-Head, and others. The vast majority of inhabitants were the souls of those who made crimes during their life on earth.
In such cases, souls were given the Drink of Forgetfulness and then reincarnated (brought back to life).
Each cardinal direction had its symbol: the Azure Dragon represented the East; the White Tiger was associated with the West; the Black Tortoise was the symbol of the North, and the Vermillion Bird symbolized the South.
There was the fifth cardinal direction too – it was the center, located in the middle of the Chinese empire, and it was represented by the emperor himself.
The myths mention both real rivers and those that appear only in the mythological geography, such as the Weak River in the west, near Kunlun.
According to Chinese mythology, which two realms were located above and below the realm of Earth?
Above the Earth was Tian (Heaven), and below it was Diyu (Underground).
What the world pillars or sky ladders served for?
The world pillars separated the Earth and Tian, and they also served as passages for travel.
What’s the name of the capital city of the ancient Chinese underworld?
It was Youdu.
What mythical creatures symbolized the four cardinal directions?
The Azure Dragon represented the East; the White Tiger was associated with the West; the Black Tortoise was the symbol of the North, and the Vermillion Bird symbolized the South.
According to the myth, what happened to the fish that swam upstream the Dragon Gates waterfalls?
They would turn into dragons.