Real and Mythical中国的动物文化

lydia123

Publish: 2018-01-22 10:30:53

 


所谓动物文化,是指一个民族对动物的崇拜、禁忌和赋予动物的某种象征意义,以及在语言中用动物作比喻来表达人类的感情。这种文化现象,中外各国普遍存在,只是文化内容不同而已。
Similar to other cultures, in China, some anmials are given certain symbolism and used in a metaphorical way to express human feelings.

龙凤
山不在高,
有仙则名;
水不在深,
有龙则灵。
——《陋室铭》

中华民族最崇拜的动物是龙,这大概起源于上古社会的图腾崇拜。在古人的心中,龙是有灵气的吉祥物。由于“龙”蕴权威、力量、才华、吉祥等赞美的语义。
The dragon and phoenix are mythical creatures venerated by the Chinese, and intrinsically linked to their cultural identity. Belief in the dragon can be traced back to primitive society, when certain prehistoric tribes adopted the dragon as their symbol and guardian. Ancient people regarded the dragon as a lucky and miraculous creature, a symbol of power, authority, talent, and auspiciousness. Over time it became recognized as a symbol of the Chinese nation.


古人曾有“山不在高,有仙则名;水不在深,有龙则灵”的名句。
A piece of Tang prose claimed A mountain will become famous if there is deity on it, even if it is a small mountain; a river will become divine if there is a dragon in it, even if it only has shallow water.


因此,中国人以“龙的传人”自称,龙也成了中华民族的象征而被华人加以信仰。人们也崇拜凤,所以在中国文化中,逐渐形成了龙凤文化。其实人们所崇拜的龙凤,在现实中是没有的,它是一种“神灵化”、“艺术化”了的动物。
The Chinese long regarded the dragon as a powerful divine being, who freely roamed high clouds and deep water, and commanded changes in the weather at will.


它的形态古今有很大不同,我们今天所见到的龙凤形象,大体是在宋朝时定型的。明朝(1368-1644)李时珍在《本草纲目》中记载:“龙其形有九——头似驼,角似鹿,眼似兔,耳似牛,颈似蛇,腹似蜃,鳞似鲤,爪似鹰,掌似虎。”可见这是人们把各种动物的不同特征集中在一起,创造出的一种神化了的形象。
Different physical attributes were added over time, including the head of a camel, the antlers of a deer, the eyes of a rabbit, the ears of an ox, the neck of a serpent, the scales of a fish, the mane of a horse, the claws of an eagle, and the palms of a tiger. As noted by Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), in his Compendium of Materia Medica, the dragon appropriated the distinctive features of many animals to become what it is today.


至于凤,古人描绘为“鸡头、蛇颈、燕颔、龟背、鱼尾、五彩色,高六尺许”,这也是一种想象。不同的地方,有着不同的创造。安徽凤阳是明代开国皇帝朱元璋的故乡,这里至今还以»­凤著称。据当地民间艺人讲,他们最早»­凤是为了献给朱元璋的妻子马娘娘,因马娘娘属蛇,故把凤头»­成“蛇头”,尾和翅都采用“九”和“九”的倍数。这样做是为了讨马娘娘的欢心。
The phoenix, quixotically, has the head of a chicken, the neck of a serpent, the chin of a swallow, the back of a tortoise, and the tail of a fish. Its skin has five colors and it is over two meters in length. People in different places have their own imaginations of the phoenix. Fengyang in Anhui Province was the birthplace of the first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang. It is also renowned for its artistic interpretations of the phoenix, but with a local twist. According to artists there, drawings of the phoenix were presented to the wife of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. However because her birthday was in the year of the serpent, the head of the phoenix was changed to that of a serpent. Also, because the empress was partial to the number nine, its tails and wings were numbered at nine or multiples of nine.


中华民族认为,龙是神,它腾飞于云水之间,兴云降雨,昂首摆尾,威武雄壮;凤是百鸟之王,声鸣于天,不落无宝之地,于是把它们作为民族的象征加以信仰。到了汉朝,汉高祖刘邦说,他是其母与龙结合而生,所以自此以后,龙就逐渐成了皇帝的代表和皇权的象征,皇帝自称“真龙天子”,皇后也自命“凤仪非凡”,于是凡与皇帝和皇后有关的事物,都加以“龙”、“凤”字样,如:龙体、龙颜、龙袍、龙帐、龙子龙孙、凤衣、凤冠、凤阁、凤辇等。
The Chinese long regarded the dragon as a powerful divine being, who freely roamed high clouds and deep water, and commanded changes in the weather at will. The phoenix was considered the queen of the birds, and made a roaring sound. It never stayed in a place that did not have treasure. The first emperor of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang, claimed his father was a dragon. Since then the dragon gradually became a symbol of imperial power, and a representative of the emperor. Empresses, on the other hand, were connected to the phoenix. Anything related to the emperor or empress was labeled dragon or phoenix. For example, the emperor's countenance was known as 龙颜, his robe as 龙袍, and his descendents as 龙子龙孙. The empress gown was known as 凤衣, her crown as 凤冠, her chamber as 凤阁, and her carriage as 凤辇.




紫禁城内更是一个“龙的世界”,宫殿内外,房上房下,到处都装饰着“龙”。这里到底有多少“龙”,至今没有一个人能说得清。有一个细心人只对太和殿作了一次调查,殿内装饰的龙共有13844条。这仅仅是一个殿,据说故宫有房9999间,龙的数量加起来恐怕是一个天文数字。到了元明清时代,皇宫中所画­的龙都是五爪大龙,这是皇家专用品,其他人是绝对不许用的,擅自使用将被满门抄­斩。
At the Forbidden City, dragon decorations are everywhere, to the point where nobody knows exactly how many. A survey carried out at the Taihe Palace found that there were 13,844 dragons in that building alone. Bearing in mind there are 9,999 rooms at the Forbidden City as believed, the total number of dragons must be an astronomical figure. During the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, all dragons in the imperial palaces were depicted with five claws. The five-clawed dragons were used exclusively in the imperial household, and anybody else who dared to use it would, somewhat drastically, have their entire family executed.


在民间,龙凤也是吉祥的象征,每逢年节,人们总是舞龙灯加以庆祝。五月端阳节,在中国南方,更要举行龙舟竞渡,以表达人们喜悦、欢乐的心情。
In recent times, dragons and phoenixes have also been considered a sign of auspiciousness. The dragon dance has become a part of festival celebrations. On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, dragon boat races are held in the south of China to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.



喜鹊

蓝田种玉,雍伯之缘;
宝窗选婿,林甫之女。
架鹊桥以度河,牛女相会。

——《楚辞·离骚》



除了龙凤以外,中国人还喜欢喜鹊和燕子。民间传说故事中,喜鹊是成人之美的瑞鸟,民谚说 “喜鹊叫,喜来到”,听到了喜鹊的叫声,意味着喜事将要临门。在年画­中,人们常常画喜鹊与梅花,取“喜上眉梢”之意。


Apart from mythical creatures such as the dragon and phoenix, Chinese people also value other kinds of animals that are thought to help address their cultural need to seek happiness and auspiciousness.
According to folklore, magpie, which in Chinese literally means joyful bird, is a harbinger of good and happy things. ¡°Happiness comes when the magpie sings¡± is a folk saying. Magpies perched on plum trees are painted in New Year pictures to represent a homophonic metaphor of radiance with happiness.
另外,在中国,还流传着在七夕(农历七月初七)这天,天上的牛郎、织女在银河相会,由喜鹊搭桥的故事,所以“鹊桥相会”是指夫妻或情人久别相聚的意思。中国人认为,燕子也是一种瑞鸟。如果燕子飞到家里,在檐下筑巢做窝,被看做非常吉祥的事情,主人绝不去打扰,他们相信燕子会给他们带来好运。
According to legend, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month the cowherd Niu Lang and his lover, the weaver girl Zhi Nu, go to the Milky Way for their once annual meeting. To assist them in making their way there, a group of magpies form a bridge so they can be reunited. As a result, the idiom 鹊桥相会, meeting at the magpies bridge, was created to mean the reunion of a couple or lovers after a long separation. For some reason, swallows also enjoy a similarly favorable status in Chinese culture. If swallows nest in the roof of a Chinese family's house, the hosts will never disturb them, because it's believed that it will bring luck to the family.


蝙蝠
千年鼠化白蝙蝠,
黑洞深藏避网罗。
——白居易《洞中蝙蝠》

蝙蝠和鹿,因其发音与“福”、“禄”谐音,所以被用来比喻“福”、“禄”;蝙蝠和桃组成的谐音图案意为“福寿双全”;蝙蝠和鱼构成的图案谐音取其“富裕”之意,表现了人们对美好生活的憧憬。人们又用鹤(传说中是长寿的仙禽)来比喻长寿。在中国人的心目中,“福、禄、寿”是人生再好不过的三件事了。
In Chinese fortune is a homophone for the word bat. Likewise, deer is a homophone of 禄 (lu), which means something like official rank and salary. The crane was thought to be divine and represent longevity. In the world view of Chinese tradition, one cannot aim higher in life than to have fortune, high rank, good salary, and a long life.


孔雀也是中国人喜欢的鸟,人们认为它美丽吉祥。相反,英国人却把孔雀看做淫鸟、祸鸟,是自我吹嘘、自我炫耀的象征,英语中有“像孔雀一样骄傲”的比喻。
The peacock is also admired in China, for both its beauty and auspicious implications. By way of contrast, in the UK it was believed to be unlucky to have the feathers of a peacock in one's home. The peacock's beauty and carriage led its name to become synonymous with vanity, and the expression as proud as a peacock.




王奋厥武,如震如怒,
进厥虎臣,阚如虓虎。
——《诗经·常武》

虎被当成兽中之王,雄壮勇猛。中国人对虎情有独钟,它是中国画­中最为常见的主题之一。以“虎”组成的汉语词语非常之多,如:虎踞龙盘、卧虎藏龙、虎虎有生气、将门虎子、虎头虎脑、虎视眈眈、如虎添翼等。相比之下,汉语中“狮”字组成的词语就少得多了。而在西方,很多国家对狮子大加赞扬,有许多以狮子作比喻的词语,如:“狮子般庄严”、“像狮子一样雄伟”等。
The tiger is regarded as the king of wild creatures and symbolizes unlimited power, courage, dignity, and military prowess. It is often depicted in Chinese paintings and idioms, including 虎踞龙盘, 卧虎藏龙, 虎虎有生气, 将门虎子, 虎头虎脑, 虎视眈眈, and 如虎添翼. Probably due to the fact the lion is not native to China, there are few uses of it in idioms, despite the fact it is an equally powerful animal. In the west, the lion is regarded as the embodiment of courage, strength and nobility, similar to how the tiger is perceived by Chinese people.

猫头鹰

鸱鸮鸱鸮,
既取我子,
无毁我室,
——《国风》

另外,中国人不喜欢猫头鹰。虽然猫头鹰在自然界中是一种益鸟,可它在中国文化中却不被人喜欢。俗语说:“夜猫子进宅,无事不来”、“夜猫子抖搂翅,大小有点事”。人们把它看做一种不祥的鸟。由于它常常在夜间活动,并且鸣声凄厉,所以人们常把它的叫声与厄运相联系,避而远之。相反,在一些西方国家,人们认为猫头鹰是智能鸟,英语中有“像猫头鹰一样聪明”的话。
By contrast, the owl is considered to be a bad omen by Chinese people. It is a bird to be feared and avoided. When an owl enters a house, people believe something bad is sure to follow. Due to its nocturnal lifestyle and terrifying screeches, it is quite an apt symbol of darkness and bad luck. However, to some western people, the owl is a wise and benevolent creature. As wise as an owl is an expression in English.

狐狸
有狐绥绥,在彼淇梁。
心之忧矣,之子无裳,
——《国风·卫风》

狼、狐狸也是不被中国人所喜欢的动物。狼被看做本性残忍、凶恶,忘恩负义。汉语中带狼的词都是贬义词,如:狼子野心、狼狈为奸、豺狼当道、狼心狗肺、狼奔豕突等。狐狸代表狡猾,人们常常把狡猾诡诈的人叫“老狐狸”,把坏女人叫狐狸精”。
Other creatures disliked and distrusted by the Chinese are wolves and foxes. The wolf is considered a fierce and ruthless beast devoid of gratitude. Expressions that include the character for wolf are replete with derogatory meanings, including 狼子野心, 狼狈为奸, 豺狼当道, 狼心狗肺, and 狼奔豕突. The fox is considered cunning and plotting. A cunning person is sometimes referred to as an old fox, and an evil woman as a fox demon.


卢令令,其人美且仁。
卢重环,其人美且鬈。
——《齐风·卢令》

中国人对狗的态度有些特别。人们知道狗对主人非常忠诚,看家护院忠心耿耿,可在汉语词语中,以狗为比喻的词,全是不好的词,如:走狗、狗腿子、狗崽子、丧家狗、狐朋狗友、狼心狗肺、狗仗人势、狗嘴里吐不出象牙、狗急跳墙等。可见中国人对狗的态度有些复杂。
There is an ambivalent attitude toward dogs in Chinese culture. Though they are considered loyal and reliable, most phrases that include dogs have derogatory connotations, such as 走狗 or 狗腿子, which means henchman or jackal, 狗急跳墙, a cornered dog will do something desperate, 狗仗人势, being a bully under the protection of a powerful person, and 狐朋狗友, a gang of scoundrels. Other expressions with derogatory meanings include 狗崽子, 丧家狗, 狼心狗肺, and 狗嘴里吐不出象牙.

生肖
谁谓雀无角?
何以穿我屋?
谁谓鼠无牙?
何以穿我墉?
——《国风·召南·行露》


中国人对动物不仅有自己独特的爱恶,而且还选取了十二种动物用于纪年。它是中国人特有的一种表示出生时间的方式,类似于西方的黄道十二星座。因此,在中国每一个人都有与自己相对应的属相。汉族的十二生肖是:鼠、牛、虎、兔、龙、蛇、 马、羊、猴、鸡、狗、猪。之所以各种动物会按照这个顺序排列,在中国还有一个有趣的传说:当年轩辕黄帝(传说中的华夏始祖之一)要选十二种动物担任宫廷卫士,猫托老鼠报名,老鼠只顾自己,把好朋友猫的事情给忘了,结果猫没有选上,所以猫从此与鼠结成冤家。大象也来参赛,被老鼠钻进鼻子,给赶跑了。其余的动物,原­本推牛为首,老鼠却窜到牛背上,快到终点的时候,老鼠一下子跳到了牛的前面,结果老鼠排了第一。虎和龙为争先后斗了起来,动物们赶紧封它们为山中之王和海中之王,使它们甘心排在鼠和牛的后面。兔子又不服了,和龙赛跑,小猪当裁判,小猪不顾众人的反对将兔子排在了龙的前面。狗对此愤愤不平,一气之下咬了兔子,为此被罚在了倒数第二。蛇、马、羊、猴、鸡也经­过一番较量,一一排定了位置,而小猪因为不分黑白、私心太重被排到了最后。最后形成了鼠、牛、虎、兔、龙、蛇、马、羊、猴、鸡、狗、猪的顺序。
There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. In order, they are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The Chinese zodiac is a 12-year cycle, with each animal representing one year. There are many legends surrounding the conception of these 12 signs. One has it that the Yellow Emperor was to choose 12 animals as palace guards. To make things simpler and faster, he decided that the first animals to register would be given the honor. The cat asked his best friend the rat to apply for him, but the rat forgot and so the cat lost his place. Ever since then, cats and rats have been mortal enemies. The elephant came to register, but the rat snuck into his trunk. The elephant was so shocked he ran away. The ox arrived first, but the rat jumped onto his back and then ahead of him. The tiger and the dragon fought each other for the third place behind the rat and the ox. The tiger, the king of the mountain, won and came in third. As the dragon was about to take his place after the tiger, the rabbit proposed a race with him. The pig acted as the referee and declared the rabbit the victor, even though this was contrary to the actual outcome. The dog, who was an outraged spectator of this fiasco, was so angry he bit the rabbit and was punished by being put in second last place. The last place was reserved for the duplicitous pig. The snake, rooster, horse, sheep and monkey jostled for the remaining places.
生肖信仰中非常重要的一部分是中国人本命年的观念。本命年是指:十二年一遇的农历属相所在的年份,俗称属相年。也就是说,一个人出生的那年是农历某年,那么以后每过12年便是此人的本命年。这样依次推出,人的本命年为12岁、24岁、36岁、48岁、60岁,­民间认为本命年为凶年,需要趋吉避凶,消灾免祸。汉族北方各地每到本命年时,不论大人小孩都要系红腰带,称为“扎红”,有时还要穿红背心、红裤衩、红袜子。这种习俗到今天仍在各地流行。每逢春节,市场上到处可买到代表吉祥的红绸带,过本命年的人们将之系在腰间、手腕上,以求消灾解祸、化凶为吉。
According to the Chinese zodiac, your sign is the animal of the year in which you were born. Every 12 years, therefore, your sign comes around once again. This is called your zodiac year, and happens when you turn 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and so on. Your zodiac year is considered a sensitive and unlucky period. During the year one should practice caution. It is a common practice for people in their zodiac year to wear at least some red, be it a belt, underwear or socks, to protect them from misfortune.


一种语言有一种语言的文化积淀。汉语中有关动物的词语在中华民族文化中的表现形式是具体而形象的,它承载了丰厚的文化内涵,值得细细玩味。
Animals have played an important role in the life and culture of Chinese people from prehistoric times.  In a sense, there is no distinction made between real and mythological animals when they are seen as symbols.





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