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曰：夫以非真難，是也；不以象類說，非也。夫東風至，酒湛溢。〔按酒味酸，從東方木也。其味酸，故酒湛溢也〕。 鯨魚死，彗星出。天道自然，非人事也。事與彼雲龍相從，同一實也。 日，火也；月，水也。水火感動，常以真氣。今伎道之家，
Chapter XXXII. A Last Word on Dragons (Luan-lung). 1
Tung Chung Shu explained the rain-sacrifice of the Ch`un-ch`iu and set up a clay dragon to attract rain, his idea being that clouds and dragons affect each other. The Yiking says that the clouds follow the dragon, and wind, the tiger. 2 With a view to this sympathetic action, he put up the clay dragon. Yin and Yang follow their species, and clouds and rain arrive as a matter of course.
Scholars might raise the following question:---The Yiking, speaking of clouds following the dragon, means a real dragon; how can it be a clay dragon?
The Duke of Shê in Ch`u3 was very partial to dragons. On all his walls, pannels, plates, and dishes he had them painted. 4 If these semblances must be looked upon like genuine ones, then there must have been a continual rainfall in the State of the Duke of Shê.
The Yiking also says that wind follows the tiger, that means that, when the tiger howls, wind blows from the valley. 5 There being likewise a sympathetic fluid between wind and the tiger, would a clay figure of a tiger, set up in a valley, also attract wind? If a clay tiger cannot attract wind, how could a clay dragon bring down rain?
In ancient times, they used to rear dragons, which they yoked to their carriages. Hence there was a dragon-keeper and a master of the dragons. In the palace of the Hsia emperors there were always two dragons, but in the last year of this dynasty, when its downfall was impending, they absconded. 6 Even so long as real dragons were on earth, there were no clouds and no rain. What can be expected of fictitious semblances then?
According to the Book of Rites the shape of thunder was represented on an ornamented thunder-goblet, 7 but we do not hear that this thunder-goblet could attract thunder. How then should a clay dragon occasion a rainfall? Amber 8 takes up straws, and a load-stone 9 attracts needles, but under condition that they are genuine, for they cannot borrow from other species. Other species, resembling them, cannot take up or attract things. Why? Because the nature of the fluid being different, no mutual influence is possible.
Liu Tse Chün10 directed the rain sacrifice and took care of the clay dragon. Huan Chün Shan also took exception, on the ground that amber and the loadstone could not take up needles or raise straws, unless they were genuine. Liu Tse Chün was at a loss for an answer. He was a Han scholar of vast erudition and a prolific writer, yet he was embarrassed. That does not prove that the proposed sacrifices were a mistake, but solely that he did not know their real reason. I say:---
I. The objection that the dragon was not genuine, is all right, but it is wrong not to insist on relationship. When an east wind blows, wine flows over, and [when a whale dies, a comet appears.] 11 The principle of Heaven is spontaneity, and does not resemble human activity, being essentially like that affinity between clouds and dragons. The sun is fire, and the moon is water. Fire and water are always affected by genuine fluids. Now, physicists 12 cast burning-glasses wherewith to catch the flying fire from the sun, and they produce moon-mirrors to draw the water from the moon. 13 That is not spontaneity, yet Heaven agrees to it. A clay dragon is not genuine either, but why should it not be apt to affect Heaven?
II. With a burning-glass one draws fire from Heaven. In the fifth month, on a ping-wu day at noon, they melt five stones, and cast an instrument with which they obtain fire. Now, without further ceremony, they also take the crooked hooks on swords and blades, rub them, hold them up towards the sun, and likewise affect Heaven. 14 If a clay dragon cannot be compared with a burning-glass, it can at least be placed on a level with these crooked hooks on swords and blades.
III. Prince Mêng Ch`ang of Ch`i wished to pass through the gate of Ch`in during the night, but the gate was not yet open. A companion of his imitated the cock-crow, and a veritable cock responded. 15 Since a cock could be roused by a false crow, rain can also be caused by fictitious effigies.
IV. When Li Tse Chang was at the head of the government, he wished to see clear in criminal affairs. He, therefore, caused a human figure, resembling a criminal, to be made of wu-tung wood. A pit was dug in the earth, a coffin made of rushes, and the wooden criminal placed into it. Whenever the punishment of a criminal was just, the wooden criminal did not move, but, when he had to complain of unjust and cruel treatment, the wooden figure moved and came out. Did the spirit of the criminals enter the wooden figure, or did the spiritual fluid operate upon it? 16 At all events, the spirit affected the wooden criminal; 17 why then should a clay dragon not have the same effect?
V. When Shun with his holy virtue went into the wilds of the big mountain forests, 18 tigers and wolves did not hurt, and snakes and serpents did not injure him. Yü cast metal tripods, on which he shaped the figures of a hundred objects. These tripods were carried into the mountain woods, where they averted noxious influences. 19 Many critics contend that this is not true, but those times of highest antiquity are long ago, and the spirits of the Chou tripods must have existed. 20 Metal and earth both belong to the Five Elements. Provided that the virtue of him who forms the clay dragon equals that of Yü, it must also have the power to attract clouds and rain.
VI. Amber takes up straws. The horse-shoe magnet 21 resembles it, but a magnet is not amber. Both can attract small things. A clay dragon is not real either, but it must be compared and be classed with a horse-shoe magnet.
VII. The duke of Shê in Ch`u had a penchant for dragons:--- on walls, pannels, vases, and goblets he had pictures of dragons painted. A genuine dragon heard of it and came down. Dragons, clouds, and rain are of the same fluid, wherefore they can mutually affect each other, following their species. By making pictures, the duke of Shê succeeded in bringing down a real dragon. Why should it not be possible, now, to attract clouds and rain?
VIII. Spirits speak to men by images, and not by realities. While asleep, they perceive these images in their dreams. When things are going to be lucky, lucky images arrive, and, when they are going to be unlucky, inauspicious signs appear. The fluid of spirits is of the same class as that of clouds and rain. 22
IX. Spirits show the truth by images; wherefore can clay dragons alone not attract the real by what is unreal? In remote antiquity, there were two brothers, Shên Shu and Yü Lü, possessing the power to dominate ghosts. They lived on the Tu-so Mountain in the Eastern Sea, where, under a peach-tree, they looked after the hundred ghosts. The reckless ones who maliciously caused human misfortune, were bound by Shên Shu and Yü Lü with cords of reeds, and thrown before tigers, to be devoured. Therefore, the district magistrates of our time are in the habit of having peach-trees cut down and carved into human statues, which they place by the gate, and they paint the shapes of tigers on the door-screens. 23 Peach-wood men are not Shên Shu and Yü Lü, nor painted tigers, such as devour ghosts. These carvings and paintings of images are intended to ward off evil influences. Now, clay dragons are not real dragons attracting rain either. But people believe only in peach-wood men and painted tigers, and know nothing of clay dragons.
X. True, these are but arguments from ancient books, for which no strict proofs are to be found. However, Lu Pan and Mê Tse carved wooden kites which could fly three days without alighting, very ingenious inventions indeed. 24 If the formers of clay dragons have the talents of Lu Pan and Mê Tse, their productions can be similar to these wooden kites, flying without alighting. The fluid of flying kites is the fluid of clouds and rain, an air which causes the wooden kites to fly. Why should it not be able to follow a clay dragon?
XI. It cannot be said that the fluid of clouds and rain is more intelligent than that of flying kites. Anglers make fishes out of wood, the bodies of which they cover with red varnish. Going to a current, they throw them into the water, where they rise in the stream and move. The fish take them for real ones, and all gather round them. A piece of red wood is not a real fish, for fish have blood and possess knowledge. Still they allow themselves to be duped by a semblance. The knowledge of clouds and rain cannot be greater than that of fish. How could they have misgivings, on beholding a clay dragon?
XII. However, these are fish whose intelligence falls short of that of mankind. The Hsiung-nu were in respectful awe of the power of Chih Tu.25 A figure of him was carved in wood. The Hsiung-nu shot at it, arrow after arrow, but could not hit it once. We ignore the fact whether the spirit of Chih Tu was residing in the figure, or whether, since he was dead, the spirits of the Hsiung-nu, doing homage to his ghost, were in the wood. If the mind of Chih Tu was in the statue, the spirit of the heavenly dragon must likewise be in the clay dragon, and in case the spirits of the Hsiung-nu clung to the wood, then the minds of those offering the rain sacrifice must be in the clay dragon as well.
XIII. Chin Wêng Shu was the heir-prince of the King of Hsiu Ch`u.26 Together with his father he went to submit to the Han. His father having died on the road, he went with his mother, and received the rank of an imperial prince (chi-tu-yü). 27 When his mother had died, Wu Ti caused her portrait to be painted in the Kan-ch`üan palace with the inscription:---Consort of King Hsiu Ch`u, née Yen.28Chin Wêng Shu, accompanying the emperor, went up to the Kan-ch`üan palace. There he stood paying his respects, and turned towards the pictures, he wept, that his tears moistened his garment. It was a long while before he went away. The portrait was not his mother in person, yet, when he saw her features, his tears burst forth. At the thought of his beloved parent, his feelings were touched, and he did not expect reality. A clay dragon is like the picture of the Kan-ch`üan palace. Why should clouds and rain, on perceiving it, not be moved?
XIV. But this was the story of a savage only. Yu Jo29 resembled Confucius. After the decease of Confucius, his disciples would sit together, affectionately thinking of their master. Yu Jo occupied his seat. The disciples were aware that Yu Jo was not Confucius, still they sat together, and did homage to him. In case the intelligence of clouds and rain equals that of the disciples, their thoughts would be touched, although they knew that it was a clay dragon, and not a veritable one, and they would make their appearance.
XV. The disciples of Confucius had their doubts about the features of Yu Jo, and therefore merely said that he resembled Confucius. The emperor Wu Ti was very fond of his consort, Lady Li. Whe she died, he pondered whether he could not see her figure again. The Taoists made an artificial figure of the lady, which passed through the palace-gate. When the emperor beheld her, he did not ignore that she was not real, albeit yet he was so moved, that, full of joy, he went near her. 30 If the fluids of clouds and rain be like the heart of Wu Ti, their tender passion is roused, and they appear in spite of their knowledge of the unreality of the clay dragon.
In addition to these fifteen arguments, there are still four analogies:---
I. At the beginning of spring, when the ground is tilled in the east, they mould clay figures, a man and a woman, both holding a plough and a hoe in their hands, or they set up a clay ox. 31 These cannot labour the ground, but they correspond to the season, and agree with the time, and are to exhort the common people to be industrious. Now, although it is obvious that a clay dragon cannot attract rain, it likewise accords with the summer time, and by its category favours a change of weather, the same idea which has led to the moulding of clay men and clay oxen.
II. According to the Rites the tablets in the ancestral temple are made of wood, one foot and two inches long, to represent a deceased ancestor. 32 A dutiful son, entering the hall, worships them with all his soul. Although he knows that these wooden tablets are not his parents, he must show them the greatest respect, and they call for his veneration. A clay dragon is like a wooden tablet; even though it is not genuine, it exercises such an influence, that the image must be taken notice of.
III. Sages are cognisant of the uselessness of mud carts and straw figures, 33 but since they symbolise life, they do not dare to dispense with them. Putting up a clay dragon, one knows that it cannot cause rain, but it is symbolical like the mud carts and the straw figures, and has effect.
IV. The son of Heaven shoots at a bear, the princes at an elk, ministers and high officers at a tiger and a leopard, officers at a stag and a wild boar, 34 to illustrate the subjugation of the fierce. A piece of cloth is called target (hou) 35 implying that unprincipled princes 36 are to be shot. 37 Pictures of bears and elks are painted on the cloth, which is styled target (hou). 38 It is right to appreciate these symbolical images and to choose names full of meaning. A clay dragon is like a cloth target upon which a bear and an elk are painted.
There are fifteen proofs, based on affinity, and four analogies, explaining the meaning by other customs. Tung Chung Shu's insight was immense, and his institutions are not inconsiderate. For putting up a clay dragon he had his good reasons. When a dragon suddenly emerges from the water, clouds and rain appear. Of old, as long as there used to be a dragon keeper and a master of the dragons, there were no clouds and no rain. It is like an unexpected meeting of old friends, who have been separated by a great distance. In their joy, they sing and laugh, or they turn sad, shed tears, and, for a while, are down-spirited. Their doings appear to be quite abnormal. 39
The Yiking says that clouds follow the dragon, but not that the dragon follows the clouds. On the cloud goblet, thunder and clouds were carved, but did the dragon deign to come down? The scholiasts cannot explain this, so that Huan Chün Shan could urge his objections, which Liu Tse Chün was unfit to meet. Owing to this inability, the remarks of Tung Chung Shu on dragons remained fragmentary. The Lun-hêng has supplemented them, "A Last Word on Dragons" denoting a supplement.
1. This chapter is not to the credit of our author, who here shows himself as credulous and unjudicious as those of his countrymen whose superstitions he likes to expose.
2. See Vol. I, p. 356, Note 2.
3. A contemporary of Confucius of the name of Tse Kao, mentioned in Chuang Tse (Giles' translation p. 45). Shê was a district of Ch`u.
4. The duke was so fond of dragons, that, in his residence, he had many dragon ornaments carved. The heavenly dragon, hearing of it, once made its appearance, looking through the window and dragging its tail through the hall. By this unexpected aspect the duke was frightened out of his wits. K`ung Tse chi-yü I, 2v. quoting Shên Tse.
5. Cf. Vol. I, p. 279, Note 2.
6. Vol. I, p. 354 seq.
7. Cf. Vol. I, p. 293, Note 1.
8. . See on amber the learned paper of B. Laufer, Historical Jottings on Amber in Asia (Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association Vol. I, Part 3, 1907) who refers to this passage as the first literary mention of amber in China. The words quoted by Laufer p. 218, Note 3:---"tun-mou is identical with hu-p`o = amber" does not occur in the Lun-hêng, and must be a gloss.
10. Son of Liu Hsiang, more generally known under the name of Liu Hsin , a celebrated scholar like his father. He lived in the 1st cent. b.c. and a.d. and was a protégé of Wang Mang. His studies included the Yiking and occult arts.
11. Quoted from Huai Nan Tse III, 2r.
13. Vid. p. 341.
14. Cf. Vol. I, p. 378.
15. See p. 132.
16. The Pei-wên-yün-fu quotes this passage but slightly altered.
17. It is strange that a man as critical as Wang Ch`ung should believe such a story.
18. Cf. Shuking Part II, Book I, 2 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part I, p. 32).
19. Cf. Vol. I, p. 505 seq.
20. In Vol. I, p. 506 Wang Ch`ung denies that these tripods had any supernatural forces.
22. The purport of this somewhat misty argument seems to be that a clay image must suffice for clouds and rain, just as images and omens are correlates of spirits.
23. Cf. Vol. I, p. 244, Note 1.
24. Cf. Vol. I, p. 498, Notes 2 and 3, and Huai Nan Tse XI, 14v.
25. A general of Han Ching Ti, who in 142 b.c. made an attack upon the Hsiung-nu. He was a man of great courage and a stern character, who received the sobriquet "Grey Eagle." When he died a figure of wood, resembling him, was carved and placed in view of the Hsiung-nu at Yen-mên. They shot at it, but, being too much afraid, did not hit it. This is the simple version of the Shi-chi (Pei-wên-yün-fu), favourably contrasting with Wang Ch`ung's mysticism.
26. Chin Mi Ti , styled Wêng Shu, the son of Hsiu Ch`u, a khan of the Hsiung-nu, was first made a government slave and afterwards raised to high honours, when he received a Chinese name. He died b.c. 86. See Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 382.
28. The words of the text give no sense. In the biography of Chin Mi Ti, Han-shu chap. 68, p. 21r. the last two words are written , the family name of the mother of Chin Mi Ti, which should be inserted for the spurious .
29. A disciple of Confucius. Cf. Vol. I, p. 360.
30. Vol. I, p. 97.
31. The so called "spring ox" already mentioned in the Liki. It used to be carried in procession during the last month of the year, to see the cold air off:---. This custom is still practised in many parts of China. See De Groot, Fêtes à Emoui p. 92 seq.
32. Cf. Vol. I, p. 536, Note 1.
33. They were used at funerals in ancient and modern times. The dead are supposed to make use of them. See Liki, T`an-kung, p. 52r. (Legge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, p. 173) and also p. 117.
34. This competition of archery was a great ceremony described in the Liki, I-li, and Chou-li. The latter work also speaks of the various targets, but the wild beasts allotted to the emperor and his officers are different from those here given (Cf. Biot, Tscheou Li p. 138).
37. This explanation is mere fancy. Since the emperor took part in the shooting, one might as well say that the ceremony was meant as a warning for the emperor that he would be shot like a bear, in case he proved to be unprincipled.
39. So it is with dragons. They did not attract clouds and rain, as long as they were domesticated and always there, but their sudden and unexpected arrival has this effect. The clouds are touched, so to say, and then drop their tears.
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