research on Korean dragons on our Earth and their legends
|Research of Dragons; Korean Dragons:
A cult of the Dragon has existed there since antiquity. The Riong [Li Lung?], is one of the four supernatural or spiritually endowed creatures. He is an embodiment of all the forces of motion, change, and power for offence and defense in animal life, with the mysterious attributes of the serpent. There are many varieties of the genus Dragon. . . . In the spring it ascends to the sites, and in the autumn buries itself in the watery depths. It is this terrific manifestation of movement and power which the Korean artist loves to depict–always in connection with waters, clouds, or the sacred jewel of which it is the guardian.
There is also a terrestrial dragon, which presides over mines and gems; and the intense regard for it is perhaps the chief reason why mines have been so little worked in Chosen, the people superstitiously fearing that disasters may follow disturbance of the metals which they believe are peculiarly the treasure of this jealous earth-spirit.
All mountains are personified in Korea and are usually associated with dragons. In lakes there are dragons and lesser monsters. . . . The serpent is almost synonymous with the dragon. Certain fish in time become fish-dragons; snakes become elevated to the dignity and imbued with the ferocity of dragons when they have spent a thousand years in the captivity of the mountains and a thousand years in the water. All these apparitions may be propitiated with sacrifices and prayers.
A description of the temples of Yu-chom-sa in the Diamond Mountains. The altar of this temple is adorned by a singular piece of wood-carving. Upon the roots of an upturned tree sit or stand fifty-three diminutive figures of Buddha. The monks tell an old-world legend of this strange structure. Many centuries ago fifty-three priests, who had journeyed from far India to Korea to introduce the precepts of Buddha into this ancient land, sat down by a well beneath a spreading tree. Three dragons presently emerged from the depths of the well and attacked the fifty-three, calling to their aid the wind dragon, who thereupon uprooted the tree. As the fight proceeded the priests managed to place an image of Buddha on each root of the tree, converting the whole into an altar, under whose influence the dragons were forced back into their cavernous depths, when huge rocks were piled into the well to shut them up. The monks then founded the monastery, building the main temple above the remains of the vanquished dragons.