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Frontiers of History in China

ISSN 1673-3401

ISSN 1673-3525(Online)

CN 11-5740/K

Postal Subscription Code 80-980

Front. Hist. China    2021, Vol. 16 Issue (1) : 123-142
Discovering the Long : Current Theories and Trends in Research on the Chinese Dragon
Marco Meccarelli()
Department of History, University of Catinia, Catinia 95125; Department of History, University of Macerata, Macerata 62100; Department of History, University of Urbino, Urbino 61029, Italy
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After the 1980s, the world started addressing the challenges posed by economic globalization, and the protection of cultural diversity became a widely discussed topic. Today, China is experiencing problems in defining the relationship between the past and present, as well as that between tradition and modernity. Since the 1990s, China’s opening-up policy, the advent of globalization, and an increase in cross-cultural communications strengthened the country’s need to preserve its cultural heritage. Many Chinese scholars reflected on the past and examined the potential of archaeological materials, inscriptions, myths, and ancient legends to explain the relationship between tradition and modernity. The birth and evolution of the long 龍, or the Chinese dragon, remains at the core of such international studies. These studies highlighted the necessity of promoting discussions on and demystifying the long. This new perspective facilitates a connection between various theories on the origin of the Chinese dragon and the contemporary identity discourse, which has attracted the attention of Chinese scholars. This paper bridges the gap by introducing reliable theories on the origin of the mythical animal and focusing on typology issues, classification, latest debates on the distinction between the long and the dragons of other cultures, and finally, main theories on the visual representation of the Chinese long.

Keywords dragon      long       loong      thunder      alligator      totem theory      mythical animal      snake      dragon motif     
Issue Date: 15 April 2021
 Cite this article:   
Marco Meccarelli. Discovering the Long : Current Theories and Trends in Research on the Chinese Dragon[J]. Front. Hist. China, 2021, 16(1): 123-142.
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