Dragons of South America: Bachue’!

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Bachue’ is a mother goddess from Muisca Colombian mythology. She is the mother of humanity, and emerged from Lake Iguaque with a baby in her arms, who grew up to become her husband. The two populated the earth, and after creating all of humanity, they turned into serpents and returned to the now-sacred lagoon from which they arose.

Her name means “she who has naked breasts”, and she also watches over the crops that sustain man.

It is believed that Bachue’ returns on occasion to guide her people.

 

 

Dragons of Asia: The Tian-Long of China!

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  Long or Lung is the term for dragon in Chinese, and the Tian-Long(t’ien-Lung) was the celestial, or “heavenly” dragon. Often yellow or gold, this is the principal dragon type  that guards heavenly palaces and pulls divine chariots. It is the symbol of the Emperor of China, and as a result has five toes /claws on each foot.
The Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty copied the Yuan dynasty ruling and decreed that the dragon would be his emblem and that it would have five toes/claws. The four-clawed dragon was typically for imperial nobility and certain high-ranking officials. It was a capital offense for anyone,other than the emperor himself, to ever use the completely gold-colored, five-clawed Long dragon motif. Improper use of claw number and/or colors was considered treason, punishable by execution of the offender’s entire clan.

A side note: Gold coloured dragons have special attributes such as wealth, wisdom, kindness, and the ability to face challenges head on.

Monstrous Engravings: Myrmecoleon!

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The Myrmecoleon is an animal from classical times and is found in Medieval bestiaries such as the Hortus Sanitatis of Jacob Meydenbach.  Also it is referenced in some sources as a Formicaleon, Formicaleun or Mirmicioleon—-all meaning “Antlion”.

There are two interpretations of what a Myrmecoleon is. In one version, the antlion is so called because it is the “lion of ants”— the larvae of the insect known as an antlion lacewing—- and hides in the dust and eats ants. In the other version, it is a beast that is the result of a mating between a lion and an ant(seriously?) It has the face of a lion and the body of an ant, with each part having its appropriate nature. Because the lion part will only eat meat and the ant part can only digest grain, the ant-lion starves. In my opinion, the above creature looks more like a pig with a beak and bird feet, pretty true to the engraving from which I drew it.
The ant-lion story may come from a mistranslation of a word in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, from the book of Job. The word in Hebrew is laiisch, an uncommon word for lion, which in other translations of Job is rendered as either lion or tiger; in the Septuagint it is translated as mermecolion, ant-lion.