Mythology in Paintings & Pictures: An exhibition of Asian Myths and Legends; Realistic Illustrations of Asian Mythology: Chinese Dragons, Japanese gods & monsters, & Asian folklore by American Illustrator Howard David Johnson, whose illustrations of Mythology have been published all over the world by distinguished learning institutions and publishers including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Presents: Contemporary Mythical Art Galleries
Illustrations of some of the Myths and Legends of Ancient Asia in a Gallery of New Paintings, Drawings and Pictures of the heroes, gods and goddesses in traditional oils, acrylics and digital mixed media in the style of the classic illustrators!
Featuring realistic illustrations of Japanese, Korean, & Chinese folklore & mythology
| "The Love Spell of
the Tengu" from Shinto and Buddhist traditional beliefs.
A SHINTO KAMI
The term Kami refers to a Shinto or Buddhist revered spirit or god. The Tengu is an example of the Buddhist or Shinto Kami of tradition and is shown here as a very angel-like nature spirit with dark wings. Tengu shape-shifted into many forms over centuries but often appeared as a monstrous anthropomorphized bird ~ usually part woman and cast diverse kinds of spells and performed mischief, not too terribly unlike the Hobgoblin of Irish fairy folklore. Originally seen by Buddhists as disruptive demons or harbringers of war, the tengu's image gradually softened into protective (but still dangerous) spirit guardians of the forests and mountains.
Noted for being fond of matchmaking, this Tengu influences a truly charmed romantic encounter in the forest. As a gesture of great respect to a beautiful lady of high social standing, the romantic Samurai bends down in the Sonkyo sitting style still used by Sumo wrestlers today, being careful not to let his knees touch the ground. The Japanese Samurai Warrior shown is in one example of traditional armour ~ this from the Momoyama period wearing a pale blue laced nuinobe fitted with a sode. Although anachronistic, these shoulder pads were still worn by people of rank.
KINTARO - From the folklore of Japan - Legendary symbol of virtue and strength
|Kintaro is a beloved legendary and symbolic figure from Japan. Like many legendary figures he appears in both history and mythology. According to classic Japanese literature he was fathered by a great Red Dragon ( the thunder god - see below ) who visited his mountain sorceress mother in a dream. She awoke amidst powerful claps of thunder and knew at once she was with child. Kintaro means "Golden Boy" and his jealous uncle sought to kill him. His mother took him and fled into the Hakone mountains to the deepest forests of Mount Kintoki. Growing up deep in the forest his beautiful spirit caused him to become a special friend to all the wild animals, most especially the rabbits and the bears. He loved to play with his animal friends about the rocks of the Yuhi no Taki Falls. So strong was he as a boy and so gifted at Sumo wrestling that he could throw down a bear. He was a very good boy, rosy-cheeked and chubby and always carried a hatchet, the Japanese symbol of the thunder god and is usually depicted riding his beloved bear. One day, when he was nearly grown Yorimitsu Minamoto, the strongest chief of all the Samurai returning from the east (around the 10th century) came upon Kintaro playing with his bear and tossing him about in the mountain forest.
The great Samurai and his troop of warriors were so delighted to meet such a fine young man with such good manners that they took him immediately to heart! So sure were they that it was God's providence that they enlisted him at once to become one of his retainers. As legend has it, Kintaro then changed his name to Kintoki and served his new master with legendary distinction... To this day, when a Japanese baby boy is born his room is often decorated on Boy's day (May 5th ) with a small Kintaro figurine symbolizing the ideal balance of the masculine virtue of great strength with gentleness.
SUSANUO - From Dark Japanese myths and legends of gods and monsters
Susanuo; a much more ancient variation of the universal thunder god legend from world mythology:
One of the greatest characters from Japanese Mythology was Susanuo, the son of Izanagi. He was the god of thunder, fertility and agriculture, very similar to Thor and Zeus from western Mythology. He was cast out of heaven, and his totem was the serpent. He was a dragon slayer of the first rank and killed a great eight headed dragon. He was dressed in a large cloak to disguise his weapons and tricked it by getting it drunk by leaving out eight large bowls of saki.., ( a powerful Japanese liquor made from rice )
Suddenly he threw back his cloak and fell on the monster and cut it to pieces. The poor girl in chains Susanuo rescues in the story was the youngest of eight daughters, and all her sisters were slain as human sacrifices to the great hard drinking eight- headed dragon. Susanuo took her for his wife and she became the legendary princess Kushinada. In the middle of the dragon's tail he found a wonderful magic sword which he pulled out of the bloody carcass and presented to his elder sister Ameraterasu, the goddess of the sun.
In later stories the sword is given the name Kushinagi and has been transmitted to our own times as one of the three great emblems of Japanese Imperial power.
THE TIGER GIRL - From the folklore of Korea
The Tiger Girl from Zong in-Sob's Folk tales from Korea. ( the Brothers Grimm of Korea ).
In old Korea, only the unmarried young people would wear brightly colored clothing. The married people would wear drab tans or grays while the elderly would wear white. In this illustration I have carefully re-created the traditional Korean Hanbok clothing of the era. The worship of nature spirits was common amongst the ancient Asians. In the story, when this boy followed the pretty girl home he got more than he bargained for. I highly recommend these wonderful, innocent and timeless stories for children of all ages...
THE CHINESE DRAGON
Symbol of the spirit of China
First dragon appeared to the mythical emperor Fu-hsi, & filled the
hole in the sky made by the monster Kung Kung. Its waking, sleeping and
breathing determined day & night, season and weather. There are
many differences & similarities between the Classical dragon &
the Chinese dragon, these include the ability to fly even without
wings, shape-shifting abilities,& of course the general benevolent
behavior to the populace.
|They rise to the skies in the spring and plunge into the waters in autumn. They could also change color and disappear in a flash. The dragon was also a symbol of the emperor whose wisdom and divine power assured the well-being of his subjects. Many legends draw connections between the dragon and the emperor. Some emperors claimed to have descended from the dragon. According to legend the Dragon had nine sons, and each had a strong personality. There is no general agreement as to what the Dragon's sons are called. However, to most people, they are: 1.Haoxian A reckless and adventurous dragon whose image can be found decorating the eaves of palaces. 2.Yazi Valiant and bellicose; his image is seen on sword-hilts and knife hilts. 3.Chiwen Chiwen likes to gaze into the distance and his appearance is often carved on pinnacles. 4.Baxia Baxia is a good swimmer and his image decorates many bridge piers and archways. 5.Pulao Pulao is fond of roaring and his figure is carved on bells. 6.Bixi Bixi is an excellent pack-animal whose image appears on panniers. 7.Qiuniu Qiuniu loves music and his figure is a common decoration on the bridge of stringed musical instruments. 8.Suanmi Suanmi is fond of smoke and fire; his likeness can be seen on the legs of incense-burners. 9.Jiaotu Jiaotu is as tight-lipped as a mussel or a snail. His image is carved on doors. Nine Dragon Wall A very popular tourist site in Beijing is this Nine-Dragon Wall in BaiHai Park. After hundreds of years, the colours of the ceramic tiles are just as brilliant. The wall was built in 1756. It is 21m long, about 15m high and i.2m thick. It is faced with 424 7-colour ceramic tiles. At the centre of the wall, there is a giant dragon, flanged by four dragons on each side. In addition to these nine large dragons, the wall is covered from edge to edge with many smaller dragons. In all, there are 635 dragons. The Ancient Chinese Dragon occupies a very important position in The mythology of China. It shows up in arts, literature, poetry, architecture, songs, and many aspects of the Chinese conscience. The origin of Chinese dragons is unknown, but certainly pre-dates any written history.
A DRAGON FROM INDIA
"Krishna and Kaliya the Demon Serpent" MMXI
In this story Krishna, the ultimate manifestation of the Hindu God-head is exorcising a ferocious malevolent entity in serpent form who had terrorized the villagers, poisoned the waters, and killed all the nearby wildlife - even birds flying by overhead.
Mythology? Of course that depends on your point of view~ more than a billion people do not think this is mythology.
Enter a world of Beauty and Imagination...
INDEX of GALLERIES ~ LINKS to LARGER ART
The Realistic and Fantastic Art Galleries of Contemporary American Illustrator Howard David Johnson
Click on these Fun Educational Realistic Art Gallery link icons for Two-fisted Tales of VALOR & Frontline Combat featuring Legendary Warriors of History, Knights and ladies of Arthurian Legend, Celtic, Nordic, Asian and Olympian gods & monsters, unicorns, dragons, fairies... and more!
All these pieces of art and the text are legally copyrighted and were registered with the U.S. Library of Congress Office of Copyright by the author, Howard David Johnson All rights reserved worldwide. Permission for many academic or non-commercial uses is freely and legally available by simply contacting the author via e-mail or visiting www.howarddavidjohnson.com/permission.htm
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Look for more Asian myths and legends art - More Japanese Mythology - Korean Mythology - & Chinese Mythology - Coming soon...