AUSPICIOUS SYMBOLS IN CHINA
In China, lucky symbols appear on everything from handkerchiefs to tombstones. Many auspicious symbols are homonyms of Chinese characters associated with good fortune, prosperity and longevity. Many inauspicious ones are homonyms of Chinese characters for "death" or "bad luck." Chinese buy good luck charms with a picture of Mao on one side and an image of a Bodhisattva on the other. Man himself is considered a symbol. Heaven is round, the earth is square and man is regarded as a link between the two because it has a round head and a square body.
According to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: There are numerous mysteries of meaning in the strange symbols, characters, personages, birds, and beasts that adorn all species of Chinese art objects. For example, a rectangular Chinese vase is feminine, representing the creative or ultimate principle. A group of seemingly miscellaneous art objects, depicted perhaps upon a brush tray, are probably the po-ku, or "hundred antiques" emblematic of culture and implying a delicate compliment to the recipient of the tray. Birds and animals occur with frequency on Chinese porcelains, and, if one observes closely, it is a somewhat select menagerie, in which certain types are emphasized by repetition. For instance, the dragon is so familiar as to be no longer remarked, and yet his significance is perhaps not fully understood by all. [Source: Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group Inc., 2001]
Well-known symbols of prosperity and good luck are: 1) jade (protection, health and strength, See Art); 2) eggs (tranquility, fertility and good luck in Hong Kong); 3) a bearded sage (longevity or success on exams); 4) a lady bearing fruit (prosperity); 5) a gourd with spreading tendrils (fertility); 6) plump, lively boys (happiness and many sons); 7) bamboo, plums and pine trees ("three friends of winter").
Imperial symbols included the colors yellow and purple. The Emperor wore yellow robes and lived under roofs made with yellow tiles. Only the Emperor was allowed to wear yellow. No buildings outside those in the Forbidden City were allowed to have yellow-tiled roofs. Purple represented the North Star, the center of the universe according to Chinese cosmology. The dragon symbolized the Emperor while the phoenix symbolized the Empress. The cranes and turtles associated with the Imperial court represented the desire for a long reign. The numbers nine, associated with male energy, and five, representing harmony were also linked with the Emperor.
The fungus Geroderma ludidum is said to bring life because its Chinese name is a homonym with the Chinese word for good fortune. Elixirs of immortality often included it as one of the key ingredients. Other good luck symbols derived from homonyms: 1) Lanterns (homonym with promotions); 2) bees (homonym with abundance); and 3) fish (homonym with surplus). A clock sometimes is used to denote death because the Chinese character for "clock" resembles the character for "death."
Animal and Fruit Symbols in China
Crane, symbol of joy
The most prominent animal symbols are: 1) cranes (peace, hope, healing, longevity and good luck); 2) turtles (long life, but a tortoise refers to a cuckolded husband and a turtle egg is the Chinese equivalent of a bastard); 3) carps (good luck, they are admired for their strength and determination to swim upstream, traits that parents want their children to have): 4) lions (good fortune and prosperity, stone lion gates guard temples and even shopping malls); 5) deer (wealth and long life); 6) horse (success); 7) sheep (auspicious beginning of a brand-new year); 8) monkey (success). 9) The Chinese translation for "peacock" has a character that means "nobility," making this bird a symbol of promotion in official rank.
Fruit symbols: Fruit is culturally significant and carries multiple meanings — from immortality in Taoist mythology to good fortune and beauty: 1) orange (happiness); 2) many-seeded pomegranate (fertility); 3) apple (peace); 4) pear (prosperity); 5) peaches (long life, good health and sex, both Chinese and Arabs regard the fury cleft on one side of the peach as symbol of the female genitalia). Peach trees mean dreams can come true. Beginning in the 2nd century B.C., Taoist kept peach-wood charms to ward off evil. Sometimes handmade noodles are served on birthdays for long life.
A bat is a sign of prosperity and are regarded as having originated from the Heavens. One of the best symbols of all is a red bat. Red is a lucky color and a bat is considered a fortunate sign because its name in Chinese is a homonym with the Chinese word for "good luck, "plus bats sleep with their head down and their feet up, which shows how relaxed and worry free they are. Chinese and Vietnamese believe that people can achieve the relaxed, worry-free state of bats by eating red bat meat. Five flying bats symbolize the “Five Blessings”: longevity, wealth. health, virtue and a long life span.
Fish are is also important. According to legend many Chinese dragons begin life as fish. They have magical powers to leap over waterfalls. Carp especially are associated with this legend. The saying, “The carp has leaped through the dragon’s gate” is used to describe success in Chinese society. Fish are always served on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of prosperity and wealth.
Color Symbols in China
Colors: 1) red or orange (happiness and celebration), 2) white (purity, death and mourning); 3) yellow and gold (heaven and the emperor, a reference the mythical first Yellow Emperor, sometimes yellow is a mourning color); 4) green (harmony); 5) grey and black (death and misfortune).
Red, gold and green are associated with good luck. Red is the most auspicious color. It is well represented at weddings and holidays and fits nicely into Communist models. Red signifies luck, happiness, health and prosperity. Brides wear something red on their wedding day and red lanterns are hung on New Year's Day and weddings. Chinese have traditionally given out "lucky money" on special occasions in red envelopes. Walls are painted red for good luck but writing in red is bad luck. Sometimes red clothing worn by women is linked with prostitution.
Green can also be a symbol of cuckoldry. Green hats have traditionally been worn by men whose wives have cheated on them. The New York Times described how one American agricultural expert found this out the hard way when he traveled around China giving out bright green hats and found out that whenever he handed them out the men refused to put them on and the women laughed.
According to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: “Colors have their significance, blue being the color of the heavens, yellow of the earth and the emperor, red of the sun, and white of Jupiter or the Year Star. Each dynasty had its own particular hue, that of the Chou dynasty being described as "blue of the sky after rain where it appears between the clouds." “The apparently haphazard conjunction of objects in the decorative schemes of Chinese art is far from being a matter of chance, but adds to its decorative properties the intellectual charm of symbolic significance. [Source: Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group Inc., 2001]
Mythical Creatures in China
The a "chi-lin "(qilin, kylin) is a dragon-like beast with the head of dragon, hooves of an ox, tail of a lion, and antlers of a deer and was said to be able to reveal disloyal subjects. See History. The “pulao” is a dragon-like creature that makes a bloodcurdling shriek when attacked by a whale The “xiechi” (“xiezhi”) is a horned cat that is believed to have the power to discern right and wrong. The phoenix is an auspicious symbol associated with the Imperial family. It has traditionally been used to symbolize the Empress. The Yongle Emperor (ruled 1403-1424) believed that a giraffe was a chi-lin. See Separate Article YONGLE EMPEROR (ruled 1403-1424) factsanddetails.com
According to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: “A less familiar beast is the chi-lin, which resembles in part a rhinoceros, but has a head, feet, and legs like a deer, and a tufted tail. In spite of his unprepossessing appearance, he is of a benevolent disposition, and his image on a vase or other ornament is an emblem of good government and length of days. A strange bird, having the head of a pheasant, a long flexible neck, and a plumed tail, may often be seen flying in the midst of scroll-like clouds, or walking in a grove of treepeonies. This is the fengbuang, the Chinese phoenix, emblem of immortality and appearing to mortals only as a presage of the auspicious reign of a virtuous emperor. The tortoise (kuei ), which bears upon its back the seagirt abode of the Eight Immortals, is a third supernatural creature associated with strength, longevity, and (because of the markings on its back) the mystic plan of numerals that is a key to the philosophy of the unseen. [Source: Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group Inc., 2001]
The Chinese and many other cultures around the world believed that eclipses occur when the sun is eaten by a giant beast, monster or dragon. The Chinese word for eclipse, “re she”, means "sun-eat."
The main symbol of China is the dragon. Made up of seven animals, it has the power to change size at will and bring rain to farmers need. New Year's festivities often include a line of people in a dragon costume. Dragons symbolize goodness, strength, vigor, excellence and breakthroughs. They bring good luck and control natural forces that produce good harvests. Dragons, the Chinese believe, are just below human beings in the hierarchy of living things, and dinosaurs bones have been presented as proof that they really existed.
Dragons have traditionally been associated with the Imperial family. Emperors were called “Real Dragon and Son of Heaven.” The five claw-dragon was a symbol of the imperial court; the phoenix sometimes symbolized the empress; and a dragon and phoenix together symbolize male and female. Emperors placed dragon symbols on everything from robes to thrones to flags.
The belief in dragons dates back thousands of years and no one is sure where it comes from. In ancient times, dragons were though have horses heads, bat wings, rabbit eyes and scaly, snake-like bodies. They were thought to inhabit ponds and rivers and have the ability to travel between earth and heaven on spiraling waterspouts. In times of drought people made offerings to them in hope they would break out through the mist and clouds and produce rain.
In China, dragons are more like guardian angels than creatures that kidnap damsels in distress and are slain by knights. The Asian dragon has large claws and whiskers. Snakes are sometimes called "little dragons." Fish are regarded as baby dragons that haven’t yet grown up. Some dragons are said to have the ability to change into Sea Dragon Kings, “Hai Long Wang” that wander the oceans and protected seafarers. Other dragons such as the Cheien Tang River monster and the seagoing, red-maned Shan were regarded as evil.
According to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: There are three kinds of dragons, the lung of the sky, the li of the sea, and the kiau of the marshes. The lung is the favorite kind, however, and may be known when met by his having "the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, the eyes of a rabbit, ears of a cow, neck of a snake, belly of a frog, scales of a carp, claws of a hawk, and palm of a tiger." His special office is to guard and support the mansions of the gods, and he is naturally the peculiar symbol of the emperor.[Source: Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Gale Group Inc., 2001]
Dragons in Chinese Mythology
While in Western mythology the dragon is an evil beast, and best illustrated by the story of St. George and the Dragon, in the East — especially in mainland Asia — it has an opposite significance. The dragon is the totem, the palladium and emblem, of China. It is the symbol of man in general, just as woman is represented by the phoenix, another of the four mythical animals of the land. When a dragon and a phoenix are shown together either in cloth designs or carvings, a marriage is represented; sometimes this is emphasized by the addition of a Chinese character meaning joy, and greater emphasis is achieved by repeating the character. [Source: The Religions of South Vietnam in Faith and Fact, US Navy, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Chaplains Division,1967 ++]
The dragon may be a fanciful elaboration of the several varieties of common lizards, but its symbolic use seems to be of ancient Chinese origin. According to popular belief, the dragon is a genie that presides over the creation of meteors and other cosmic activity, and belief in cosmic activity has traditionally been strong in China. In addition, he is often considered to be the god of the waters who lives in the sea and other bodies of water. According to the Chinese tradition, the dragon has the horns of a deer, the head of a camel, belly of a crocodile, scales of a fish, and buffalo-like hair. Its hearing ability is in its horns rather than the ears. The neck of a serpent, eyes of a demon, and claws of an eagle complete a figure which is rather strange to the Westerner. ++
There are a number of legends about dragons. According to one, long ago when mist surrounded the earth, dragons were created in great rivers, and sprawling lakes, storm clouds and typhoons. They swam in the seas off the coast of China and moved about so much they stirred up enough sediment to make the island of Taiwan, where they rested, slept and still reside. In another, the great hero Fu Xi and his sister Nu Wa descended from semi-human creatures with snake bodies. Over time they developed animal legs, a horse mane, a rat tail, deer hooves, dog claws and fish scales and became dragons.
According to Vietnam-culture.com: “In Asian myths, no creature is as impressive as the dragon. For peasants, the dragon was a vivid symbol of the fourfold deity-clouds, rain, thunder and lighting. Represented by an S shape, dragons are depicted on artifacts dating back to the Dong Son-Au Lac culture, which existed in northern Vietnam in the first millennium B.C. Later came the cult of Tu Phap, or the Four Miracles. Long ago stargazers identified the Dragon constellation made up of seven stars arranged like an S. The brightest star is the Mind (Tam), also known as the Divine (Than) star. The word Than may also be read as Thin (Dragon), which denotes the third month of the lunar calendar and represents the Yang vital energy. [Source:Vietnam-culture.com vietnam-culture.com ^*^]
Initially, dragons were associated with water and Yin energy. Dragons were popular among the common people, who believed that rain was created by nine dragons, which took water from the sea to pour down on the rice paddies. The dragon dance, a great favorite among people of all walks of life, was used to invoke rain.
Chinese Zodiac Dragons
Dragons (1940, 1952, 64, 76, 88, 2000) are considered eccentric, extroverted, complex, intelligent, passionate and healthy and have been described as adventurous dreamers with strong leadership qualities. Sometimes they are seen as foolish, indiscreet and demanding. They are most compatible with rats and monkeys, and least compatible with dogs. Dragons make good artists and politicians. Famous dragons include Joan of Arc and Freud.
Kent Ewing wrote in the Asia Times: The dragon is the most revered and auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac. It has long been the preeminent symbol of imperial power in China; indeed, the first set of stamps issued in the country - during the Qing Dynasty, in 1878 - bore the image of a giant dragon. [Source: Kent Ewing, Asia Times, January 24, 2012]
The thrashing, fire-breathing ferocity of Western dragons may inspire fear and loathing, but in Chinese lore dragons are fierce and frightful because - like the emperors they have represented - they offer protection and security while also possessing mythical powers to ward off evil spirits and disasters.
The dragon is one of 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, but it outranks all others as the ultimate emblem of the Chinese nation and race. Paradoxically, it represents power and unmitigating authority on the one hand but benevolence and blessings on the other. Dragon years should be filled with happiness, security, abundance and prosperity.
The birthrate in dragon years often leaps because it is the most auspicious in the Chinese almanac. In 2000, the previous Year of the Dragon, birth rates in Hong Kong shot up 5.6 percent, to 54,134, according to official data, and an even bigger spike, spurred by mainland mothers-to-be dodging China's one-child policy, is anticipated in 2012.
Dragon Year 2012
Kent Ewing wrote in the Asia Times: The Year of the Dragon 2012, which began on January 23, got off to a bad start before it even began. How else to explain the critical reaction within China to a commemorative postage stamp issued by China Post depicting the dragon as the fierce, fanged and clawed mythical creature it is supposed to be. "Too scary!" media critics complained. "Inappropriate," cried scores of politically correct microbloggers. [Source: Kent Ewing, Asia Times, January 24, 2012]
Now, as the fireworks explode and the celebrations commence, the dragon debate rages on: Is this the menacing image a rising China wants to present to the rest of the world? To which this self-anointed feng-shui commentator responds: Absolutely - unless this is to be the year that China becomes known as a nation of 1.3 billion wimps. Who would you rather have guarding the commonweal of your nation - a Chinese dragon or Mickey Mouse? Feng-shui masters said that better-than-expected economic news was due the influence of the advancing dragon chasing the rabbit to the back of the zodiacal queue. As the euro zone heads toward the financial abyss and the US economy continues to limp along, the fierce protection offered by the dragon should provide China with a proverbial soft landing in the coming year. At least, that is what Chinese leaders hope and pray for. According to their sobering (and very un-geomantic) calculations, growth of under 8 percent could wreak enough economic havoc to provoke social unrest - unleashing the darker side of the Chinese dragon's ferocity. No one wants that, and most fortune-tellers assert that this year's dragon possesses enough strength to pull China through the economic trough that is expected in 2012.
But the ancient art of feng shui goes well beyond simply taking note of which of the 12 animals of the zodiac occupies center stage in any given year. There are also the five basic elements to contend with - metal, wood, water, fire and earth. This year (2012) is dominated by two elements - water and earth. Since these elements are eternally locked in a destructive relationship, the Year of the Dragon will not be without conflict and natural disasters. Expect the politics of the Middle East and North Africa to continue to roil while the earth shakes and the seas bulge and surge. Prepare yourself for a wild ride, although also remember that in the end the dragon is there for assurance and protection.
The total absence of the fire element this year spells bad news for stock markets and the world of finance. The mediating influence of earth should prevent disaster, but count on a wet year for the world economy. Be careful and conservative in investments - or get soaked.
In preparation for the onslaught of Dragon year babies, the Hong Kong government has raised obstetric fees at public hospitals for women from the mainland and also capped the number of deliveries by mothers who are not residents of Hong Kong at 3,400 in public hospitals and 31,000 in private hospitals. These caps, however, have prompted some desperate mainland moms to turn up at the emergency wards of the city's hospitals to have their babies. This, in turn, has led immigration officials to begin implementing checks on mainland women at the border and to turn back any visibly pregnant women who cannot prove that they have a booking at a Hong Kong hospital - an awkward and imprecise art at best.
The irony in all this is that Hong Kong's fertility rate is among the lowest in the world and its rapidly aging population poses a threat to the city's future development. In other words, Hong Kong needs more babies, lots of them.
Dragon Sayings and Dinosaur Bones
There are many sayings about dragons in China. Among them are: 1) “Dragon flies phoenix dances” — referring to a flamboyant style with little content; 2) “Dragon horse spirit” — A dragon's and a horse's spirit — a vigorous spirit in old age; 3) “Fish dragons muddle mix” — refers to thieves mingling with honest people; “Dragon soars tiger leaps” — a lively scene; 5) “Carriage water horse dragon” — heavy traffic; (Chinese dragons have very long bodies); 6) “Dragon pool tiger cave” — a dangerous place; 7) “Paint dragon dot eye” — Paint a dragon and dot the eye — adding the vital finishing touch, making a crucial point; 8) “Lord Ye loves dragons — someone who pretends to like something that he really fears; 9) “Carp jump dragon gate” — someone who has successfully passed the civil service examination; 10) “Strong dragon difficult suppress local snake” — powerful outsiders can hardly afford to neglect local villains. [Sources: Candice Song, China Highlights, September 15, 2021; Veronika Gomez Skopalova, fluentin3months.com, wow4you.com]
Many Chinese believe that dinosaur bones come from dragons not dinosaurs. The consumption of pulverized "dragon" bones is believed to make a man strong and bring him good luck and are used as a traditional Chinese medicine for stomach ailments. Many good bones have been pulverized into medicines. Scientists are trying to convince farmers to turn in their bones to palaeontologists not Chinese medicine traders.
Lurking Dragon Hill in Guizhou is so named because of the high number of “dragon bones” found there. Peking University paleontologist Ceb Zhuxian told National Geographic, “It was here that local people used to find these small dragons. They didn’t known they were fossils, but they liked them because the dragon is a sign of good luck.” Most of the fossils found belong to 12- to 14-inch long marine creatures called "Keichousarus hui", that look like miniature Lochness monsters.
Dragons in Ancient China
According to the National Palace Museum, Taipei: 1) A decoration on a piece of pottery from a Pan-p'o Yangshao Culture site in Shaanxi province dating to about 6800 to 6000 years ago, may be one of the earliest "dragons" in Chinese art. This animal suggests a serpent of some type, yet it appears quite distinct from a snake. Two fin-like forms appear on either side of the head and also along the curving body. The upper and lower parts of the body are differentiated, and the end of the tail is divided into three fin-like lobes. [Source: National Palace Museum, Taipei, npm.gov.tw ]
2) A sculpture of a "dragon" composed of oyster shells was unearthed at a Hou-kang Yangshao Culture site in Henan province and dates to about 6460 years ago. Measuring 1.78 meters long and 0.67 meters tall, this beast has an open mouth and long tongue, sinuous neck and body, and a mane and five claws for each paw. The tail of this beast also appears be divided at the end, sharing much in common with later representations of dragons. 3) A "dragon" appears as decoration on a piece of painted pottery excavated from a Miao-ti-kou Yangshao Culture site in Kansu province and dates to about 5500 years ago. Measuring 38.4 centimeters tall, this abstracted animal image has a round head, ringed neck, front legs, and hatch marks on the body perhaps representing scales. With eyes and claws simply rendered, it seems to be biting onto the tail.
4) A so-called "jade dragon" was excavated from a Hongshan Culture site in Inner Mongolia and dates to about 5000 years ago. In the form of a "C"-shaped pendant with a hole in the middle for suspension, this slender, snake-like serpent was delicately carved and engraved with lines. It has few features apart from its long mouth, nose, eyes, and what appears to be a flaring mane. 5) The body of a patternized serpent, from a culture site in Shanxi province and dated to about 4500 to 3900 years ago,. is divided down the middle with alternating sections as it curls around the rim of the bowl and ends with a stubby tail. Without a discernible neck, it has a small eye and a mouth with rows of sharp teeth. It appears with an object in its mouth that might also be its tongue.
6) Xia dynasty 'dragon' decor comes from a piece of pottery excavated from an Erh-li-t'ou site in Henan province and dates to about 3800 to 3500 years ago. The spade-shape of the head is distinct from the splayed representation of the body, and a similar double-body "dragon" with trapezoidal markings on its body also appears here. 7) Dragons in Shang dynasty (ca. 16-11th century B.C.) art often appear in the oracle bone and bronze script of the period as well as on jades and bronze vessels. The dragons of this period are marked by a prominent head, especially the mouth, along with distinctive horns and ears for a more decorative and patternized effect. Scales are less emphasized, and a snake-like design is often seen. Shown in profile, they have clawed feet, leaf-like ears, and eyes that stand out.
7) Dragons in art from the Western Zhou (ca. 11th century-771 B.C.) and Spring and Autumn Period (770-481 B.C.) follow mostly after those of the Shang dynasty, but they become even more patternized and decorative. Eyes gradually are less prominent, and designs are generally based on a symmetrical or curving arrangement. By the Warring States Period (481-221 B.C.), the dragon appears in an increasing variety of forms. Individual representations of dragons often show them as curvilinear "S" patterns that appear full of energy and potential. Bodies are often shown with a pattern of neatly arranged raised dots, while the curving tail and mane create a "cut-out" design of solid and void. After adjusting the appearance of and relation between the body and tail, the dragon evolved into a beast with a serpentine body, strong legs, and a prominent tail. Thereafter, the dragon galloped and romped through Chinese art, the form of which lasted through the T'ang (618-907) and Five Dynasties (907-960) period.
Stone Animals of the Ming Tombs
Beyond the stele pavilion at the Ming Tombs outside of Beijing is an 8,000-meter-long Sacred Way. Along both sides of the path are stone animals and stone human figures. The procession starts with four lions, four xiezhai (mythical beasts with a single horn), four elephants, four qilin and four horses. In each group one pair is standing and the other kneeling. The human figures are four military officials, four civil officials and four meritorious officials. The stone figures are heroically shaped and graphically carved. The big statues are each carved from a single piece of white marble and are wonderful ancient art objects. All these stone carvings were the works in the early Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) built more than five hundred and forty years ago. [Source: China.org]
The practice of placing stone animals and human figures in front of imperial tombs can be traced back at least to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.) some two thousand years ago as each dynasty has followed the custom, though varieties and numbers of stone animals and stone figures differ by dynasty. In the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), such stone animals as qilin, pixie (exotic animal with horns), elephants and horses were placed in front of the tombs. In the Tang Dynasty (618-906), lions, horses, oxen, black birds and stone figures of civil officials and warriors were favored. In the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1279), stone animals — elephants, horses, sheep, tigers, lions, black birds, and stone figures of civil officials and military officials also were lined in front of imperial tombs.
The placing of stone animals and human figures in the Thirteen Ming Tombs in Beijing almost followed the pattern of Xiaoling. In ancient time, stone animals and human figures placed before imperial tombs symbolized royal power and privilege in addition to their decorative functions. Stone lions not only were placed before imperial tombs, but also in front of yamen (a government office in feudal China). Lions are ferocious animals roaring aloud. Buddhist scripture says, "All animals will be in great panic at the approaching of a roaring lion. Stone lions are placed before imperial tombs in order to avoid evil influence."
Xiezhai were mythical, single-horned beasts which attacked bad people. In ancient time, judges liked to wear hats made in xiezhai shape, symbolizing an ability to differentiate between evil and good. Camels and elephants were important means of transport in desert areas and tropical zones and qilin symbolized auspicious events. In ancient times, the qilin, phoenix, fish and dragon were regarded as four important spirits. Horses in good temper were good at running. Thus, in ancient time, horses were very important for transportation in people's daily life. Qilin, xiezhai, horses and lions symbolized royal power and privilege.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons; Dragon. All Posters com http://www.allposters.com/?lang=1 Search Chinese Art; others, Kent State University
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated September 2021