Thursday, October 28, 2010


In time for Halloween, an interesting post from Robert Krulwich at NPR, Chinese & European Monsters Strangely, Eerily Similar:
I couldn't help but notice that with every conceivable shape available, the Chinese came up with monsters that look like the West's monsters. Here’s Toby Lester's list:

The Loppy Ears (who "have such big ears they flop down onto their shoulders")

The Feathered Folk (who "can fly, but not very far")

The Hairy Folk (covered in hair "like a pig")

The Mushroom People (whose aspect was like "a meat fungus")

The Progenyless Folk (a boneless race who, because they eat only air "are clear-headed and live a long time")

So the Chinese imagined Big-Eared monsters and so did the Europeans. The Chinese have air eaters, the Europeans Apple Sniffers .The Chinese have a face-on-my-chest monsters, ditto the Europeans.

* * *

Two thousand plus years ago, Europeans and Chinese had very, very little contact but somehow they imagined a startlingly similar cast of frightening and fantastic creatures.
Go to the article to see drawings of these Chinese and European monsters.

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