The Classic of Mountains and Seas is probably the most relevant text to learn about in this class. The subjects it talks about range from geography to medicine. But the most important part of the text is its cataloging of many mythical creatures from all over China. The creatures contained within it are referenced in many places throughout Chinese folklore and belief. One could initially think that all these people were influenced by this one text but it makes more sense for it to be the other way around. What makes it different from a book we may imagine today is that it was not written all at one time. Its contents were expanded with new creatures and folklore as time went on and cultures changed. So when one person would mention a creature, its traits would be solidified and the information would find its way into the Classic eventually. A good comparison of the text would be to Wikipedia. Just like Wikipedia, the Classic has things added to it as more information is available and new creatures come to light. And just like Wikipedia, the Classic of Mountains and Seas is extremely influential.
Sections I’d like to include
- Examples of creatures
- History of the text. Mention how it was added to over many centuries .
- Function of the text. Say how it was meant to be a complete guide to mythical creatures and also how it discussed the parts of the creatures that served other purposes.
- Section on how it shows the ancient Chinese view of lands around them. How it is a map without a “map”. It shows the center being civilized and the lands beyond being wild and barbarous.
- Its importance as a text.