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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

European Encounters of Chinese Sea Serpent In South East Asia

It was during the 1700s and 1800s during the days of the european colonisation as well as explorations and discovery that the early europeans came by sea route into south east asia and other parts of asia.

It was being frequently claimed by many Europeans of those days that Chinese Sea Serpents was being spotted in the South China Seas and Straits of Melacca.

The sea serpent is as common in oriental folklore as in its occidental counterparts. In China the legends merge into purely mythical accounts of sea dragons, which have the disconcerting talent of shape shifting, but the more credible tales seem to describe something very similar to the sea serpent, in China called the Kiao or Shan.

The Shan is the Eastern Sea Dragon that unlike the Kiao, who is a lake dweller, lives in the sea. The Shan is described as serpentine but with ears, horns and a red mane. Until recently the Malays and Chinese believed sea serpents were responsible for ambergris, which they call 'dragon spittle'. In the History of the Ming Dynasty, a Chinese author describes a place called Dragon Spittle Island in the Sea of Lambri

In the 19th century many oriental sea serpents were seen by Europeans. Some were shown to be frauds or hysterical exaggerations, but several accounts cannot be easily dismissed - though, as always, many witnesses regretted having gone public. The Straits Times Overland Joumal carried a lively correspondence on the matter. Particularly dramatic was the encounter in September 1876 between the SS Nestor and a 'sea serpent' in the Straits of Malacca which seemed rather different to most, though very Chinese.

There is in the Far East a well - known living 'dragon' species, named the Komodo Dragon because its primary (almost its only) habitat is Indonesia's Komodo Island. This giant monitor lizard usually grows to about 12ft (3.7m), but speeimens twice as long have been reported. The creatures migrate by sea between Komodo and three other Indonesian islands. Specimens washed out to sea may well have given rise to some sea - monster tales, but none of great importance.
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