The horse has always been a significant figure in Chinese culture and was historically seen as a valuable animal, so it's not surprising the horse is also prominent
in Chinese mythology, including the Zodiac, as a symbol of virtue and power. This year, 2014 being the Year of the Wood Horse provides inspiration for looking at the Zodiac, some stories and
types of mythological horses.
Chinese Zodiac Horse
In the twelve year Zodiac cycle the Horse represents power and strength, endurance, love, war and chivalry, vanity, as well as stability and devotion. The Horse corresponds to Gemini.
A story behind the choice of the Zodiac animals is that the Jade Emperor called together some animals for a race. Their order in the Zodiac depended on their arrival at the palace. The horse
Mythical horse stories:
How the Mulberry tree got its name...
This is one version of the story about Can Nu, the Goddess of Silkworms. Her father had gone off to war and she missed him. She told her horse she'd marry it if he
brought her father back. The horse did so. Back home, the horse wasn't eating and was behaving strangely, which was noticed by her father. His daughter explained why. Ashamed and worried, he
killed and skinned the horse.
Can Nu kicked the skin, laughing and saying that it was killed because it wanted a human wife. The skin grabbed her, wrapped itself around her, and took her away. The cocooned girl was found on a
tree, which was called the 'mourning' tree - Mulberry - thereafter. The silkworms which ate the leaves from that tree produced better silk than the others.
Good Luck Horse
A boy called Wa Tung had a cloth horse which he wished would become real and a magician changed it into a real horse. The horse didn't have eyes and was clumsy, so Wa Tung's father called it
"Bad-Luck". When his son cleared up some of the damage it had caused, he renamed him "Good-Luck-Bad-Luck".
As the story continued, Wa Tung went to war, but the horse wanted to end conflict. He convinced all the other horses to refuse to ride into battle. Then peace was restored and the horse was
The Eight Horses of Mu Wang
The Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty's horses pulled the Emperor's chariot as swiftly as a dragon and were named according to their talents:
Beyond Earth's hooves didn't touch the earth.
Windswept Plumes moved faster than any bird.
Rush-by-Night could cover 10,000 leagues per night.
Faster-than-Shadow ran as fast as the sun.
Finer-than-Flashing-Light's coat shone like light.
Faster-than-Light cast ten shadows with each bound.
Rising Mist chased along the clouds.
Wing Bearer had feathers on his body.
Ma Wang is the Horse King, the celestial charger and original progenitor of all horses.
Longma (Dragon Horse)
The horse and dragon, as symbols of survival, in Chinese mythology and history are celestial and carry people to the "home of the
immortals". Longma is the spirit of Heaven and Earth, with the form of a horse's body, with dragon scales and wings.