Artwork depicting a Tibetan Mastiff from the Qing Dynasty.

A Loyal Companion and Much More: Dogs in Ancient China

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The Eight Immortals crossing the Sea.

The Eight Immortals crossing the Sea.( Project Gutenberg ) Lu Dongbin (at the back of the boat in yellow) is the subject of one negative saying that includes dogs.

To conclude, the dog is viewed both positively and negatively in ancient China and they had numerous roles. As an animal revered by the Chinese, it has a place amongst the 12 Chinese zodiacs. Yet, the dog is also depicted negatively, most notably in certain Chinese sayings. In everyday life, the Chinese dog played a similar role to its counterparts in other parts of the ancient role – as hunting companions and guardians. Nevertheless, dogs in China were also used in rituals and sacrifices, and were even consumed as food by their human masters.

In recent years, China has come under fire for its poor treatment of dogs. For example, in the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, an annual celebration in Yulin, Guangxi, it is estimated that 10,000 – 15,000 dogs are trapped, confined to small cages, butchered, and then eaten.  Animal welfare groups both within China and abroad, have been campaigning to end the cruel festivities in which dogs face the harshest and most brutal of treatments.

Featured image: Artwork depicting a Tibetan Mastiff from the Qing Dynasty. Photo source: Public Domain .

By: Ḏḥwty

References

Clark, M., 2015. Five Mythical And Supernatural Dogs Who Will Chill Your Bones. [Online]
Available at: http://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/21063-5-mythical-and-supernatural-dogs-who-will-chill-your-bones

Mark, J. J., 2014. Dogs in the Ancient World. [Online]
Available at: http://www.ancient.eu/article/184/

Roach, J., 2009. Dogs First Tamed in China -- To Be Food?. [Online]
Available at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/09/090904-dogs-tamed-china-food.html

Simoons, F. J., 1991. Food in China: A Cultural and Historical Inquiry. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.

www.ancientchinalife.com, 2009. Ancient China Animals. [Online]
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www.chinesezodiac.com, 2015. Chinese Zodiac Dog. [Online]
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Yang, L., An, D. & Turner, J. A., 2005. Handbook of Chinese Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Yuan, H., 2014. Chinese Proverbs. [Online]
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Comments

Hi, just a quick observation, I believe the caption on the last photo is incorrect, the yellow garbed immortal is in the front of the boat not the back.

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