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Title:
“Westerners Sight A Dragon” 西人見龍
Year: 1886 Volume: 8 Page Number: 42

Caption Translation: There are voluminous books from ancient times on dragons. Although not each and every account is based on direct observation, certainly they are not all wild fabrications to deceive later generations. We know that Westerners are good at science and they claim there are no dragons. Although the Chinese people believe that dragons are not commonly seen, they follow hearsay and believe biased reports. This is one shortcoming of our scholars.

According to a recent newspaper report, a ship passing south of Africa suddenly witnessed giant claws rising out of the waves. At first the crew members thought the claws belonged to a big fish. But when the ship went nearer, its head and tail, which were above the water by some two zhang, became visible and it had a body length of no less than ten zhang (33 meters). According to the Westerners, evidence had to be presented and information provided to verify its existence. But the Chinese people know that dragons are elusive, and their behavior mercurial. The howling wind envelops their bodies and the rain and thunder make them potent. Their force is like that of the emperor. So how can we measure dragons by ordinary standards? Chinese culture can civilize the barbarians, but not vice versa.
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Translator: Peter C. Perdue

古人說龍之書汗牛充棟, 不必其一一目擊也, 然亦必非盡屬子虛幻造是名, 以欺後人。可知巳人稱西人精於格致, 力辦無是物;而中人亦以龍為不恒見之物, 遂同聲和之耳, 食多偏亦學人之陋也。 近日西報言有某輪船行經阿非利加洲之南, 忽見波濤上沸鱗爪怒張。初疑為大魚, 稍近則首尾皆現, 高出水上二丈餘, 約計其身不下十丈。然則西人之言無有者欲核夫實也, 所謂無徵不信也。中人知龍之變化不測, 上下無時, 風韻護其體, 雷雨宏其功, 狀九五之尊, 豈能以尋常習見之物繩之哉?用夏變夷, 不必其變於夷也。

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illustrations from the 1898 edition of the
Dianshizhai huabao, generously provided by
the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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“Westerners Sight A Dragon” 西人見龍 (page 42) 1886
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