Classics of Mountains and Seas (山海经) is a collection of Chinese mythology, geography and medicine compiled about 3,000 to 2,500 years ago.

Here are some mythical creatures depicted in the book.

A beast with a dragon head and horse body known as the deity of Mt. Zhongshan.


Very interesting how these seem to mirror western myths. Like a commonality of thought arising in time.

All Things Chinese
Thoughts transcend through time and the worlds, spread into the universe and circulate around without an expiring date, so people (and all other beings and from all other realms) are communicating constantly beyond words and beyond people’s conscious realization.

In this regard, the ultimate battles are always among the thoughts, which occur before, during and after tangible actions.

Therefore the genuine cultivation towards total liberation should focus on intangible thoughts (like Chan – the Chinese origin of Japanese Zen) not on the tangible body (like yoga), from knowing your own thoughts, controlling your own thoughts to replacing undesirable thoughts with full conscious comprehension.

A five-tail creature called Zheng, specialised in preying on man-eating beasts like tigers and leopards.

A single-eye three-tail cat-like creature called Huan, specialised in mimicking the sound of other animals.


Cyclops in Greek mythology. The three tails must have functioned in the myth also. Fascinating.

A nine-tailed white fox. As the legend goes, it was the matchmaker of China’s greatest hydraulic engineer The Great Yu and his wife Tushan Shi.

A Chinese unicorn called Guanshu.


Seems to be a universal myth. This one-horned creature.

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But the most popular mythical creature in Chinese mythology is qilin – multicorn 🤪

A monkey-like creature known as Jufu, specialised in long-range stone hurling which terrified other beasts.

A man-eating beast called Gudiao, specialised in making a human baby’s crying sound.

A celestial dog that swallows the sun and the moon from time to time, which caused solar/lunar eclipses.

Thus in Chinese tradition, the luna, especially the solar, eclipses are viewed as a sign foreshadowing ill-fated events.

On the other hand, the Chinese discovered the natural cause of solar/lunar eclipses when the Classics of Mountains and Seas was compiled, with the earliest Chinese record of a solar eclipse dating back to 2,000 BC.

Mountain Ghost. According to Man of Simplicity (抱朴子) by Daoist Ge Hong, Mountain Ghosts have a size of a little boy with a single leg.

Fish Man (鲛人), a mermaid, specialised in weaving waterproof silk fabric. 

According to the Book of Supernatural Beings (搜神记), Fish Men/Women look like humans but with a fishtail. When they weep, their tears would turn into pearls; and their body oil can keep a lamp burning for a thousand years. (南海之外有鲛人,水居如鱼,不废织绩。 其眼泣则能出珠)

Ghost Liar (讹兽), an expert in lying and cheating.

According to the Book of Supernatural (神异经), Ghost Liars have the body of a rabbit and the head of a man, with a friendly facial expression but a nasty habit of fabricating and spreading fake news.

Their meat is said to be super delicious. But anyone who consumes it will lose the ability to tell truth. (西南荒中出讹兽,其状若菟,人面能言,常欺人,言东而西,言恶而善。其肉美,食之,言不真矣。)


Sounds like a lot of people have been eating ghost rabbits.

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Corporate media outlets must have offered ghost rabbit meat as tea snacks for their staff.

Mother Ghost (姑获鸟). According to Strange Tales from Stories of Mountain and Rivers (奇异杂谈之山海经), Mother Ghosts are formed by the grieving thoughts of the women died of childbirth.

Painters include Chinese artist 杉泽

11 thoughts on “Mythical Creatures in Classics of Mountains and Seas”
  1. Is there another website where I could research about the ghost liar? I couldn’t find anything on Google.

  2. Hello my dear (oldXXX) young friend,
    Again, I do so appreciate you staying in touch with me. Just downloaded all the photos from 12/14 & just luv them. Hope all is well with you. Still keeping my head above water & someday hope to get my butt in gear & live the musicians life again. My friend I’m helping is now cancer free but still has to complete his rehabilitation. Things are looking up. I’ll be back soon.
    My very best to you, stay well & keep posting. Thanks pal…!!!

    1. Hello Lawrence (it’s you, right?), here is my seasonal greeting 😊

      It’s great to hear the good news about your friend, very happy for him.

      I’m glad you like those pictures. Since the sunken of the Titanic Google Plus, I found I have more time to work on this website … you can always find some positive outcomes from a negative event … ok, well, I mean I can 😂

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