Nian Picture

Animal creation: China

Range: Almost entire East asia except Mongolia and Tibet. Mainly at coastal areas.

Perhaps the only mythical creature that could match in level of cultural influence with the dragon.

Nian means Year in mandarin. Sometimes its called the year beast. A marine mammal. A notorious carnivore who fond on tasting children's meat. Terrorizing villages which's located by the sea.

Its name the year beast because it will only surface itself out from the depths once a year. Its during the beginning of spring; according to the lunar calendar.

Hence the lunar calendar's measured based on movements of the moon. That hinted Nian may possess a skill to sense the movement of the moon to calculate the coming of spring.

Despite Nian's ferocious appearance, it had phobia on red color and loud banging noise. In one legend, a group of villager came out a plan. They light red fire crackers, wore red robes, hit metal bowls and metal plates, and played loud drums to frighten the beast. The beast fled back into the sea and never attack the village again.

That's one of the folklore that lion dance was originated. Lion dance was not found not only in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan but even in Japan and Korea and as far as to southeast asia.

Japan and Korea had evolved lion dance into their own types.

This is one rare chinese mythological beast that could classify as a marine mammal. So i draw it more resemble of a dangerous marine mammal predator.
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