With the interview of the Tsrang Label tshirt designer Nadia last week, you might have read that for the denglong tshirt, there were no references apart from a written description and a Yu-Gi-Oh card for what it could look like.
Some of you already know the general meanings of the tshirts, but here is some more detail to the stories that is told on them.
What is a Denglong (as seen on the denglong tshirt)?
They are a mythical Chinese creature that helped emperors tell between good and evil, and also guarded the emperor. They were a symbol of prosperity and sending the will of heaven down to humans, so passing along wisdom and doing what is right.
Why on the tshirt?
I wanted a graphic tshirt that actually symbolised something, rather than the usual snake and eagle stuff that a lot of other brands were doing to try be “oriental” and “far east”.
We say it’s to help the wearer tell between good and the toxic shit, and Wikipedia says “it helps to drive away evil from its master, defend against ill-meaning wishes, takes away bad fortune, gathers and guards money.” Score!
1. Have you noticed all the parts that make up a denglong? The written description is:
horns like a deer, head like a camel, ears like a cat, eyes like a shrimp, mouth like a donkey, hair like a lion, neck like a snake, belly like a Shen, scales like a koi, front paws like an eagle, and rear paws like a tiger.
2. The two lotuses - the denglong is in between two lotus flowers, since the creature apparently lives in the centre of the universe.
What are the Ox-head and Horse-face (as seen on the red tshirt)?
Creatures of the underworld and from the exact opposite of where the denglong comes from, they are the first beings a dead soul encounters upon entering the underworld; in many stories they directly escort the newly dead to the underworld.
I guess because horse and ox guide our (or at least, our ancestors) journeys here, that they would mean something in the underworld too.
Why on the tshirt?
Please note that these are all not religious stories but rather myths and legends. We just think it’s a more interesting twist than a skull and crossbones.
Ox-head and Horse-face are pretty self explanatory for what they look like, but did you notice that they actually have the bodies of men? So they’re not a total creature like a denglong.
Isn’t it funny how the devil and these Chinese mythological creatures both have this trident-pitchfork number. I’m sure there’s some cross-contamination in the stories somewhere.
So support local business and artists and get a tshirt! An accountant told me they’re priced too low so take advantage of my denglong behaviour and follow Nadia on @maiidere on Instagram.