01 Feb 2020

You Learn Something New Every Day

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From Ernest:

The breath of the clam-monsters

In Japan, shinkiro (mirage) was attributed to the breath of giant sea molluscs. When this purple mist bubbled up from the deep, it hung above the water in the form of a spectral island called Horai, complete with palaces and temples. In China, the island was known as Penglai, and 8th-century poet Ch’ien Ch’i declared that any dignitary making the crossing to Japan would spot “the high houses of the clam-monsters bannered with rainbows”.

HT: Vanderleun.

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