Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Raksasa Island 羅剎島

Here's a story that i picked up to illustrate in comics, i read this story in a Chinese book on mystical creatures and legends. So here is a background story and a rough translation of the story.

A Rakshasa is a demon or unrighteous spirit in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. They are also called man-eaters or cannibals.

The appearance of these demons can vary, long arms, fearful shapes, some were fat, and other was thin, drafts, exceedingly tall. Some had one eye and one ear. Some had the heads of donkey; some had head of horses and elephants. They appear black as soot, with hair yellow as lightning, looking like a thundercloud. Formidable tusks, flaming hair and insatiable hunger. Usually live in forests, catching animals and eating them.

A female Rakshasa is called a rakshasi, and they can disguise as beautiful woman. Both male and females are shape shifters, illusionists, and magicians.

So the story goes, there were 500 merchants went to sea, they encountered a huge storm and their ship sank to the bottom of the sea. All of the 500 merchants swam to an island near by. And that island is actually Rakshasi lived, those demons disguised as beautiful women, who wore beautiful clothes and jewelry, they bathed in scented water. Once the demons found out that there were visitors, they all rushed to the shore and greeted the 500 surviving merchants. With their sweet words, seduction, and even requested to marry the merchants and have family with them. The merchants couldn’t resist the offer and seduction the rakshasi brought them into their city of coz the merchant doesn’t know what kind of stuff are they getting into.

The city was filled with beautiful architectures, lots of amazing scenery. But the women told the men not to approach the south of the island and apparently that area is cursed. A curious merchant begins to question. So he took off to the south in the middle of the night, when his demon wife was asleep. On his way to the south he heard moaning and screams, he followed the sound and came upon another city surrounded by high walls. So the merchant climbed onto a tree, which was near the high walls. He saw the city was filled corpses, and the stench of decomposing flesh got to him. Some of the corpses were not complete, some only had the top half of the body, and some were still alive. One of the men noticed the merchant on the tree and warned him about the women were actually demons. And that is their doing, the dying men explained what happened to them and told the merchant to go back and warn the others and about how to escape from the island.

The method to escape is on every April 15, a huge flying horse will fly above the island, and the merchants took the dying men’s advice and left the island.

「羅剎」是佛教傳入中國後才廣為人知的,最早在《梨俱吠陀》這本書裏就提到了。《梨俱吠陀》寫於佛祖誕生約五百年前,是古印度經典之一,裏面提到的羅剎,梵名是 raksasa,又可譯為羅剎娑,意思就是可畏、速疾鬼、護者。另外還有羅剎女,梵名 raksasi。傳說中羅剎長得很難看,膚色很黑,還紅髮綠眼,相反的羅剎女就美得不得了,還有魅人的魔力。

《佛本行集經》和《出曜經》都提到一個故事,說以前有五百商人出海,遇到風暴,船被吹到羅剎國,地點是楞伽國,亦即今日的錫蘭島。那裏全是美麗動人的羅剎 女,引誘商人結為夫婦,不過卻特別叮嚀不可到城南方去,一個商人起疑,偷偷去看,發現那裏是一座鐵城,城中污穢不湛,遍地死屍,有的被吃了一半,也有被吃 了一半還沒斷氣的,還有瘦得快死的活人。那些活人告訴商人,他們也是因船難而來到此地的商人,和羅剎女生兒育女後,羅剎女就開始吃他們,甚至吃自己的子 女。

Here's the first page of the story i have about 9 pages in total but i'm still working on the pages in the middle.

Pencil on Comic Board

Spring 2008

Ink on Paper

Spring 2008

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