John J. Hartwell
A "Personal Homepage" has to be the ultimate vanity, and I have resisted the temptation up to now. But, it seems I'll be needing some kind of Central Directory to the several sites on divers antiquarian topics I will be putting online. In brief, here you won't find anything much about me, but you will find much of what I am about.
According to ancient Chinese legend, Kwei, the dragon-headed turtle, emerged from the primordial sea and labored 18,000 years to create heaven and earth and all they contain. When he had finished, he passed his spirit on to his turtle descendants, charging them to help mankind pursue truth and wisdom, and giving them the power to bear away our cares.
Turtledragon is also an imaginative manifestation of Xuanwu, the Black Turtle of the North, one of the four divine beasts of ancient Chinese cosmology (the others being Canglong, Cerulean Dragon of the East, Baihu, White Tiger of the West, and Zhuniao, Vermillion Bird of the South). He is the patron of water and of longevity. He is also known as the Dark Warrior, because he is armored and dark in color.
As the Great Turtle bears the Universe on its back, Turtledragon is the bearer of great burdens. He can carry away all human cares, and he also brings to us our greatest treasures. At the entrance to the Ming necropolis (where the thirteen Ming Dynasty Emperors were interred) stands Dragon Turtle Pavillion, the centerpiece of which is the figure of Turtledragon bearing on his back the Tablet of Divine Merit, and the Tablet of Divine Virtue.
When Emperors are just and wise, turtledragon frequents the lakes and rivers of China. But, when Emperors are cruel or foolish, whole eras can go by without an authentic sighting.