The Long Ma, which literally translates to "dragon-horse," is a legendary divine beast, part dragon, part horse, from the Book of Rites (礼记 lǐ jì). It appears in the story of Fu Xi (伏羲 fú xī) and bestows upon him the gift of the Eight Trigrams (八卦 bā guà). The Long Ma is believed to be a symbol of good fortune and vitality.
The Eight Trigrams and Long Ma
Fu Xi led his people to the Yellow River (黄河 huáng hé) where they lived a simple life, not worrying about (or even aware of) time, hunting when hungry, and drinking when thirsty. However, when times were hard and food was scarce, he couldn't help but pity his children as they suffered from hunger. He longed to find a way to ensure they would never go hungry again.
For the next part of this story, there are two widely accepted versions:
1. Every now and again, a large beast would rise out of the river and fly away, creating huge waves that would harm Fu Xi's people. After a few occurences, Fu Xi decided if it appeared again, he would subdue the beast and make sure it never harmed them again. The next time it rose from the river Fu Xi attacked. They fought in the river for seven days and seven nights until Fu Xi was finally able to overcome the beast. As he held it down he noticed that the beast had the body of a horse, and the head, scales and claws of a dragon. After further inspection he noticed there was a pattern on it's back unlike anything he had ever seen. The beast became known as a Long Ma, and the pattern would become known as a Bagua.