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Deciphering "Shan Hai Jing": Where did ancestors of Yan and Huang once live, why did waters of Huang He flow to west?

River direction in Qinghai

The four main rivers that originate in Kunlun Mountains flow in four directions: Yellow River flows south, Chishui flows southeast, ocean water flows southwest, and black water flows west, but none river flowing north. If it is said that source of Yellow River flows to east, then why is it said that it flows to south? It's very hard to check here.

The direction of river in "Three Classics of West"

In addition, it also spoke of a mountain of accumulating stones, where there is a stone gate from which Yellow River flows and then flows to west. In other words, area above Yellow River is an underground river, and it was this record that sparked imagination of people of Han Dynasty. The Yellow River obviously flows to east, so how is "river flows to west" to be explained here? What's more, Mount Jishi is already 2,100 miles west of Mount Kunlun, which is incredible. Even Li Daoyuan, author of Shui Jing Zhu, was puzzled.

Here we need to clarify that Shan Hai Jing was written during Han Dynasty, especially information of Wu Zang Shan Jing mainly came from Han Dynasty. We only need to understand geographical position of concept of Han Dynasty people to understand. Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty once sent Zhang Qian on a mission to western regions. After Zhang Qian returned to Chang'an, he introduced people of Han Dynasty to geographical environment of western regions, so that it was "In west of Hotan, water flows from west to Western Sea, and from east to east. It flows into Yanze Yanze sneaks underground, and south of it is source of river, which is rich in jade. The river flows into China, and there are city walls in Loulan and Gushiyi, which are not far from Yangze.

The people of Han Dynasty believed that Yellow River originated in western regions. This idea quickly proved wrong. The Xishan Jing of Shan Hai Jing contains a lot of Han Dynasty geographical knowledge, so it was clearly influenced by Zhang Qian.

Besides mountains and rivers, Three Classics of West also contains many myths and legends related to Yellow Emperor, Qin Yi, Yingzhao, Houji (the ancestor of Zhou people), Queen Mother of West. (King Mu of Zhou visited this place on his journey to west)), Shaohao (eldest son of Yellow Emperor), Qitong (one of ancestors of Chu people) and Dijiang. And totem here is basically an image of a sheep: "The head of Three Classics of Fanxichi, Mount Chongwu and Mount Ivan... they all have body of a sheep and face of a man."" In fact, this is totem of ancient people Qiang. Qiang is a shepherd in west and forerunner of Yanhuang people.

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