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Decoding "Shan Hai Jing": It is said that Queen Mother of West lives under Mount Kunlun. Where is Mount Kunlun?

The Queen Mother of West is an important figure in Chinese myths and legends. In second year of Taikang, Emperor Wu of Western Jin Dynasty (281), a Warring States period tomb was excavated in Jixian County, Henan Province, and a shipment of bamboo boards was unearthed, most important of which was Bamboo Book Chronicle and another an important book is Biography of Mu Tianzi. The "Biography of Mu Tianzi" records legend of Zhou Mu's journey to west during Western Zhou Dynasty. He arrived in area where Xirong operated and held a banquet with Queen Mother of West. So, where is state of Queen Mother of West, to which King Mu of Zhou arrived?

In Shan Hai Jing, Queen Mother of West is written in Xishan Jing · Xi Qi San Jing and Da Huang Xi Jing. In "Deciphering classics of mountains and seas: where did ancestors of Yan and Huang live, why did waters of Yellow River flow west?" “In article, I analyzed three main mountain systems in Xishan Jing, including first Xiqi (Huashan) - Qinling Mountains, second and fourth Xiqi - from Ordos Plateau to Lupan Mountain (Beiluo River), Jinghe and Weihe Rivers), while while mountains on three meridians of West are more general, referring to mountains in Qinghai. This means that Queen Mother of West may live in Qinghai area.

Topographic map of upper reaches of Yellow River

In Shan Hai Jing, geographic information of an aspect is mostly about region. For example, "Xishan Jing", "Dahuangxi Jing", "Overseas Western Jing" and "Hai Nei Western Classical" actually refer to geographic information and legends of northwestern region. "Xishan Jing" mainly describes mountains and rivers, while while others mainly record legends and tribes. Each location has its own focus. Information about Queen Mother of West is recorded in Xishan Jing as follows:

"Three hundred and fifty miles to northwest, it is called Yushan and is residence of Queen Mother of West. The Queen Mother of West is human-like, with a leopard tail and tiger teeth. , howls well, fluffy hair and a headband. ——" Shan Hai Jing Xi Shan Jing"

Mount Yushan is located 1120 miles west of Mount Kunlun and 780 miles east of Mount Jishi in Xishan Jing. During Qin and Han dynasties, one mile was about 415 meters, that is, it was about 900 kilometers west of Mount Kunlun and 323 miles from Mount Jishi. The people of Han Dynasty believed that Yellow River originated in Kunlun Mountains, then flowed through underground rivers into Jishi Mountains in western regions, then flowed out and flowed into Lop Nur, and then flowed into Yellow River in Gansu. According to this information, Queen Mother of West should be located in northern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The theory of heavy source of Yellow River

The Dahuangjing says: “In south of Western Sea, on coast of quicksand, beyond Chishui and in front of Heishui, there is a large mountain called Kunlun Hill. It has a god, a human face and a tiger's body, with writing and a tail, They are all white, put them there.He is surrounded by a deep abyss of weak water below, and outside a mountain of flame where you throw everything. There is a man with a hoopoe, tiger teeth and a leopard tail. He is called Queen Mother of West. This mountain has everything."

According to Da Huang Xi Jing, Queen Mother of West lives at foot of Kunlun Mountain, surrounded by weak water, and outside weak water is a volcano. Indeed, there are volcanoes in Kunlun and Qilian Mountains in northern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, but all Qilian Mountains are extinct volcanoes, and throwing objects at them has no effect. Ashkule Volcano in Kunlun Mountains is only active volcano in China, located about 120 km south of Yutian County in Xinjiang. Yutian is ancient Khotan. The people of Han Dynasty believed that Yellow River originated from Khotan, so Kunlun Mountains in "Shan Hai Jing" are located in this area.

Location of Ashkule Volcano

If this statement is correct, then King Mu of Zhou traveled farthest to southwest of western regions. Let's look at route entries in Mu Tianzi's Biography. “From Zongzhou, King Mu crossed Zhangshui River, crossed dangerous road of Yi Mountain, followed Huto River in north, reached Quanrong, crossed Guanyu Kun, and reached Yangyu Mountain. Stay in Kunlun, sun Chishui, climb Mount Chong, benefit from Yangshui, follow Heishui, Mount Qunyu, pass Xuanchi, Kushan, and finally reach state of Queen Mother of West.

According to textual studies of Liu Shipei, Gu Shi, Ding Qian, Wei Jiuxian and other scholars, King Mu of Zhou set out from Luoyang, crossed Huang He and Zhang, crossed Mount Taihang, Huto River, and then left Yanmen Pass, passed through mountain Yinshan and Hetao Plain, Yinchuan Plain, advanced along Huang He, reached Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, then entered Tarim Basin, and finally reached State of Queen Mother of West. This journey is 35,000 miles in total and one way distance is about 17,000 miles which is 7,000 kilometers. We made a simple measurement on Baidu map. This route is about 4,600 kilometers. Considering that King Mu of Zhou cannot walk in a straight line, 7,000 kilometers is also trustworthy.

Based on information above, King Mu of Zhou may have reached southern part of Tarim Basin during his journey to west. Hotan is actually an ancient country founded by ancient Qiang people, and Huaxia is also a descendant of ancient Qiang people. Residents of dozens of countries in Western regions have deep eyes and high noses, that is, European race, and only Khotanese belong to yellow race. In "Northern History of Hotan Biography" it is written: "From west of Gaochang, people from different countries have deep eyes and high noses. But this country is not very ugly, and it is very similar to China."

To east of Khotan there are several tribes called "raoqiang" who are also ancient qiang tribes. That is, ancient Qiang people originally lived in Qinghai region, one of them migrated east, entered Wei River and Yellow River basin and created an agricultural civilization, while those who remained in Qinghai and Gansu regions remained. at nomadic stage and were still called "Qiang". In addition, part of ancient qiang crossed Kunlun mountains and penetrated into southern part of Tarim Basin. It can be seen that range of activity of ancient qiang was very wide.

Hotan is located in southern part of Western Regions

The "Shan Hai Jing Xishan Jing" has this sentence: "The first of three Western classics, Mount Chongwu and Mount Ivan... they all have body of a sheep and face of a man.< " sheep and a human face here are totem symbols of ancient Qiang people. The Shuowen Jiezi says: "shepherds Qiang, Siluoqiang and Zhong< /strong>." The addition of a female character next to him shows that tribe is still at stage of a matrilineal clan, and its leader is naturally queen.

In addition to King Mu of Zhou, Yellow Emperor also seems to have arrived in Western Nwgo region. The book "Liezi" says that Yellow Emperor once visited country of Huaxu family in a dream, and she was still in a state without a class and without a monarch in primitive society. The Huaksu family here is mother tribe of Emperors Yang and Huangdi. The original work "Shiben" records that "Xi Shaodian married Yuxu clan, gave birth to Huangdi and Yandi and his great-grandmother to Huaxu clan." they are relatively close. Hua Huasu later became origin of Huaxia family name.

Summing up, I can draw a general conclusion. The ancient Qiang people lived in northern part of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which is home to Yangtze, Huang He, Lancang, Minjiang, Heihe, and Tarim rivers. The ancient Qiang people called local mountains “Kunlun Mountains”, so Kunlun Mountains in Shan Hai Jing are not one mountain, but a series of mountains. After ancient Qiang moved north into Tarim Basin, they also brought some Qinghai place names here.

In terms of extent of mountains, Bayan Khar Mountains are also part of Kunlun Mountains

When Zhang Qian was on a mission to western regions, local people of Khotan told Zhang Qian that "river" originated from Mount Kunming in southern Khotan and then flowed to Lop Nur. Zhang Qian believed this was true and brought this important geographic information to Central Plains. People in Central Plains were puzzled, so they said that Yellow River flowed into Gansu from underground. This was "heavy source" theory. Yellow River" in Han Dynasty.

In this way, many doubts about "Shan Hai Jing" will be resolved. The Shan Hai Jing also mentions that place where Queen Mother Tixi lives is "surrounded by an abyss of weak water." Weak water is not name of a river, because in ancient times, rivers that cannot be navigated by boats were called weak water, which means that volume of water is small or turbulent. In Shan Hai Jing, there are records of weak water all over place, which shows that this is not a specific name for river. Khotan is located in north of Kunlun Mountains, where two sources of Tarim Basin originate and converge at site of ancient Khotan. Two rivers surround Khotan, which is "surrounded by an abyss of weak water."

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