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What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

1. Legends of "Ten Suns" and Howie.

There are several records of Hou Yi shooting at sun in Shan Hai Jing, but they are almost non-existent in current version. Cheng Xuanying of Tang Dynasty said in Shan Hai Jing Qiu Shui, "Yi shot for nine days and fell into Wo Jiao." The Valley of Luxurious Flowers of Song Dynasty quotes Shan Hai Jing: “During time of Yao, it came out in ten days, and Yao forced Yi to shoot after ten days, and it hit wolves. " During Western Han Dynasty, people enriched legend that Yi shoots at nine suns. His "Huainanzi" reads:

When Yao was captured, he came out ten days later, burning grain and killing grass and trees, and people had nothing to eat. Jiao Jiao, Chisel Teeth, Jiuying, Dafeng, Fengxun and Snake Repair are harmful to humans. Yao sent Yi Zhu to grind his teeth in Zhouhua field, kill nine babies in furious water, defy strong wind in Qingqiu swamps, shoot up for ten days, and then kill Jiao Jiao, cut off snake in Dongting. and captured Feng Xi Yu Sangling.

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

And shot nine suns - this is a myth and a legend, story itself is a lie. However, story contains some historical, cultural and ethnic information that can be obtained by digging deeper. There are two main clues in this story, one is Yi and other is Shiri.

And here is a character from Yao period and leader of a certain Dongyi tribe. The Dongyi are a people who are very good at archery. "Shuowen Jiezi" explains "Yi" in this way: "Ping Ye. From large to bow. People from East. Carved with fat." The word is like a person bowing. Di Jun is a famous leader of Dongyi tribe. It is said that Di Jun was ancestor of people of Shang Dynasty. During Xia Dynasty, another Yi appeared, called "Hou Yi". Once he seized throne of Xia Dynasty, and Chang'e was his wife. During Xia Dynasty, king was called "Hou", so he was called "Hou Yi". But these two Yi do not belong to same era. Maybe Yi is name of a tribe, or maybe chief of tribe is called "Yi".

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Qingzhou Dongyi Cultural Symbols Park

In ancient China, there has always been a legend about ten days. "Zuo Zhuan" says: "The sky has ten days, and people have ten classes." The ancient book Bamboo Book Chronicles mentions that ten suns appeared together at end of Xia Dynasty above a tree. The Foreign Oriental Classic says that "there is Fusang on Tanggu, which bathes for ten days, and it is in north of Heizhi." Its leaves are similar to mustard. There is a valley called Wenyuan Valley. on Tanggu, which comes and goes every day, they are all written in Wu.” "Shan Hai Jing" in "Dongshan Jing" and "Hainey Dongjing", "Foreign Oriental Classic", "Dahuang Oriental Classic" all record geography and ethnic distribution of Shandong Peninsula. It can be seen that legend of "Ten Days" is associated with Dongyi people in Shandong.

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship
2. Sun worship and bird totems of Dongyi people

The Dongyi people consider birds totems, and a large number of bird-shaped cultural relics have been found at Hemudu site, such as carvings of two birds facing sun, ivory bird carvings, and round carvings. wooden birds. According to legend of Shang Dynasty, his ancestor was a mysterious bird. "Song Book Shang Song": "The mysterious heavenly bird descended to give birth to Shang." The ancestors of Qin people are also Dongyi people, and they also have similar legends. The Historical Records of Qin Benji says: “An ancestor of Qin, a descendant of Emperor Zhuanxu, his grandson is called Nuxu. In other words, having children is a great thing.” It is said that Shaohao, leader of Dongyi, "disciplines officials with help of birds", and "Zuo Zhuan" writes:

My great-grandfather, Shao Haozhi, was founded, and phoenix and bird arrived, so he learned from bird, and he was named after teacher of birds. Fengniaoshi, Lizheng also. Xuanniao family is also responsible for division, Bo Zhao family is also responsible for Zhizhi, Qingniao family is also responsible for enlightenment; What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Black bird

It is still unclear why Dongyi people use birds as their totems. There is a saying that in primitive society, when people saw birds carrying burning branches, they believed that fire was brought by birds. There is some truth in this statement: during recent fires in Australia, black kites and brown eagles used burning branches to expand fire in order to catch fleeing animals in a hurry. In West, ancients called this kind of fire-bearing bird "Phoenix", and it is said that it will set itself on fire once every five hundred years, and then be reborn from ashes. In China, it is called "Phoenix" and "Suzaku". "Kongyang Tu" says "Phoenix Fire Essence, Shengdan Point."

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Phoenix patterns and Suzaku patterns on stone reliefs of Han Dynasty

Because bird carries fire, it is associated with sun. The ancients believed that they were fire that sun spread on people as fire of civilization, so ancients believed that there is a divine bird in sun called "Golden Crow". At first, people thought that it had two legs, but later it turned into a three-legged one, which is why it is called "three-legged bird", as evidenced by bipedal Golden Crow found in tomb of Mawangdui Han. "Shan Hai Jing Da Huang Dong Jing" said that "there are buttresses in Tang Valley, and they come and go every other day, and they are all written in Wu" is a record of this kind of legend. Therefore, use of birds as totems by Dongyi people is actually a manifestation of sun worship.

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Gold Foil Bird of Sun God in Jinsha Ruins

There are two famous leaders of Dongyi tribe, Taihao and Shaohao, whose names are associated with sun. Many cultural relics associated with sun worship have been found at Dawenkou site in Shandong, most notable of which is a totem symbol associated with sun. The upper part of symbol is a circle, which should be sun, middle is a flame, lower part is a mountain top or a leaf. It depicts sun rising from east.

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Davenkou's totem symbol

Based on this assumption, so-called "ten days" is most likely name of some tribes of Dongyi people. The Xia dynasty often waged wars with Dongyi people. And Hou Yi's shooting at sun may be reason why Hou Yi united ten Dongyi tribes who worshiped sun. Later, combination of ten suns may be a reflection of ongoing invasion of Xia dynasty by Dongyi people at end of Xia dynasty. However, these are just speculations, and more historical and archaeological evidence is needed to prove what it is.

Third: from sun worship to tree worship.

In 1978, tomb of Marquis Zeng Yi was discovered in Suizhou, Hubei Province, and a tomb was found in a painted suitcase depicting Hou Yi shooting at sun. It has an image of "Hou Yi shooting at sun" painted on it. There are two trees in picture. The tallest tree had eleven branches, each branch had a day, and tree had two crows; lower tree had nine branches, each with a day, and on tree were two beasts, Beast with a human face. Combined with description in Shan Hai Jing, tree must be a hibiscus tree. There is a valley between two trees, which may be legendary "Ganyuan" and "Tanggu". A man is standing in a valley, holding a bow and arrows and shooting at birds. At end of Gaimian Yishe card, there are two double-headed snakes with human faces (probably Fuxi and Nuwa) intertwined in reverse, which is a phenomenon of snake worship in the southern region. The legend shown on this cultural relic may be a fusion of Dongyi and Jingchu totem worship, and later dragon and phoenix worship are an evolution of bird totem and snake totem.

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Based on this, some scholars believe that hibiscus tree may be a tree used by ancients to observe celestial phenomena and predict calendar. The ancients observed migratory activities of birds and movement of sun, and changes in cold and heat had a great relationship, therefore, based on these phenomena, they compiled earliest calendar, which was called "Bird Calendar". In early times, ancients measured changes in solar terms by measuring shadows with sticks, and Fusang is most likely a tree erected to measure shadows. And "shooting at the sun" later turned into a kind of archery competition.

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

Bronze Sanxingdui Divine Bird Tree

Over time, people developed a reverence for such a tree that measures shadows, and worship of tree appeared. Tree worship is rarely mentioned in Chinese cultural circles, but is common in other civilizations. According to ancient Chinese legends, sun rises from Fusang tree and then descends from Ruomu tree in west. Apart from Fusang and Wakagi, there is also a tree called "Jiangmu" which is said to link heaven and world and is called "Heaven's Ladder". “Shan hai jing hai nei jing” contains: “There is a tree with green leaves and purple stems, Xuanhua Huangshi, called Jianmu, one hundred jen without branches, nine scorpions, and under it nine goji berries. In fact, it looks like hemp, and its leaves look like awns. Taihao passed by, Yellow Emperor did it." .

What happened when Hou Yi shot sun? Hidden behind ancient Chinese totem worship

This is where I came up with word "Hua". The real name of Chinese is "Hua" and traditional form is "Hua". Many people believe that word "Hua" comes from a flower. However, Shea Cottage says, "Wood is called flower, and Cotton is called fame." It can be seen that "Hua" may be a picture of a tree at very beginning, and this kind of tree may be a shadow-measuring tree, such as Fusang, Jianmu, or Wakagi, because it is associated with light of sun. , so it has a bright and light meaning. In ancient China, there was a "huabiao" that measured shadow from sun. The earliest huabiao was not a lion, but a bird. In Huainanzi Topographical Teaching, it is written: “Tree buildings are in Duguang, where emperors rise and fall. During day there are no landscapes, and there is no sound when they call, covering sky and earth. Wen Yiduo said, “Standing straight is like building a clock. That's why it's called "Jianmu" and clock measures shadow of sun, that's why it's called "No shade in middle of day." It can be seen that origin of word "Hua" is probably also Jianmu for measuring shadow from sun.

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