Lesson Plan 2 – Pre-Xia Dynasty Mythical Figures
- 5000-3000 BC – Neolithic-age tribes of hunter-gatherers settle near the Yellow River calling themselves the Yangshao.
- The Yangshao evolve into the Longshan Culture and create a patriarchal organization.
- Bangu (Pan-Ku) is a Chinese god-figure who separated heaven from earth. Bangu had four assistants:
- Bangu creates the Adam-like figure, Nuwa, for the purpose of flood control. Nuwa in Chinese sounds very much like Noah in the Bible, but was created hundreds of years before the Bible was written. There is a very good chance that Noah and the flood myth of the Bible were borrowed much later by the writers of the Bible.
- Why do you think the Yangshao and the Longshan developed patriarchal societies?
- How is the Chinese explanation of the creation similar to other religions and cultures?
- Why are mythic figures important to any society?
- Why would Nuwa and Noah cause one to think of cultural comparisons about flood myths?
Additional Internet Research Links For This Lesson:
Augmentations for Lesson Two
- According to Cheng Te’Kun, author of “Archaeology in China “, there lived a Chuan Hsueh, the second ruler of a mythical era. Chuan Hsueh vanquished Kung Kung and Kung Kung then dashed his head against heaven and tilted the sky. Nuwa mended the sky. This myth is verified by a Western sinologist, William Watson in his “Early Civilization in China “.
- Fun Fact: Many Chinese have up to eight different names.
- Milk Name – First Name (Ju-Ming)
- Book Name – Primary school name (Shu-Ming)
- Grad Name – Primary graduation name (Kuan-Li)
- Fancy Name – Name of honor (Hao)
- Courtesy Name – Name of deference (Tzu)
- Location Name – Name of physical origin
- Talent Name – Name for various talents
- Posthumous Name – Name for honors after death
- Problems of Historiography
- Confusion of names – Names in ancient characters or pictographs are difficult to translate accurately.
- Difficulty of Research – Access to ancient materials are not readily available either inside or outside of mainland China .
- Inaccuracies – Many Intentional and unintentional have occurred historically in China due to philosophical differences between Neo-Confucianists and Taoists. Some, but not many inaccuracies, have been caused by Buddhist revisionism.
- Over-simplification – Many Western (and some Eastern) sinologists have over-simplified some of the research done on ancient Chinese civilizations (such as lumping Shang and Xia artifacts together and assigning them all with the identification of the Shang).
- Objectivity – Some Western sinologists are limited by their closed views on ancient Chinese history, simply calling anything they are unable to research properly a “myth”.
- Related Fields – Very loose or non-existent cooperation between the various disciplines for the purpose of researching ancient Chinese history has retarded research in this area. This is probably done more by omission than by a “conspiracy”.
- Established Patterns – Once one is able to permeate through the previously mentioned problems, one must try to establish a set of patterns in order to pursue research into an an ancient Chinese civilization.