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Sun-Lore in Ancient China : With Reference to the Fu-sang Legend


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Other Title
  • 古代中國における太陽説話 : 特に扶桑傳説について
  • 古代中国における太陽説話--特に扶桑伝説について
  • コダイ チュウゴク ニ オケル タイヨウ セツワ トクニ フソウ デンセツ ニ ツイテ

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Over 2, 000 years ago the Fu-sang legend appeared in Chinese literature in the form of a treelegend, also having some connection with the sun. The authors, tracing the legend back to its original form, make it clear that its original form must have been a pure sun-legend. The Jo-mu (若木) which was identified with the Fu-sang means a sun-tree, the sound of 若 (^*njiak) being that of 日 (^*njiet), "sun", and both Jo-mu and Fu-sang are associated with the legend of "Ten Suns." As the character of "sang" (桑)="mulberry" in Fu-sang resembles that of "jo" (若=〓) in Jo-mu, there has been a misreading since the Chou period. But 扶桑=扶〓=扶若=扶日 seems to have been the proper series, and the last of the series 扶日 (Fu-jih) is identical with the Fu-jih (拂日 "striking the sun") which is seen in old Chinese documents combined with the Jo-mu (若木). Furthermore, as we have the legend of the Pi-jih (〓日 "shooting the sun") in which the archer I (〓) shot nine suns down out of the ten, the Pih-jih ("shooting the sun") must have been the original meaning of the word Fu-sang (扶桑) which can be identified with the Fu-jih (拂日 "striking the sun"). We find examples of such a rite of invigoration as "helping the sun" in the eclipse or shooting for the same purpose wang shih (枉矢)=huang shih (黄矢), fire-arrow, at the sun not only in the old Chinese documents, but also in modern ethnological literature. The Shantung peninsula was the principal field of activities of I, the hero of the legend of "Ten Suns." The legend itself seems to have derived from the institution of "Ten Days" which was prevalent among the Tung-i (東夷) in Shantung. The authors assume that the Fu-sang legend was first formed among this people and then transmitted southward by the migration of the Ch'u (楚) tribe belonging to the Tung-i. According to Chinese legends, there is the Hsiliu (細柳 "slender willow") in the west where the sun sets, in contrast to the Fu-sang in the east where the sun rises. The epithet hsi ("slender") being added only from the association with the meaning "willow" which the character liu has, the real meaning of the Hsi-liu must lie in the sound liu. While the place where the sun rises in the east is called T'ang-ku (湯谷), the place where the sun sets in the west is called Liu-ku (柳谷). Liu-ku is called also Mei-ku (昧谷), Meng-ku (蒙谷), Meng-ssu (蒙〓), etc. As the liu here is demonstrated to be mei (昧)=meng (蒙)=an (暗)=yin (陰), meaning "dark, " the Liu-ku must be Mei-ku=Meng-ku=Meng-ssu=An-ssu (暗〓)=Yin-ssu (陰〓), "the valley wherein the sun sets, " opposite to the T'ang-ku (湯谷)=Yang-ku (陽谷), "the valley from where the sun rises." Therefore, the proper meaning of such a name as Yen-tsu (〓〓) where the sun sets, which has been a riddle to sinologists, is Yin-ssu (陰〓), the valley wherein the sun sets. The Hsien-ch'ih (咸池) and Kan-yuan (甘淵), in which the sun is said to bathe, are also respectively nothing else than the An-ch'ih (暗池)=Yin-ch'ih (陰池), "the pond in which the sun sets, " and An-yuan (暗淵), "the deep in which the sun sets."



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