Dog

CatholicSaints

Marysville, United States

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Dogs are an important motif in Chinese mythology.

These motifs often include a particular dog which accompanies a hero’

the dog as one of the twelve totem creatures for which years are named,

a dog giving first provision of grain which allowed current agriculture,

and claims of having a magical dog as an original ancestor in the case of certain ethnic groups.

Fifty-six ethnic groups are officially recognized by the current administration of China.

Many have unique myths pertaining to many animals, but dogs in particular.

Like most if not all Chinese myths, an “Official” and a Traditional version exist.

Historical accounts and anecdotes about dogs from ancient China exist in extant literary works, for example in the Shiji, by Sima Qian.

Archeological study study provides substantial backing and supplemental knowledge in this regard.

Wolfram Eberhard points out that compared to other cultures it is "striking " that Chinese literature rarely has given names for dogs.

This means that in the context of Chinese mythology, often a dog will play an important role, but that it will not be given a proper name, but rather being referred to as “dog”.

As Chinese grammar does not require the use of definite or indefinite articles or marking for singular or plural number, there may be ambiguity regarding whether the reference to dog means “Dog” (proper name), “dogs”, “a dog”, “the dog”, “some dogs”, or “the dogs”.

The Dog statue is one of the 12 Chinese Zodiacal creatures portrayed in the Kowloon Walled City Park in Kowloon City, Hong Kong.

For thousands of years, a twelve-year cycle named after various real or mythological animals has been used in Southeast Asia.

This twelve-year cycle, sometimes referred to as the “Chinese zodiac,” associates each year in turn with a certain creature, in a fixed order of twelve animals, after which it returns to the first in the order, the Rat.

The eleventh in the cycle is the Dog.

One account is that the order of the beings-of-the-year is due to their order in a racing contest involving swimming across a river, in the so-called Great Race.

The reason for the Dog finishing the race second from last despite generally being a talented swimmer is explained as being due to its playful nature: the Dog played and frolicked along the way, thus delaying completing the course and reaching the finishing line.

The Hour of the Dog is 7 to 9 p.m., and the Dog is associated with the ninth lunar month.

There are various myths and legends in which various ethnic groups claimed or were claimed to have had a divine dog as a forebear, one of these is the story of Panhu.

The legendary Chinese sovereign Di Ku has been said to have a dog named Panhu.

Panhu helped him win a war by killing the enemy general and bringing him his head and ended up with marriage to the emperor’s daughter as a reward.

The dog carried his bride to the mountainous region of the south, where they produced numerous progeny.

Because of their self-identification as descendents from these original ancestors, Panhu has been worshiped by the Yao people and the She people, often as King Pan, and the eating of dog meat is taboo.

This ancestral myth is also has been found among the Miao people and Li people.(Yang 2005: 100 and 180)

An early documentary source for the Pan-hu origin myth is by the Jin dynasty (265-420) author Gan Bao, who records this origin myth for a southern (that is, south of the Yangzi River) ethnic group which he refers to as “Man” (蠻).

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