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Stratum plus. 2005-2009. №4

A. A. Romanchuk, E. B. Panteleeva (Kishinev, Moldova)

Ancient Chinese myth about Archer Yi: Chu or Zhou?

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Pages: 431-445

This study is devoted to a problem of occurrence in the Chinese mythology of one of its central characters – Archer Yi. On the basis of the detailed analysis of accounts about Archer Yi in Chinese sources the authors come to conclusion that the myth about Archer Yi has its origin from Chu’s tradition, i.e, from the believes of ancient people of Southern China. Then we took in consideration some “outside of China parallels” of myth about Archer Yi shooting ten suns. Having mapped different variants of myths of “many suns” and “shooting of suns” we find that the nidus of the widest variety of this mythological complex is situated in the northern part of South-East Asia. So, we suggest that here was the centre of genesis of these cycles of myths for Eurasia and Northern and Southern America. The earliest variant was the myth “sun eats its children” which was brought to South-East Asia by first migrants from Africa. The Chinese variant is the most narrow spread variant and has the closest parallels in mythology of Meo people from South-West China. The ancestors of Meo people contributed to genesis of Chu tradition.

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