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History is a science: it is a product of observation, not imagination; in order for the observation to be accurate, authentic documentation is needed. — F. de Coulanges

Cognitive problems bring us to this analysis. Somehow, Alan Stirling interpreted a comment made about his recognition of the year when Black Sect Feng Shui was invented and imported to the U.S. as a commentary on the entirety of his site. He stresses that his school teaches traditional feng shui and he dared FSUR to find the errors in articles on this site (one of the three that were found).

Here is the most fascinating of the articles (the rest are garden-variety crank, as are the bizarre devices offered for sale).

Don’t step in the geopathic stress, but do look at the “optical device” more accurate than GPS!

What He Claims Reality Check
Our current cycle of human evolution began almost 6000 years ago in Sumeria (Iraq) with an incredibly advanced civilization as modern day archeologists are now discovering. It is inauspicious to begin an article with an oxymoron such as “cycle of human evolution.” You know things won’t improve.The term human evolution refers only to phylogeny (Stirling failed to consult a dictionary). Perhaps what he really wants to say is cultural development.”Almost 6000 years ago” (4000 BCE) falls within the Chalcolithic (or Eneolithic) in Mesopotamia, which is currently the countries of Iraq and northeastern Syria.

Notice it’s Mesopotamia, because Sumerian was a language and Sumer was a culture. Sumerian disappeared as an official language during the Agadian (Akkadian) period (2371-2230 BCE).

“Almost 6000 years ago” coincides with the building of a very simple temple at Tepe Gawra (Notice to archaeology wonks: I’m using the Middle Chronology). Ubaid culture evolved into the Warka (Uruk) culture; Warka culture provided the earliest sample of writing in Mesopotamia.

Tell Brak was the big city — it predates the more famous population centers of Stirling’s fantasies. Built by immigrants from everywhere, it grew inwards instead of expanding like the stereotypical city. It also was the scene of some large-scale fighting, based on the discovery of at least two mass graves.

About 5500 years ago (3500 BCE) Sumerian-speaking people came out of the hills, settled along the Euphrates River, and built a large temple of mud brick at Eridu. Almost 5000 years ago (about 3000 BCE) Sumerian-speaking people added to existing structures to create monumental architecture (such as the White Temple in Kullaba and the temple at Eanna). They also began establishing city-states and urban areas.

However, as the introduction to Brian Fagan’s The Long Summer explains,

Once a great city in one of the world’s earliest civilizations, [Ur] first thrived thanks to abundant rainfall and then suffered even more severely when the Indian Ocean monsoons shifted southward, changing rain patterns. By 2000 B.C. its agricultural economy had collapsed, and today it is an abandoned landscape, an assemblage of decaying shrines in the harshest of deserts.

Fagan views this event as pivotal. “It was,” he writes, “the first time an entire city disintegrated in the face of environmental catastrophe.”

The boundary of the cultures of Sumer and Agade, according to the Sumerian king-list, consisted of the area south of modern Baghdad defined by the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Persian Gulf. Influence of these cultures extended to Ebla in the west, Nineveh in the north, and Susa (in Elam) in the east.

Unu (what Agadians called Uruk) was the largest of the urban areas in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE, a total of 5.5 km2.

Let’s see how the Sumerian culture at 3000 BCE compares with other parts of the world:

Africa

  • Badari had been an astronomical observatory for more than 2000 years.
  • Merimde thrived as a populous city nearly 2000 years earlier.
  • People of Maadi had been mining copper in the Sinai Hills and trading with countries far to the east for more than 500 years.
  • Nekhen had been a holy city for several thousand years.
  • The Third Dynasty (the beginning of the Old Kingdom) assumed the rule of Egypt. Writing appears in Egypt and Mesopotamia at about the same time (2900 BCE for Mesopotamia, a little earlier for Egypt, where it was an instrument of rule around 3000 BCE).

Mesopotamia and neighboring areas

  • Trade routes brought metals and amber from what is now Romania, and other goods from Afghanistan, Iran, and Egypt.
  • Proto-Elamite cultures in western Mesopotamia (present-day Khuzistan in Iran) had been working with the sexagesimal (base 60) system for at least a century. Their language and mathematics, and their documents, influenced the Sumerians.
  • Jericho, Netiv Hagdud, and Gilgal had been occupied for more than 6,000 years.
  • City-states such as Arad were using town planning and municipal administration, and increasing the size of their trading networks.

China

  • A town site of Lingjiatan culture (Hanshan, Anhui Province) covered a total area of 1.6 km2 five hundred years before Uruk reached its greatest size. The same site yielded a jade plaque with astronomical markings; some influential scholars link the artifact with the Luopan and feng shui.
  • Yangshao and and its contemporary cultures in northern China had been performing astronomical observations more than 1000 years. Some of the typical observations, including artistic representations of sunspots, were added to the fine pottery that characterizes the Yangshao culture.
  • Mosaics of the constellations of Dragon and Tiger were laid into the floor of the tomb of a six-foot-tall chieftain at Puyang (also part of Yangshao culture) 1000 years earlier.
  • Number glyphs written 400 years previously at Banpocun formed the basis for later number symbols in Chinese.
  • The earliest samples of writing in China, found at Jiahu in Henan, predate writing in Mesopotamia by more than 2000 years.
  • The earliest use of numbers 1 through 9 for divination occurred a thousand years earlier.
  • Rammed-earth walls (hangdu) had been used in construction for at least 2000 years.
  • Dongshanzui people created round and square altars (like the Temple of Heaven complex) at least 1500 years earlier.
  • Hongshan urban centers included vast religious complexes and tombs.

Indus Valley

  • Mehrgarh had been occupied for a few thousand years.
  • The Early Harappan cities such as Dholavira were giving way to the great urban centers of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.

Anatolia

  • Catal Huyuk had been occupied for more than 3000 years.

Europe

  • Gavrinis had been receiving the dead for 500 years.
  • Newgrange had been in use for at least 500 years.
  • The first phase of Stonehenge was under construction.
  • The vast astronomical system at Carnac was under construction.
  • Trade routes ferried goods between what is now Spain and Afghanistan, Romania, Africa, and southwest Asia.

Anatolia

  • Troy (Hissarlik) was beginning its long history as a maritime trading center. (Interestingly, white jade objects from China were found in the earliest levels of the city.)

Eastern Europe

  • Metallurgists of the Boian culture had been creating heavy copper axes in open moulds for more than a thousand years.
  • Beginning more than 2000 years earlier, the settlements of Vinca culture consisted of rows of houses separated by straight streets.
  • An illustration of a ship with sails served as decoration on a pot made by a member of Butmir culture 1000 years earlier.
  • Goods from Africa, southwest Asia, Afghanistan, and Spain moved along trade routes; the middlemen were in southwest Asia.

Malta

  • The Ggantija temple had been standing for more than 500 years.
  • Hagar Qim had been standing for two or three hundred years.
Following a climatic disorder of literally epic proportions an exodus ensued. This led to the establishment of advanced civilizations in various parts of the world, such as India, South America, and of course China. Notice the subtle racist theme in these sentences: advanced (white) people left western Asia and “established” their allegedly advanced culture in the sovereign lands of other nations — never mind that these nations consisted of people whose skin was a different color and (if you read Stirling’s words carefully) who were considered spiritually, morally, and intellectually inferior by the invaders.Alas, the DNA evidence and archeological evidence shows that people moved out of Africa to Central Asia. From there they moved west. DNA evidence shows people from Eastern Europe settled Western Europe — something Marija Gimbutas suggested was in the archeological evidence.Consider what Anthony Aveni has to say about ideas like Stirling’s:

I think there is, beneath all this dialogue about diffusionism, a will to believe in bizarre ideas. This is a romantic idea that we’re talking about here, after all. These are bizarre tales of an imagined era in an imagined past. And like the occult beliefs they resemble, they’re really just wishful thinking. It’s a belief that we can wish into existence the universe we desire and deserve.

Stirling wants you to believe that India, China, and South America suffered two colonizations: one from superior western Asians, and another from superior Europeans.

It is all false. In fact, researchers studying human parasites show that the old “diffusionist” ideas are largely wishful thinking by people clinging to 19th-century colonialism.


Colonial types typically view indigenous people as darker-skinned inferiors deserving of their rule (remember Kipling’s comment about the “white man’s burden”). It’s typical racist thinking to view indigenous people as incapable of “advanced civilization.”

Stirling doesn’t know the punch line: Elamites gave the Sumerians a writing system and the sexagesimal system!


Known as “Ethiopians” to ancient Greeks because of their dark skin, Elamites were Dravidian-speaking peoples who shared the language and culture of the Indus Valley. Meluhha is the word in Mesopotamian texts that identifies the homeland of dark-complexioned people (natives of Harappan culture).

Elam stretched from what is now Iran to what is now northern India. That is why so many merchants and products from the Indus civilizations were in Mesopotamia, and why Mesopotamian goods have been found in the remains of Harappan cities.

And so much for the climate theory

Bishop Ussher calculated that the flood endured by Noah, his family and the animals occurred around 2349 BCE. However, Mesopotamia suffered no “climatic disorder of literally epic proportions.”

Climatologists agree that relatively minor fluctuations occurred but no significant changes in the climate can be found over the past 7,500 years in the Near East and in Mesopotamia.

After the Younger Dryas (12,000 years ago) another cold snap occurred (around 6200 BCE), which dried out Mesopotamia. Archaeology shows that most people living there moved away because of the long drought. (Some moved as far away as Karakorum.) Apparently people did not resettle Mesopotamia until several centuries after the rains returned around 5800 BCE.

There may have been another prolonged drought around 2300 BCE, part of a global climatic change that coincided with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The climatic change apparently peaked around 2200 BCE and continued another two centuries.

What evidence exists for disruption in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE coincides with invasions by the Amorites and Hurrians, not natural disasters.
Every known natural (or unnatural) disaster of the Mesolithic and Neolithic happened at a time that doesn’t match Stirling’s story:

  • The flooding by the Mediterranean of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara through the Straits of Bosphorus — the alleged Flood of Noah (whose name, coincidentally, means flood), apparently occurred in 5600 BCE.
  • The “cities of the plain” — Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoar, Admah, and Zeboiim, located on the southeastern side of the Dead Sea — were destroyed in 2350 BCE, apparently by a combination of earthquakes, volcanic fallout, and (possibly) a meteor shower.
  • The eruption of Thera (linked with many myths including Atlantis, several floods, and the biblical Exodus) didn’t occur until 1628 BCE.
  • The third eruption of the Icelandic volcano Hekla, which depopulated northwest Britain, didn’t occur until 1159 BCE. Hekla 4, around 2300 BCE (generally considered 2310 ±20 BCE) apparently influenced the climatic problems of the Middle East.

Sorry, no floods and no exodus, either

When Ur was just a village in a marsh during the early Ubaid period, its remains were covered by roughly three meters of clean silt laid down by water. Excavator C. Leonard Woolley in 1929 thought this was evidence of the biblical Flood. However, flood records at other Mesopotamian sites (including Ubaid, four miles from Ur) do not occur at the same place in the archeological sequence, which would be the case if the flood occurred simultaneously throughout Mesopotamia. It seems that the Euphrates had overflowed its banks at Ur, nothing more.

There wasn’t any “exodus” of people: in fact, regional surveys made by archaeologists show that people living in the immediate area around Uruk abandoned their homes and moved inside the city walls. Around 2900 BCE, Uruk was at the height of its glory, the largest city in Mesopotamia; it covered 400 hectares.

Ur grew larger and wealthier from approximately 3000 BCE to 2500 BCE.

There’s no evidence of movement from Mesopotamia to India — actually the opposite occurred. From records in Sumer and Agade we know that substantial numbers of traders native to the Indus Valley came to live in Mesopotamia.

There’s no evidence of movement from Mesopotamia to China. At the time, it seems the population was from eastern Asia. For example, Yong Fu performed a dental and cranial study on 13 members of the Neolithic population of Jiangzhai (middle Shaanxi and Anyang in Henan) and found all were genetically Sinodont groupings.

There is evidence of Chinese goods moving westward. As previously mentioned, Chinese-manufactured objects of white jade have been found at the earliest levels of Troy. Chinese garments made of silk have been found in northern Bactrian graves at Sapalli-tepe, dated to roughly 2000 BCE. Several other sites in Russian Central Asia include Chinese silks buried more than 3600 years ago. Halstatt (Celtic) graves of the first millennium BCE contained silks; so have Athenian graves of the same period.

There’s no evidence of movement from Mesopotamia to South America, and the DNA evidence of Australian aborigines settling among the First Peoples squashes many of the myths circulating about early settlers from the Old World.

The Wandering Tribes

Feng shui history begins with The Wandering Tribes that colonized the area now known as China. Their knowledge allowed them to establish an incredibly advanced civilization alongside the indigenous tribes of the Yangshao and the Lungshan. Part of this knowledge is still used today and it is called Traditional Feng Shui.

Such bovine excrementalizing!

Feng shui history begins with Yangshao culture, which was going strong when Mesopotamian tribes were still coming out of the hills.

There’s simply no documentary or archeological evidence for any so-called wandering tribes colonizing China. To the contrary: everyone in the area including the Banpo people (part of the Yangshao cultural horizon) built right on top of the previous settlements. Archaeology Xiaoneng Yang insists that “there is sufficient similarity … to suggest a degree of continuity …” (p. 54)


Out of the 10,000-plus archaeological sites in China, which ones are attributed to these alleged wanderers? When and where did they arrive? How did they get there and by what routes? What name is assigned by archaeologists to this culture?


Stirling might have been confused by the Oxus civilization, which had “refugees” from drought-plagued Mesopotamia. But they were in Margiana (parts of what are now Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Turkestan); they were not colonizing China. According to DNA evidence they moved west, not east.

Traditional Feng Shui mixes building with astronomy

David Pankenier notes in “The Cosmo-Political Background of Heaven’s Mandate” (1995) that early Yangshao houses at Banpo were oriented to catch the midafternoon winter sun at its warmest, just after the solstice. (Some tribes in southern China still refer to this month as “House-building Month.”)

Pankenier and his associates performed retrospective computation on the Chinese sky at the time of the Banpo dwellings (3000 BCE) to show that the asterism Yingshi (“Lay out the Hall” in the Warring States period and early Han era) corresponded to the sun’s location at this time. Several hundred years earlier the asterism Yingshi was known as Ding. It was used to mark the time of building of a capital city, according to the Shijing.
The grave at Puyang that contains mosaics of the Dragon and Tiger constellations and Beidou is similarly oriented with cosmological accuracy along a north-south axis. So are Shang cities and tombs. If archaeologists find Zhou tombs they, too, will probably be oriented by astronomy.

The basis of traditional feng shui is a mix of building techniques and astronomy, just as you can infer from a study of San He.

A comparison of facts and Stirling’s timeline

You will need to drink stupid juice, build a Wayback Machine, and obtain a Star Trek transporter and cloaking device to make this quaint story match evidence in the form of archaeology, astronomy, and historical texts.

Yangshao

Stirling’s timeline fails immediately because the Yangshao period began around 5000 BCE and lasted until 3000 BCE. Yangshao predates al-Ubaid and Warka, and the Sumerian culture that developed from Warka.


The term Yangshao refers to a particular style of pottery painting, and the range of dates when the pottery was used defines the Yangshao period or cultural horizon. (Think of Yangshao culture like a way of tagging everyone who owns Blue Willow china.)

Yangshao culture coexisted with

  • Hongshan (c. 4700 to 2920 BCE). This culture identifies an area from the Mongolian steppe to below where the Great Wall now stands, from the west side of the Liao River in Liaoning to northwestern Hubei. Hongshan is considered a phase of Yangshao culture by some experts.
  • A contemporary culture, Fuhe, provided the earliest samples of scapulimancy.
  • Dawenkou (c. 4300 to 2500 BCE). This culture provided the oldest known examples of Chinese writing.
  • Majiayao (c. 3300 to 2050 BCE) and Liangzhu (c. 3300 to 2200 BCE). Liangzhu followed Majiabang and became part of the Shang culture; more on that later.

Considering the size of the territory that identifies Hongshan culture, it’s far more likely that Stirling mistook the well-documented travels of the locals for the movements of outsiders, and misread the variety of Yangshao sites for his “colonists.”

In addition, warfare existed in China from at least the time of Longshan culture; the “wanderers” would have had to fight the indigenous cultures for a place to put their “colonies.” That would leave piles of remains. Archaeologists would find those. (They haven’t.)

People at this time were definitely moving around; there were established trade routes to Bactrian Margiana, and goods from as far as Andronovo reached markets in China. In Neolithic times the Gushi came from the steppes to settle on the edge of what is now China (this is what exites the white supermacists into thinking the Celts conquered China).

Consider how extensively members of Banpo culture traveled: Banpocun (in eastern Shaanxi), Jiangzhai (eastern Shaanxi), and Beishouling (at Baoji in western Shaanxi). Look at the extensive size of Hongshan culture and Yangshao culture.

It’s known from the archeological record that people at Dadiwan (began c. 5000 BCE, Qin’an area of Gansu) and Beishouling kept in close contact. Interestingly, during the Banpo phase the people at Dadiwan built the first known examples of rectangular structures characteristic of traditional Chinese houses.

Longshan

The term Longshan generally denotes the use of undecorated gray pottery (some call this burnished black pottery). Longshan consists of two cultures: Taosi (c. 2500 to 1900 BCE) and Sandong (c. 2500 to 2000 BCE). These cultures overlapped Lower Xiajiadian culture (2400 to 1500 BCE), which overlapped Xia and Shang.

Sandai

Chinese archeologists equate the first two phases at Erlitou and Erligang with the Xia culture. The date of the commencement of Xia rule is traditionally assigned to 2205 BCE. However, as John S. Major reminds us, “there has never been any reason to believe in the authenticity of the traditional chronology.”

…before the Sandai everyone knew astronomy. —Gu Yanwu (1613-1682)

According to studies by David Nivison and Kevin Pang correlating ancient astronomy and documents such as the “present text” Bamboo Annals (Jinben zhushu jinian), the reign of Yu (the first ruler of the Xia) commenced near a five-planet conjunction dated to 26 February 1953 BCE. Yu was acting as king then, and officially assumed rulership in 1914 BCE after the death of the previous ruler in 1917 BCE. Yu reigned until 1907 BCE. Twenty-five months or approximately two years comprise the traditional mourning period for the preceding monarch — which in this case was Shun, who ruled from 1968 to 1960 BCE and 1957 to 1953 BCE.

To rework the calendar Shun is said to have used Xuanji and Yuheng (portions of Ursa Major that served as “pointers”) along with the sun, moon, and five planets. Shun ruled after Yao whose reign, according to the calculations of Xun and Kistemaker, commenced c. 2300 BCE (±250 years). David Nivison calibrated texts to astronomy and says Yao reigned 2026 to 1969 BCE.

The punishment of Xihe by Yu (part of the Books of Xia) concerns a bungling of astronomy: the calendrical marker for a particular date failed to align as expected with the handle of Beidou.

The Mandate of Heaven recognized by the Shang consisted of a planetary event in xiu Wei and Ji (the Western constellations of Scorpio and Sagittarius) on 20 December 1576 BCE. Evidence bases the first year of Shang rule at 1554 BCE. The traditional date for the transfer of the Mandate from Xia to Shang is 1767 BCE.
The Mandate of Heaven acknowledged by the Zhou was a cluster of planets in the constellation of the Red Bird (Zhu Niao, which extended from α Hyades to β Corvus) near Yugui (Cancer), on 28 May 1059 BCE. (Halley’s comet also made an appearance in late 1059.) The Shang were finally defeated at the battle of Muye on 20 March 1046 BCE, according to the Shiji (and calibrated by astronomy).

In 205 BCE a planetary cluster in Gemini/Cancer indicated the transfer of the Mandate of Heaven to Liu Bang and the Han.

Do the math

With Stirling’s timeline you are expected to believe that Chalcolithic (Eneolithic) peoples from western Asia occupied northern sites of Chalcolithic China for more than 2000 years despite

  • a lack of evidence that anyone left their homeland
  • a lack of evidence for an overland route and for evidence of an ocean voyage
  • a lack of evidence for their arrival in China
  • a lack of evidence for their contributions to Chinese civilization

Moreover, these “wandering tribes” conveniently disappear when they are no longer required to hold the story together.

It is believed that tribal leaders were named after their tribes, so Fu Xi was the leader of the animal tribes, Shen Nong the holy farmers and Sui Ren fire starters. From a feng shui perspective, the most important is Fu XI as it was he who is credited with establishing the 8 Trigrams, positioning them in an arrangement known as the Xian Tian or preheaven bagua c. 3300 BC [sic]. “It is believed” — by whom? We aren’t talking belief systems here!In the traditional dating 3322 BCE is the year when Fuxi founded the first kingdom in China; there are no dates attached to his creation of the gua.Recall Major’s remarks about there being no reason to believe the accuracy of the traditional chronology. When you match archaeology, astronomy and texts against Stirling’s “it is believed” story, a very different picture emerges.

Will the real Fuxi please stand up?

Gu Jiegang and the school of Discriminations of Ancient History derided the mythic antiquity of China with its sages, kings, and emperors as Han political propaganda. Scholars know that Yao and Shun’s metamorphosis into sage-emperors began around the late fifth century BCE. Modern archaeology replaced mythical Chinese antiquity with a more realistic picture. The kingdoms and empires of antiquity became what K.C. Chang called “episodic hegemonies” in a land with many concurrent rulers.

Fuxi appears in half of the classical texts that date to the Zhou era, but as a minor character. He apparently began as a clan deity and a vague one at that; what else we know about him is pure literary invention. The Fuxi legend was crafted by writers in the Han era who massaged the Zhou texts. In their hands, Fuxi went from a nobody to being an ancient king (in typical reverse euhemerization) and a celebrated writer who created the “Eight Diagrams” chapter of the Yijing.

Consider other changes orchestrated by the Han writers: Fuxi and Dai Hao were merged (Dai Hao was the ancestor of a tribe from Sichuan). Fuxi acquired a venerable older wife, Nu Gua. (More on her later.)

Hetu and Luoshu

Ban Gu (b. 32 d. 92 CE) in his Hanshu (“Wuxing Zhi”) said that Liu Xin (d. 23 CE) said that Fuxi received the Hetu from Heaven and imitated the diagram to create the symbols or gua.

King Yu was given the Luoshu, which he used to create Hongfan (“The Great Plan,” which was probably written in the late 4th century BCE; it is part of Shangshu, aka the Shujing or Book of Documents). Liu Xin also claims that 65 characters in Hongfan comprise the original Luo Document with the 9 categories.

The Jinshu and Hou Shanshu identify the Hetu as a diagram concerning astronomy. In the Hou Shanshu, the legendary Huangdi (Xuan Yuan) was the first to receive the Hetu, which plotted the sun, moon, planets, and constellations. (More on Huangdi later.)

Embracing the victim

Liu Yanchi notes that Fuxi, also known as Fuxishi, is credited with everything from developing the trigrams to fashioning nine types of acupuncture needles. The term Fuxishi, says Liu, actually identifies a “legendary period of primitive clan society.” The professor places the eponymous era at 4000 BCE (within the Yangshao cultural horizon).

The earliest mention of Fuxi in the Zhou texts is as Baoxi, “Embracing the Victim.” His name has several possible interpretations, which is unusual for Chinese mythological figures. The names identified as variants of Fuxi have meanings related to sacrifice, silence, and hiding. The mythological figure Embracing the Victim is identified in the other Zhou texts as Hidden Play, Roasted Sacrificial Victim, Kitchen Sacrificial Victim, and Silent Sacrificial Victim, among others.

The earliest oracular record of numbers 1 through 9 belongs to the Songze phase of the Majiabang culture (located in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, sixth to fourth millennium BCE). According to legend Fuxi lived in this part of China. If the early use of numbers is in any way related to the trigrams, placing the invention of the Hetu where Stirling does (using the “traditional dating” which you know is meaningless) is nearly 2000 years too late.

A grave of Lingjiatan culture (3500 BCE, Anhui Province) contained a jade carving of a stylized cosmograph and bagua. Li Xueqin interprets this artifact as an early version of a liuren astrolabe, shi and Shipan, zhinan zhen or “south pointing handle” — and therefore the Luopan.

So Fuxi was born 200 years too late

A sequence of gua has been dated to Xia culture. The shou (tetragrams) popularized in the Taixuan Jing date from Shang culture. Yarrow stalk divination, the traditional method of consulting the Yijing, was practiced during the Shang; hexagrams and trigrams are found on oracle bones dated to that time.

So King Wen was born more than 100 years too late

The arrangement of the hexagrams of the Yijing supposedly invented by Wen Wang (King Wen of the Zhou, who assumed rulership c. 1099 BCE) was used during the reign of King Wuding of the Shang (the fourth king at Anyang, who died in 1189 BCE according to David Nivison). Along with being the oldest-known copy of the Yijing, the version on silk from the Mawangdui grave is vastly different from the supposed version authored by King Wen.

Dragons in the sky

When Han writers embellished the story of Fuxi they rewrote the exploits of his assigned “wife” Nu Gua (Snail– or Water-Woman), who created humans and saved the world. She was a cosmic goddess (like the Nabataean Atargatis, represented with a fish, serpent, or dolphin tail), a wind goddess of the Feng Clan, and the inventor of the reed organ.

Nu Gua is the Rainbow Dragon, the long (feminine dragon) of rainpools and water-loving creatures, a celestial deity who represented the dome of the sky. Perhaps she was the original tian, “heaven,” because tian began as an archaic sky divinity and then was anthropomorphized into a sky god. (But keep in mind that in Shang culture a rainbow was an omen of disaster.)

Several archeoastronomers and archaeologists link Nu Gua with the female spirit temple or Nushenmiao created by Hongshan culture (c. 4700 to 2920 BCE) at Niuheliang in Liaoning.

The oldest renditions of the Chinese version of Hamlet’s Mill (“Tian Wen,” fourth century BCE) identify Nu Gua as the individual who repaired the damage when the astronomy went awry. Nu Gua realigned the world axis and reset the compass points.

In drawings Fuxi and Nu Gua have winding serpent bodies that suggest circular orbits intersecting at intervals. The Han writers assigned the goddess “her” compasses (earlier her instrument had been a builder’s cord), while Fuxi holds “his” plumb bob, set-square, and/or builder’s cord.

All of the instruments they carry were typically used with a gnomon. A builder’s cord also suggests the corded ware made by Yangshao and Longshan cultures. Pots were built using coils of clay and joints between the coils were smoothed over by using a corded beater or paddle.

Warning: coded astronomy ahead

The original “compass” used by humans consisted of the astronomical markers for solstices and equinoxes (and sometimes the colures).

Embracing the Victim, Hidden Play, and Silent Sacrificial Victim could be references to human sacrifice, but they can also be oblique references to stars vanishing below the horizon.

Around 2300 BCE the Pleiades ceased to function as the sign of the spring equinox because they were “hidden” in the glow of dawn; they had marked the equinox for a thousand years.

Fuxi’s surname Zang Zing, “source of vegetation,” links Fuxi to agriculture and to a variety of ancient deities associated with vegetation and with the heliacal rising of Sirius. At 30 degrees north latitude in 2000 BCE (near what we call Harappa, Persepolis, Memphis, Basra, Quetta, Ba, Hofei, and Pengli) the heliacal rising of Sirius could be used as a marker for the summer solstice.

Pindar called Sirius “the shape-shifting dog of the Great Goddess.” Chinese astronomers knew it as the Celestial Jackal (Lang) that legendary figures used for target practice (with the constellation Hu or Hushi, “bow”).

Shennong

Shennong the Farmer God, otherwise known as Da Ting, Datingshi and Shennongshi, is dated by Liu Yanchi to 3000 BCE. For Professor Liu, this eponymous era was also a period of primitive clan society. Agriculture in China dates to the Mesolithic. According to some archaeological sources, rice was being cultivated in southern China in 6000 BCE.
In the Han version of the Zhou I, the clan of Shennong makes an appearance only after the clan of Baoxi (“Embracing the Victim”) dies out! During the Warring States period, Datingshi was considered one of the ancient rulers of China — probably another case of reverse euhemerization like Fuxi.

Like Huangdi, Shennong is credited with the invention of agriculture, medicine, and pharmaceuticals. In the Huainanzi he is depicted as tasting hundreds of poisonous and medicinal herbs.

Like Fuxi, Shennong was a minor player until Han literati elaborated on his story. Shennong also shares exploits with Hou Chi (deified millet and the ancestor of the Zhou) and was mistakenly identified with Yandi, the Flame Emperor.

In Arthur Waley’s version of the Book of Songs (a text that contains material from Shang and Zhou cultures), Shennong is “Grandfather Harvest,” a sample of the crop from the previous year saved as a sacrifice for plentiful future harvests (like a Corn Dolly in western European lore).

Sui-ren the Fire-driller

This figure is never identified as a god or as a human, only as a sage older than Fuxi who could propel himself throughout the universe.

The name Sui-ren is actually a pun based on legends of a country called Sui, several thousand miles from a kingdom called Shenmi. In Sui country existed huge trees also called Sui. If two branches from a Sui tree rubbed against each other they would burst into flames.
Sui-ren, back from his visits beyond the sun and moon, stopped and watched an owl-like bird peck a branch of a tree until fire shot out. From watching the bird he got the idea to use a stick against another piece of wood to create fire and cook meat.

Much of Chinese history is shrouded in mystery between 3300 BC and the beginning of the first dynasty c. 2000 BC. Ignorance of the law is not considered an excuse; why should ignorance of the last 30 years of scholarship be the excuse for fabricating untruths?
Notable heroes in this period were Huangdi the Yellow Emperor credited with establishing the 12 earthly branches and 10 heavenly stems or the Sexagenarian Cycle c 2736 BC although a similar system was already in use in Babylon many centuries before and DA Yu the founder of the first dynasty and inventor of hydraulic engineering. It is also believed that the first compass was invented during this period. It consisted of a lodestone attached to a chariot and was said to make its army invincible.

The “Sexagenarian Cycle”?

Alas, Stirling again failed to consult a dictionary: a sexagenarian is someone who is in their sixties!

The Yellow Emperor was born 450 years too late

Huangdi reigned from 2287 to 2188 BCE, according to scholars who have recalibrated ancient texts with astronomy.

In the case of Huangdi the text in question is a commentary on the calendar of Zhuanwu and its inception date (the thirteenth year of Zhuanwu’s rulership). The commentary indicates the calendar inception tied to a planetary massing in the xiu Yingshi (the present xiu Bi and Shi, stars α and β Pegasi). Scholars generally accept that the date for Zhuanwu originally referred to the reign of Huangdi.

Ganzhi and the calendar

There is no evidence that the stems and branches (or any Chinese calendars) date from 2736 BCE. It wasn’t until around 200 CE that the cycle of 60 (ganzhi) was used to count years.

In Shang culture, the gan (stems) were the days of the week, and the names of the days identified the ancestors (for example, Shang Jia received sacrifices on the first day of the week, jia). The zhi (branches) formed a cycle of 60 days; the new moon indicated the beginning of the month (like Rosh Chodesh in the Jewish calendar).

This is the sole calendar of Shang found in Shang texts but scholars do not believe it was the calendar used by peasants.

A sexagesimal cycle (but not the ganzhi) was available in Elam around 3100 BCE, and that knowledge later transferred to the Sumerians. Babylon (bab-ilim, “gate of the god”) would not be built for a thousand years, so the system can’t be in use at that location because the city doesn’t yet exist.

It’s already been discussed that Yu’s reign occurred in the first century of the second millennium BCE. Although Yu may be credited with the invention of hydraulic engineering there is no evidence that hydraulic engineering was invented at this time.

Before the invention of the zhinan zhen during the Han, Chinese used astronomy to determine a north-south axis. They used the celestial pole indicated by the pole stars, they bisected the angle between the directions of the rising and setting sun, they measured the positions of the sun at solstices and equinoxes, they used the methods in Kaogong ji (the Manual of Crafts section of the Zhou Li), the method described in the Book of Poetry, and astronomy as chronicled in Yaodian.

The graves of Shang kings and their consorts lie on a north-south axis, ten degrees east of due north. The Shang palaces at Erlitou are also on a north-south axis, slightly west of true north. These orientations were obtained by astronomy, not a magnetic compass.
The oldest fengshui device discovered by archaeologists consists of a two-sided board with astronomical sightlines. Liuren astrolabes have been unearthed from Qin-era tombs at Wangjiatai and Zhoujiatai. These devices date between 278 BCE and 209 BCE.

The earliest evidence of domesticated horses near China consists of remains of horses in graves on the south Ural steppe (at Krivoe Ozero); these are dated to about 2000 BCE. Domesticated horses pulling chariots in China are dated to the 14th century BCE. Shang nobles preferred to employ Mitanni charioteers and equine experts; Mitanni existed as a kingdom only after 1500 BCE.

No “south-pointing chariot” existed in the fourth or third millennium BCE.

Reference

Anthony Aveni (2002). Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science and the Occult from Antiquity through the New Age. (Revised Edition)

A. Leo Oppenheim (1977). Ancient Mesopotamia. U of Chicago Press.

Coloring Book of Human Evolution

Chaim Bermant and Michael Weitzman. Ebla.

Sellers, Jane B. (1992). The Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt. Penguin.

Evan Hadingham. Circles and Standing Stones.

Byron E. Shafer (Ed.) Temples of Ancient Egypt.

Brian M. Fagan (Ed.) Oxford Companion to Archaeology.

Lars Berglund. The Secret of Luo Shu.

Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn. Archaeology Theories, Methods and Practices.

Xiaoneng Yang (Ed.). The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology.

William Ryan and Walter Pitman. Noah’s Flood.

Thomas Worthen. The Myth of Replacement.

John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman. China: A New History.

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