Talk:Bixi (mythology)

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Additional image[edit]

FYI, I have a picture of such a tortoise from the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam.[1] Since I'm in the picture, I'm not sure if it would be useful for Wikipedia, but if you'd like the pic anyway, let me know and I'll get it uploaded to Commons. --Elonka 01:06, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Elonka, thank you for your offer! It's a wonderful specimen - and it also happens to be the southernmost in our collection! It shows, by the way, the historical evolution of the bixi image: the early Ming ones were fairly naturalistically looking, as were those from Vietnam (including the one in your photo), while in later periods of Chinese history they seemed to have acquired increasingly dragon-like appearance. I certainly would be glad to see your photo (and any other views of the same creature - or any other ones from its family) uploaded to Wiki Commons, and added to commons:Category:Bixi. Vmenkov (talk) 02:03, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Done!
ThienMuTurtle2001.jpg
Feel free to use it as you see fit. I'll also check my photos from that trip to see if I have any others, and will let you know.  :) --Elonka 02:15, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks a lot - I love it! I'll find a space for it eventually, as the article grows. Vmenkov (talk) 03:40, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Bilge or Bayanchor ?[edit]

In section Outside of China : ...8th-century stelae with Old Turkic inscriptions, many of which also stood on tortoises.Among them, the most accessible one is probably the Bilge Kağan's Terhin-Gol stele (753 AD), presently in the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in Ulan Bator. According to my references the narrator (and the hero) of Terhin-gol stele was not Bilge Khan. Bilge's stele of 735 is known as Khöshöö Tsaidam Monuments in Orkhon Valley. The narrator of Terhin Gol stele was Bayanchur Khan of Uyghur Khaganate. Nedim Ardoğa (talk) 06:21, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the comment. I've looked at the sources, and "El etmish Bilge Kağan" is indeed the title of Bayanchur Khan, and not of the earlier Bilge Khan; appropriate correction made. -- Vmenkov (talk) 20:28, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Indian Nationalism?[edit]

I inserted a [citation needed] tag next to the claim that "In reality this is Kurma". I'm not sure how folks feel about this, but I suspect this is nothing more than Indian nationalism, or a religious claim and will not be substantiated with a reliable source. Mahabhusuku (talk) 21:13, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

At least one 19th-century British author (William Frederick Mayers, 1874) suggested the likely "common source" for the bixi and the Indian world-supporting turtle myth (which, in his description, is "supporting an elephant, on whose back the existing world reposes"); but I have not seen (so far, anyway) any more recent scholarly work discussing such a connection. Accordingly, I replaced the rather wide and unsupported claim with a more qualified statement referencing Mayer's book. -- Vmenkov (talk) 21:06, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Bi Xi is not a tortoise[edit]

The first sentence of the article currently states:

Bixi (simplified Chinese: 赑屃; traditional Chinese: 贔屭; pinyin: bìxì), also called guifu (龟趺) or baxia (霸下), is a stone tortoise, used as a pedestal for a stele or tablet.

That is wrong, or at least very incomplete. Bi Xi isn't even a noun - It is actually the name of one of the 9 sons of the dragon. That's why the "tortoises" don't have a head+beak like a tortoise, and instead they have the head of a Chinese dragon. "Bixi" (bicksy?) is probably an old misunderstanding where Westerners, all the way back to the 18th century, mistakenly believed "bicksy" is a whimsical architectural ornament. In reality, Bi Xi is a very important part of traditional Chinese culture, extending well beyond what would normally be regarded as mere mythology in the West. At the very least, this article should probably be renamed to Bi Xi (architecture) in its current form. However, I think it ought to be integrated into, or linked to an article about the 9 sons. Wikipedia is currently lacking an article about the 9 sons of the dragon:

The 9 sons are mention in the Nine Dragons disambiguation page as the first, top-most red-linked article suggestion. The 9 sons are also mentioned in the Chinese dragon article too. As an element of architecture, I think a good case can be made for keeping this article largely as it is, with only minor changes to fix the tortoise misunderstanding, as long as it is renamed to Bi Xi (architecture).

In case anyone wants to learn more, I found this Wikipedia article while researching the cultural basis of a few of China's most important recently-issued coin sets. In 2012 (year of the dragon), China's Shanghai Mint produced CCT4243: 2 sets of coins that each depict the 9 sons. Here are the 2 Bi Xi coins, in silver and brass:

At the moment, there are no photos of those 2 types in the Coin Compendium, but you can clearly see Bi Xi in the reverse photo of the father dragon coin, in File:1357195166-336.jpg: 2012 600 g silver lunar 9 sons of the dragon father dragon - Reverse.

I will add Template:Multiple issues after posting this. Badon (talk) 07:32, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Here is some research I've already done about this topic. It should save you some effort in fact-checking:
Note that the names of the 9 sons varies in different tellings of the 9 sons, but their traits are more or less the same in each version. Badon (talk) 07:53, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks!
You are completely right. (As a side point, as the article accidentally lets on, these derive from and are stylized turtles, not tortoises, in any case. The page seems to be mostly the work of a single author and he probably got a bad translation early on and stuck with it.) Bixi turtle, Bixi (turtle), or Bixi (mythology) are all fine. Perhaps the last is the best, since it does seem that some artists go out of their way to make the head more dragon-like.
I'd be against the proposed Bi Xi (architecture) on several counts: I'm sure you were calling it "bicksy" as a joke but, no, that's not how pinyin works (Chinese people themselves often break up words according to their characters but that's not the proper usage even within China); it has nothing to do with architecture but with sculpture; and the article should talk about the actual legendary beast as well and not (only) the art representing it. My 2¢ anyway; it's always good to have interested and dedicated editors aboard. =)  — LlywelynII 23:30, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Cool. I could manage the move on my own. You ok with this namespace? — LlywelynII 08:05, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
I like it, thanks for the great work! Badon (talk) 01:32, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Sources for article expansion[edit]

  • p. 62. Can't find the article title and can't make out the characters exactly from the snippet view, but it looks like 八夏 with two 口s beside the characters. He also says Bixi (Pa-hsia) was used for bridge railings as well as supports. — LlywelynII 09:42, 22 November 2013 (UTC)