Panhu 盤瓠 is an important figure in Chinese mythology. "Chinese mythology" refers to those myths found in the historical geographic area of China, the geographic area of "China" being a concept which has evolved historically. The Panhu mythological complex includes myths in Chinese and also other languages. This myth has a long history of being transmitted by Han Chinese and several of the other ethnic groups of the fifty-six officially recognized by the current administration of China, both orally and in literature. (Yang 2005:4) The Panhu myth is an important origin myth for various ethnic groups.
The basic Panhu myth is about a dog who married a princess. The emperor of China in the course of losing a war which he was waging with a neighbor to the west, offered to marry his daughter to anybody that would present him with the head of his enemy. This was accomplished by a large dog. This presented a dilemma to the emperor, who couldn't stand to see his daughter married to a dog. Accounts vary, but eventually the dog and princess procreated copiously.
Myth versus history
In the study of historical Chinese culture, many of the stories that have been told regarding characters and events which have been written or told of the distant past have a double tradition: one which tradition which presents a more historicized and one which presents a more mythological version. (Yang 2005:12-13) This is also true in many of the accounts related to the Panhu.
Many of the myths regarding agriculture in China are related to popular religion and ritual. In modern times, Panhu has been worshipped by the Yao people and She people as "King Pan". (Yang 2005: 52-53).
- Christie, Anthony (1968). Chinese Mythology. Feltham: Hamlyn Publishing. ISBN 0600006379.
- Yang, Lihui, et al. (2005). Handbook of Chinese Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533263-6
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