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Gun And Yu: Revisiting The Chinese “Earth-Diver” Hypothesis

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Chapter Summary

Flood-taming is always seen as the main plot of the Gun and Yu myth in Chinese classics. A recent argument treats the archetype of this floodtaming myth cycle cosmogonic, i.e., the earth-diver or earth-scooper myth. However, this hypothesis is not well grounded. Although it finds solutions to some questions, its limitations are yet obvious. Some mythologists hold that the archetype of this floodtaming myth cycle is a cosmogonic myth, namely the so-called earth-diver myth. Ye Shuxian asserts that "the flood-taming myth is actually the second earth creation, i.e., the transformed endless- mud-based 'earth-diver' myth, whose protagonists are Gun, Yu and the Supreme God" To avoid ambiguity of the term "earth-diver" in Chinese, Hu Wanchuan, a chief advocator of the "earth-diver" hypothesis, renamed it the "earth-scooper" myth.

Keywords: Chinese; cosmogonic myth; earth-diver myth; earth-scooper myth; flood-taming; Gun; Hu Wanchuan; hypothesis; Yu



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