Episode 67 : Remote Nations Of The World 4

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Today we will continue our series of remote nations of the world.

In the book ShanHaiJing 山海经, Classics of Mountains and Seas, it mentions a place called YiBiGuo 一臂国,meaning the Kingdom of the One Arms where people there have one arm, one eye and one nostril. In the book ErYa 尔雅, it says there are people in the north called BiJianMin 比肩民, meaning people together shoulder to shoulder. They eat together and look around together. The historian GuoPu 郭璞 noted that, BiJianMin are people from the Kingdom of the One Arms. Since they are like the fish flounder, only have organs of half a person, they usually come in pairs so they can function better. This just remind me of those conjoined twins.


There is another nation where people also only have one arm. It is called QiGongGuo 奇肱国. Qi means strange and gong means upper arms. In the book ShanHaiJing 山海经, Classics of Mountains and Seas, it says people from QiGongGuo have one arm and three eyes of Ying and Yang. They ride horses and have two-headed birds with yellow feathers. The historian GuoPu 郭璞 noted that, the upper eye is eye of Ying and the lower eyes are the eyes of Yang. Those people are good at mechanics. They make machines to catch all kinds of animals and make flying vehicles powered by wind. Some people found the flying vehicles in the place called YuZhou 豫州 and it wasn’t working until ten years later the west wind came the flying vehicle flew again. In the HuaiNanZi 淮南子, it interprets the name into QiGuGuo 奇股国 instead of QiGongGuo, meaning Kingdom of One leg instead of Kingdom of One arm.


If there are kingdoms with people having one arm or one leg, there must be people having more than two legs or arms. There is a kingdom called SanShenGuo 三身国 from the book ShanHaiJing 山海经, Classics of Mountains and Seas. People there have one head but three bodies. It says they are children of DiJun 帝俊,the Emperor Jun, one of the ancient supreme deities and one of his wives EHuang 娥皇. Those three-body people’s last name is Yao 姚 and eats mullets. They give orders to four kinds of birds.


It is interesting that you can find all kinds of weird people in the book. We just talked about people with one head and three bodies. There is another place called SanShouGuo 三首国, Kingdom of Three-head. Yes. It is the opposite with the previous one we just talked about. People there have one body but three heads. The historians GuoPu 郭璞 wrote in the book TuZan 图赞, although they breathe together, they have three respiratory systems. If one head sees anything, the rest of the other two heads also see. If one head get enough food, the other two heads also get food. In the book TaiPingYuLan 太平御览, it says, there is a precious tree called LangGan 琅玕树 on the Mountain KunLun 昆仑山. There are beautiful stones like pearls growing on the tree and the bird called Feng 凤, which is phoenix, eat the stones. So the Emperor Huang 黄帝, one of Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors 5000 years ago sent the god named LiZhu 离朱 to guard the tree because he has three heads and six eyes.



山海经 Classics of Mountains and Seas

尔雅 ErYa

淮南子 HuaiNanZi


郭璞 GuoPu

太平御览 TaiPingYuLan

帝俊 DiJun/ the Emperor Jun


黄帝 Emperor Huang

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