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

Episode 66 : Remote Nations Of The World 3

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It has been a while since the last time we talked about the remote nations of the world. Today will be the third episode of this series of stories.

In the book ShanHaiJing 山海经, Classics of Mountains and Seas, it mentions a place called NvZiGuo 女子国, meaning the Kingdom of Women, kind of like the Amazons. It says NvZiGuo is in the north of the place called WuXian 巫咸 where there were two women living together. The kingdom is surrounded by water. So I feel like this earliest context from the 4th century BC described two lesbians living on an island. The historian GuoPu 郭璞 , from the year 276 ~ 324 noted the book that, there is a yellow pond in the kingdom where the woman can give birth after they shower in it. If they give birth to boys, the boys die at the age of 3. Other books including DaHuangXiJIng 大荒西经, HuaiNanZi 淮南子 also mentioned this kingdom of women. In the book HouHanShu 后汉书, it says there is a magic well in the kingdom, the woman there get pregnant after peeking the well.


In the book LiangShu 梁书, it mentioned a kingdom called NvGuo, where women there are beautiful and long hair to the ground. They also get pregnant in water. Those women don’t have nipples on their boobs. Instead, on their back neck, there is milk coming out from gray hair to feed their children. The kids can walk after 100 days and be fully grown after 3~4 years. There is a chapter in the book Journey to the West 西游记, where the main characters traveled to the kingdom of women and we will spend a whole episode about it in the future.


If there is a kingdom of women, there must be a kingdom of men. In the book ShanHaiJing 山海经, Classics of Mountains and Seas, it says, there is a place called ZhangFuGuo 丈夫国, meaning the Kingdom of Men is in the north of the place of WeiNiao 维鸟, where everyone carries a sword.


The historian GuoPu 郭璞 noted that, dating back to the Shang Dynasty 商朝, around 1600 BC~ 1046 BC , the Emperor sent a person named Wang Meng 王孟 to collect medicine from XiWangMu 西王母, Queen Mother of the West, a goddess in Taoism. Wang Meng ran out of his food when he traveled to this place and got stuck there. He ate fruits from the trees and wore barks as clothing. He never got married however had two sons coming from his back. This place became the Kingdom of Men.


山海经 ShanHaiJing

大荒西经 DaHuangXiJIng

淮南子 HuaiNanZi

后汉书 HouHanShu

梁书 LiangShu

西游记 Journey to the West

西王母 XiWangMu / Queen Mother of the West

郭璞 GuoPu