Insects in Chinese Pictographs

by Prof. Ju, Huang
Shijiazhaug Pomological Research Institute
Hobei Province, People’s Republic of China

Within the Yunnan Province of China exists the autonomous country of NaXi. This nation possesses the only existing pictograph of the creation of the world according to Dong Ba Scriptures. The Dong Ba culture relies on an oral transmission of beliefs and is regarded as one of the few living fossils of ancient culture left in the modern world. Dong Ba culture has uncertain origins although it probably formed before the Sui Dynasty in 600 A.D.

Dong Ba Scriptures are actually a kind of religious charactery written down manually by the Dong Ba wizard. The wizard was an individual highly respected in the NaXi nationality whose role was a binding, non-transferable obligation.

The Dong Ba’s role was to convey the deity’s decree upon man of which much dealt with the genesis of the world and religious philosophy. Insects such as a butterfly, ant, bee, fly and silkworm cocoon are found within the Scriptures (Figure A-D ). Sometimes they are used to elucidate a metaphor or illustrate a religious standpoint. Other times they are used as portents of calamity or good omen. There are also legends about their origins.

The following legend suggests the origins of the shape of ants: Chaozheng Lien, the founder of the NaXi nation, survived the great cataclysm and fell in love with Chenhong Baobai, the princess of the deity. Lien asked the deity for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The deity didn’t like the idea and asked Chaozheng Lien to solve numerous difficult problems he felt were difficult enough to deter his effort. But, with the help of the princess, Lien overcame all of the problems and married Baobai. One of the challenges had been to consecrate nine types of cereal seed. With the help of a white butterfly and a black ant, Lien managed to gather them although when he counted them he found that three and a half of the seeds were missing. It turned out that a turtledove had eaten three and the ant had eaten the other half. Lien shot down the turtledove to retrieved the three seeds. He then found the ant under a stone and tied a horse-hair around it so he could follow the ant to the half seed. Lien did not remove the hair and to this day, ants can been seen with a knot in their waist (Figure E-F).

The ancient and mysterious ways of the Dong Ba nation is famous for its peculiar beliefs and legends of cultural customs. Unfortunately fewer and fewer individuals are able to translate Dong Ba pictographs which inevitably contain many more gems of mystical interpretations of the world.