Zodiac, why are there no rats and cats?

2020-01-23 | hand look original |

Stepping into the Lunar New Year, whether it is flower bed decoration on the roadside or the mascot pattern posted on the street, it is full of "rat" elements.

Mice became the darlings, and even foreign luxury brands also catered to the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year and designed a wave of mouse-related products.

● Brutalist's rotating scented candle for "Cat and Mouse"

Talking about rats in the year of the mouse, "mouse" is naturally an inevitable topic.

However, there are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Why do n’t so many animals in the world choose mice, but they have also become the head of the zodiac?

Metropolitans are "looking down as cat slaves". Cats are so favored. Why are there no cats in the zodiac?

● Twelve Zodiac Pottery Figurines from the Tang Dynasty, National Museum of China

These issues can be described as divergent opinions. In general, there are two schools of thought on the origin of the zodiac signs in the academic world, one is local and the other is foreign.

As far as the locals are concerned, the Tiangan Earthly Branch culture is the mainstream.

Tiangan Earthly Branch, originated from the observation of celestial phenomena in ancient China, and is also used to arrange the year and date in the summer calendar. We often say "Acetin" is part of the Heavenly Stem.

Tiangan, that is, A, B, C, D, E, Ji, G, Xin, Ren, and Gui, while the Earthly Branches include Zi, Ug, Yin, Yi, Chen, Yi, Wu, Wei, Shen, Yi, Yi, Hai.

● Ancient Chinese Timing Instrument, Sundial

Twelve species of animals are used to represent the twelve Earthly Branches. It has been clearly stated in the Han Dynasty, and at that time the zodiac signs have been used to count the years. East Han materialist thinker Wang Chong's famous work "On the Balance," which mentioned the corresponding Earthly Branches.Animal name.

"On Heng · Mao Shi" has the cloud: "Yin, Mu Ye, its poultry and tiger also; 戌, soil also, its poultry and dog also; ... noon, horse also; child, mouse also; cricket, chicken also;Alas, also rabbits .... Hai, Aya also; Wei, sheep also; Ugly, cattle also .... A viper also, Shen monkey also. "

Yun Heng · Yan Duo Yi Yun: "Chen is a dragon, 巳 is a snake, and Chen 巳 is in the southeast."

As for why the twelve animals are so ordered, there is a saying according to the animal's living habits and activity hours.

Zi Shi, the late night mouse is the most active, so it is called "Zi Rat"; when ugly, the cattle in livestock are the earliest cultivated land, so it is called "Ugly Cow"; Yin Shi, "Yin" has fear, and everyone is afraid of tigers, so it is called ""Yinhu"; when the moon was not retreating, the rabbit went out to eat the grass with morning dew, so it was called "the rabbit"; when Chenshi, the dragon appeared in the clouds when it was driving in the fog, it was called "Chenlong"; when the snake was hiding,In the grass, it is called "Viper";

At noon, the yang is extremely extreme, and the yin begins to increase. When the yin and yang alternate, the animals lie down and rest, and only the horse is still standing, so it is called the "noon horse". Until then, the sheep urinates most often, and it is also a good time to release the sheep.Therefore, it is called "not a sheep"; Shen Shi, the sun is westward, and the ape is crying, so it is called "Shen Monkey";Because of the highest vigilance, they are called "walking dogs"; when the pigs sleep the most, they are called "hai pigs."

● Chinese Meticulous Painting "Zodiac Signs", painted by Li Youjun

There is also the legend of the zodiac, and the order of the animals is also arranged.

Xuanyuan Huangdi felt that the name of the Earthly Branch was difficult to remember, and proposed to use 12 animals to represent the Earthly Branch one said that the Emperor Jade chose 12 animals to serve as court guards. Therefore, the animals scrambled to register and set ten in accordance with the order of arriving at the Heavenly Palace.Ranking of the two horoscopes.

There is a vignette related to cats: The mouse was originally a cat's servant, and was ordered to sign up for the cat, but he happened to name himself instead of the cat. So they became enemies. WheneverWhen a cat sees a mouse, it must catch it and find it.

● Of course, there are more cats in reality

There is also a version that said that the rats were eating the gunpowder disguised as a candle and saw Chi You's conspiracy, so Huang Diqin was named the twelfth prime minister. So he squeezed the cat that was originally ranked twelfth.out.

These plots seem to answer people's doubts about why there are no cats in the zodiac sign. However, legends are only legends and cannot be regarded as strict scientific inferences. Are there cats in ancient China? This is also a question that academics have been discussing.

● Ming Zhu Zhanji's Picture of Wu Tan Nu partial

More data shows that cats first appeared in Egypt. Domesticated cats appeared in Egypt about 3,000 years ago, and were first domesticated by residents of the Upper Nile.

And the earliest documented document about cats in the world is the Book of Songs? Daya? Han Yi in the Western Zhou Dynasty in China, which reads: "There are bears and dwarfs, and there are cats and tigers."

But the poems include cats, bears, tigers, etc. side by side, referring to carnivorous cats such as leopard cats and lynxes. This wild cat loves to prey on birds, but has little interest in mice.


Zhuangzi? Qiu Shui during the Warring States Period said: "Well, one day travels thousands of miles, and rat hunting is not as good as a raccoon raccoon." In ancient China, raccoon owls often referred to wild cats and had the advantage of the ability to capture mice.

Until the beginning of the Western Han Dynasty, according to "Book of Rites? Suburban Special Lives", it was really clearly stated: "An ancient gentleman must make it to the cat, welcome the cat, and also eat it for the voles." At this time, humans began to use cats inIn agriculture, there is a tendency to domesticate it as a "tool cat."

Indian cats were introduced into the country through Buddhist culture, probably during the Emperor Han Ming's period. When the Tang Dynasty became popular, these cats were proper pet cats.

● Asian Golden Cat

From a time perspective, when the Chinese zodiac culture appeared, domestic cats had not been domesticated in ancient China. Cats and mice did not exist in opposition, so people at that time would not have "Why Zodiac signs have"Mouse without cat" doubt.

Some of the previously mentioned stories and legends push cats and mice to the cusp, and it is estimated that they are more about plots combined with modern cat-mouse relationships. This can roughly explain why there are no cats in the zodiac..

● Cats of various breeds

As for the saying that the zodiac is an alien introduction, there are also supporters.

In 1929, Guo Moruo put forward the view of the "Babylonian Zodiac" in his archeological book Shi Zhigan, that is, the Chinese zodiac sign originated from the 12th house of Babylon.

After the formation of the Twelve Beast Calendars, they spread in both east and west directions: the westward route gradually reached Greece and Egypt; the eastward spread to India and China. The introduction of the Twelve Beast Calendars into China has becomeThe Chinese zodiac has undergone a localized evolution in harmony with the Chinese culture.

● Cave 15 of Yulin Grottoes, Guazhou, the tossing rat in the hands of the Emperor Shamen in the north of the north wall of the front room

Some scholars have speculated that the zodiac sign comes from Buddhism, which is called "India theory." Although the Buddhist scriptures "The Great Collection" records the content of the twelve beasts, there is no popular zodiac custom in India.

Qian Zhongshu once pointed out in the book "The Cone of the Manifesto" that the statement about the divine beast in "The Great Collection" may be the same as that in the Eastern Jin Taoist classic "Baopuzi Dengshe". If confirmed,The zodiac signs may be the product of the fusion of local and foreign cultures.

In addition to "The Babylonian Twelve Palaces" and "India", there are also views such as "Northern Vulgarity" and "Western Territory". The zodiac signs are native to China or introduced from outside. So far, the academic circle has not yetThere is explicit determinism.

● "Mouse God Picture" in Tang Dynasty, collected by British Museum

Since ancient times, the image of a mouse is not particularly pleasing. As soon as the mouse is mentioned, idioms such as eyebrows, mouse eyes, rat eyes, snakes, and mice are all open. However, ancient China was dominated by the farming economy, and farmers worked hard.Cultivated land, sowing, harvesting, if the final harvest is stolen by rats, who is not angry?

But "Hate to the deep natural white", the rats have not been hacked from the beginning to the end. Farmers even call the rats who steal food as "Cangshen" or "God of Wealth." Compared to granaries, there are no rats, and there are mice.The grain storehouse just shows that this year the farm has a bumper harvest and the family has ample food reserves. The existence of mice is a proof of wealth.

● Qing · Ren Zhu's "Zodiac Atlas" Mouse Page, collected by the Palace Museum

In addition, the ancients paid attention to having more children and more blessings. Li Shizhen said in the Compendium of Materia Medica: "The mouse has the longest life, so it is commonly called a mouse." Rats have strong reproductive ability and vitality, so mice have become more children., The symbol of longevity.

The origins of the zodiac signs and the various topics of the mouse, let us have a wealth of talks after the Chinese New Year's dinner-at least better than the topics born of Guanghan's examination results, work career and marriage.

Finally, step into the Year of the Rat, I wish you all a safe and healthy and happy family.

Reference :

"Year of the Rat" / Baidu Encyclopedia

"Zodiac Sign: Rat" by Zhang Rujia

The Origin of the Zodiac Sign / Zhang Tao

The Mouse Hidden in the Museum / Wenbo Circle

"The Origin and Legend of the Zodiac Signs" / Xiao Ran

"What is the origin of the zodiac signs?" Text / know almost @ 苏 家 酒 Cell

"Are there cats in ancient China? Do domestic cats have indigenous origin?" By Wen Zhihu @ 谭 樊 明星

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