Occasionally, fact checking a side issue opens up a whole new vein of surprising connections which were hidden in plain sight because I didn’t recognise the symbols.
This new vein begins with the Chinese tradition of assigning colours to the five cardinal directions: North – black, East – blue, West – white, South – red and Centre – yellow.
These five cardinal directions are also associated with five colour co-ordinated creatures.
The Four Symbols are four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations.
They are the Azure Dragon of the East, the Vermilion Bird of the South, the White Tiger of the West, and the Black Turtle of the North.
Symbolically and as part of spiritual and religious belief, they have been culturally important in China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
In East Asian culture, the Yellow Dragon is the fifth symbol completing the Sixiang (Four Symbols).
This deity is the centre of the cosmos and it represents the element earth, the Chinese quintessence, as well as the changing of the seasons.
An appreciation of the coloured five cardinal directions provides the key to understanding the naming of the Yellow River and the Yellow Sea.
Yellow and the Yellow River are central threads flowing through Chinese culture.
Huang is a Chinese surname that means “Yellow“.
While Huáng is the pinyin romanisation of the word, it may also be romanised as Hwang, Huong, Houang, Hoang, Wong, Waan, Wan, Waon, Hwong, Vong, Hung, Hong, Bong, Eng, Ng, Uy, Wee, Oi, Oei, Oey, or Ooi, Ong, or Ung due to pronunciations of the word in different dialects and languages.
Huang is the 7th most common surname in China.
The Yellow Sea is the central sea for three cultures [China, Korea and Japan] which share a conceptual appreciation of the Yellow Dragon.
The Yellow Sea also represented the central [home] sea for ancient Chinese mariners who navigated with the aid of a compass.
It’s at this juncture that Western Academics start throwing a wobbly because their historical narrative is constructed around the compass being invented after 200 BC.
The compass was invented in China during the Han Dynasty between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD, where it was called the “south-governor”.
Western Academia won’t countenance compasses in 1,110 BC.
Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697
William George Aston – 1896
The south-pointing chariot (or carriage) was an ancient Chinese two-wheeled vehicle that carried a movable pointer to indicate the south, no matter how the chariot turned.
There are legends of earlier south-pointing chariots, but the first reliably documented one was created by Ma Jun (c. 200–265 CE) of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms, about eight hundred years before the first navigational use of a magnetic compass.
And Western Academia won’t countenance reminders of their compass cock-up were they transposed North & South and simply abandoned the colours for East & West.
Humiliatingly, for Western academics, the Chinese realised that their compasses pointed towards the stronger magnetic pole [which happens to be located in the Southern hemisphere].
This is the very embarrassing reason why the Western mainstream [contradictorily] calls the Earth’s magnetic north pole the “Magnetic South Pole” and the Earth’s magnetic south pole the “Magnetic North Pole”.
Unsurprisingly, Wikipedia tries to explain away this epic failure of Western academia.
Luckily for Western Academia they have plausible explanations for the Yellow Sea and the Yellow River but they struggle with its old Mongolian name of the “Black River”.
The Yellow Sea is the name given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean.
Its name comes from the sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden yellow.
The Yellow River or Huang He is the third-longest river in Asia, following the Yangtze River and Yenisei River, and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi).
Its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history.
The adjective “yellow” describes the perennial color of the muddy water in the lower course of the river, which arises from soil (loess) being carried downstream.
One of its older Mongolian names was the “Black River”, because the river runs clear before it enters the Loess Plateau, but the current name of the river among Inner Mongolians is Hatan Gol (Хатан гол, “Queen River”).
The Western Academic Wobbles really begin in the Middle East because the colours of the Chinese compass imply [as asserted by Carl Peters] that ancient cultures [such as Chaldea and/or Phoenicia] acquired the compass from China.
Chaldea or Chaldaea was a Semitic nation between the late 10th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which its peoples were absorbed into Babylonia.
Phoenicia was an ancient Semitic thalassocratic civilization of an unknown origin situated on the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent and centred on the coastline of what is now Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria, though some colonies reached the Western Mediterranean and even the Atlantic Ocean.
It was an enterprising sea-based civilization and spread across the Mediterranean from 1500 BC to 300 BC.
King Solomon’s Golden Ophir – Carl Peters – 1899
Support for this theory is provided by “countries where Arabic is used” because they refer to the five cardinal directions with Al Wusta being used to denote the centre.
Countries where Arabic is used refer to the cardinal directions as Ash Shamaliyah (N), Al Gharbiyah (W), Ash Sharqiyah (E) and Al Janobiyah (S).
Additionally, Al Wusta is used for the center.
All five are used for geographic subdivision names (wilayahs, states, regions, governorates, provinces, districts or even towns), and some are the origin of some Southern Iberian place names (such as Algarve, Portugal and Axarquía, Spain).
Additional support is provided by the Turkish language which refers to the Mediterranean Sea as Akdeniz which literally translates as the White Sea [Ak Deniz].
Kara Deniz – Black Sea
Ak Deniz – White Sea ; Mediterranean
Kızıl Deniz – Red Sea
Gök Deniz – Sky Sea or Blue Sea
Turkish Directions and Color System / Türklerde Yön ve Renkler
Tarih ve Arkeoloji / History and Archaeology
Based upon this theory some observers suggest the Caspian Sea is the Blue Sea.
However, my personal preference is for the Neotethys Sea being the Blue Sea because this provides access to the Eastern Mediterranean for the Sea Peoples and the subsequent advance of Indo-European languages across Europe.
Graphic support for this preference is provided by the advance of Indo-European languages.
Phoenicia is a Classical Greek term used to refer to the region of the major Canaanite port towns, and it does not correspond exactly to a cultural identity that would have been recognised by the Phoenicians themselves.
Their civilization was organized in city-states, similar to those of Ancient Greece, perhaps the most notable of which was Carthage.
No wonder Western Academia prefers to forget that Greek usage of the Black Sea and Red Sea appellations date back to [at least] the fifth century BC.
Although the modern names of the Black Sea go back only to the 13th century, the appellation is actually much older.
It is generally accepted that the primary Greek name Pontus Axīnus (Póntos Áxeinos, first attested in Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.263, in 462 b.c.) is a rendering of Iranian *axšaina- “dark colored” (Vasmer)
It must be viewed in the context of a system in which color names indicated the cardinal points (e.g., black [or dark] for north, red for south, white for west, and green or light blue for east).
The name Red Sea (known since Herodotus) thus designated the Indian Ocean, together with the adjoining Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
Encyclopædia Iranica – Black Sea
The Erythraean Sea (Greek: Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα, Erythra Thalassa, “Red Sea”) is the name in ancient cartography for a body of water located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
Pindar (c. 522 – c. 443 BC) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes.
Herodotus was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484–c. 425 BC), a contemporary of Socrates.
In the archeological findings from the Tomb of King Yi of Zeng, there’s a lacquer-painted wardrobe with the patterns of the Four Symbols and Twenty-Eight Mansions, indicating that Chinese people had rich astronomical knowledge over 2,000 years ago.
The Four Symbols and Twenty-Eight Mansions – Cultural-China.com
The Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng is an important archaeological site in Suizhou, Hubei, China, dated sometime after 433 BC.
The tomb contained the remains of Marquis Yi of Zeng (sometimes “Duke Yi”), and is one of a handful of ancient Chinese royal tombs to have been discovered intact and then excavated using modern archaeological methods.
However, if the independent observer remains unconvinced then perhaps its best to look West…
Readers interested in Gustaaf Schlegel and Chinese astronomy might find these links helpful.
Gustaaf Schlegel (1840-1903) was a Dutch sinologist and field naturalist.
Schlegel’s magnum opus was his Dutch-Chinese dictionary, published in 4 volumes between 1882-1891.
Schlegel’s 1866 monograph on the Heaven and Earth Society is considered the major breakthrough in its study, even in 21st century scholarship… He is also credited for being the first European to amply document the Chinese origins of gunpowder.
Uranographie Chinoise – Gustave Schlegel – 1875
Traditional Chinese astronomy has a system of dividing the celestial sphere into asterisms or constellations, known as “officials”
The Chinese asterisms are generally smaller than the constellations of Hellenistic tradition.
The Song dynasty (13th-century) Suzhou planisphere shows a total of 283 asterisms, comprising a total of 1,565 individual stars.
The asterisms are divided into four groups, the Twenty-Eight Mansions along the ecliptic, and the Three Enclosures of the northern sky.
The southern sky was added as a fifth group in the late Ming Dynasty based on European star charts, comprising an additional 23 asterisms.