An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Gou Mang 句芒

Jul 14, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Gou Mang 句芒 was in Chinese mythology an assistant spirit (shen 神) or "official" (si 司) of Emperor Tai Hao 太皞 (Fu Xi 伏羲). Gou Mang had the body of a bird but the face of a human, and his legs were two dragons. Tai Hao and Gou Mang controlled the Spring and the region of the east.

The Classic Zuozhuan 左傳 calls him Zhong 重, and he is said to have been one of the four uncles of Emperor Shao Hao 少皞 (Di Zhi 帝摯).

The commentary Zhouli zhushu 周禮注疏 says that Gou Mang had the personal name Zhong and was a son of the mythological emperor Shao Hao 少昊 (i.e. Di Zhi 帝摯). He was believed to rule the process wood.

The book Mozi 墨子, narrates as story in which Gou Mang appeared to Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公 (r. 627-606) and presented the duke with a daughter of Emperor Tai Hao, promising him countless descendants. Gao You's 高誘 (c. 200 CE) commentary to the Shanhaijing 山海經 and the book Lunheng 論衡 rectify this statement and exchange the name of the ruler to Duke Mu of Qin 秦穆公 (r. 659-621).

Gou Mang is also mentioned in the preserved fragments of the book Suichaozi 隋巢子, where he is described as assisting the founder of the Xia dynasty 夏 (21th-17th cent. BCE). In the inventor lists of the genealogy Shiben 世本, Gou Mang is mentioned as the inventor of gauze (luo 羅).

Yuan Ke 袁珂, ed. (1985). Zhongguo shenhua chuanshuo cidian 中國神話傳說詞典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), 128, 278.