How Old Is The Panda ?
A bear known for centuries in the mysterious Orient
Severals authors assert that many old messages refer to an animal that would certainly be the huge panda. The terms most frequently discovered are Zouyu, Mo as well as Pixiu (or Pi).
Chinese messages from the 12th to the 7th century B.C., throughout the Western Zhou Dynasty, currently mention a pet after that called Pi. For example, The History Book utilizes the expression “like a tiger as well as a pi,” and Guide of Songs, the earliest collection of Chinese rhymes, consists of the phrase “to offer the skin of the pi” as well as states that the pet resembles a tiger or a leopard.
A dictionary of the Qin Dynasty, the Emergency room Ya, dated 220 B.C., points out a pet called mo, describing it as a white leopard with a small head, brief legs as well as black and white markings, which eats copper as well as iron, bamboo stems, and also stating a medical use: its skin would be used in the control of menstrual cycle.
An old geography publication, The classic of mountains as well as seas (Shanhaijing), the very first Chinese location writing over 2,700 years of ages, explains it as “a black and white bear-like pet that preys on copper and iron and stays in the Qionglai Hills in Yandao Region” (now Yingjing Area in Sichuan Province, where the panda still lives).
A dictionary of Chinese personalities, Shuo Wen, dating from about 100 A.D., during the Eastern Han Empire (25-220 A.D.), keeps in mind that mo “appears like a bear, is yellow-colored in colour as well as resides in Sichuan. ”
The Annals of Nanzhong Region states that the pet “is creamy colored in shade, appears like a bear, licks iron as well as can eat 10 jin [5 kilos] at a time; and its skin benefits keeping cozy. ”
During the Western Han Dynasty (from 206 B.C. to 24 A.D.), the Emperor is stated to have actually kept in his yards in Xi’an about forty rare types including a panda, as reported by the historian Shang Linfu.
In the same city, Xi’an, when Empress Dowager Bo, mother of Wen Di (4th Emperor of the Han Empire), passed away, she was hidden in the Royal Mausoleum of Nangling, near Xi’an, and also a panda skull was placed in her burial place in between concerning 179 and also 163 BC.
Under the Jin, in the 3rd century A.D., zouyu was a sign of tranquility, due to the fact that it did not kill or eat living beings: when 2 armies clashed, if among them elevated a basic representing one, the armistice was proclaimed.
Li Shimin, Emperor of the Flavor Empire (from 618 to 907 A.D.) is claimed to have actually provided mo hides to fourteen of his subjects as a token of esteem at a banquet in the city of Xi’an, currently the resources of Shaanxi district.
According to the archives of the Japanese Royal Household, Flavor Wu Zetian, Empress from 690 to 705 ADVERTISEMENT of the Tang Dynasty (from 618 to 907 ADVERTISEMENT) would have supplied 2 live pandas and seventy skins to the Japanese Emperor as a mark of friendship. This is the initially reported case of the large panda being made use of as a polite gift.
Over the centuries, an overall of concerning twenty different names have been taped in literary works, making it hard and also complex to determine specific recommendations to the huge panda, its modern name. Sun Qian, a Chinese author, likewise a politician and also a specialist in the society of the huge panda but additionally of tea, has actually returned into several ancient files to evaluate whether the old names Zouyu, Mo as well as Pixiu (or Pi) actually represent the huge panda. And his verdict is formal: these names, contrary to what has actually been asserted by some authors and also used up by several others, did not assign the wonderful panda. Mo most probably assigned the tapir and also Pi a feline, possibly the snow leopard. Thus, leaving aside the historic references to Zouyu, Mo as well as Pixiu (or Pi), there are few definite historic referrals to the panda. The two major ones are those of Empress Dowager Bo, whose head discovered in her burial place is that of a panda, and the initial diplomatic present to Japan.
Elena Songster, that in 2018 released guide Panda Nation: The construction and conservation of China’s modern symbol, ends that the representation of the gigantic panda in old Chinese culture is weak and concerns the absence of specific references to the panda in old texts as well as specifically in works of Chinese medicine.
Today, one of the most generally made use of Chinese name for the giant panda is da xiong mao for big cat-bear.
Despite this genealogical expertise and also the stunning look of the panda, the presence of the pet remained shrouded in deep secret for a very long time. Chinese scrolls are plentiful with depictions of tigers, cranes, turtles as well as other animals to which spiritual values were referred, however the panda is never discussed. As a matter of fact, it was not till the middle of the 20th century that depictions of the varieties appeared in Chinese art.
For European scholars, the large panda continued to be a misconception until 1869, when Dad David, a French missionary, conservationist and traveler, uncovered one in the southwestern hills of China.