Friday, April 3, 2015

C is for Cangjie

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

Cangjie is a Chinese legendary figure that I had to share with you just because the guy is so WEIRD. He was said to have four eyes. Isn't that so messed up?

And he invented the Chinese characters used in writing.

Emperor Huangdi, the "Yellow Emperor," realized that the quipu method of record keeping (tying knots in threads) was not very efficient or accurate. So Cangjie was put in charge of creating a new system.

One day, Cangjie noticed the tracks left behind by animals. He got the idea that he could
create similar symbols to represent words. This was around the time the Egyptians created their hieroglyphic method of writing, and the earliest Chinese characters were also very "pictoral."

So Cangjie is not typically seen as a god, per se, but a legendary character who created the first written system in China. This is pretty important, as written language is usually considered one of the pillars of civilization.

But still, what's up with having four eyes???


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe he was one of those twins that didn't separate?
Bird tracks - I can see that in Chinese writing.

Nick Wilford said...

Maybe it was the extra eyes that enabled him to see the potential in those animal tracks?

Shawn Griffith said...

Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I had not heard this before and now I can add it to my arsenal of trivia.

Pat Dilloway said...

Big deal, I have four eyes too. Because I wear glasses, get it?

Sarah Foster said...

Ha, I was going to say the same thing as Nick! Maybe those extra two eyes were necessary to figure it out.

Click said...

That picture of him is making my eyes go weird. It's like I've got double vision and I can't focus on his face properly! Hehe. I imagine having four eyes would make eye tests take twice as long!

Cait @ Click's Clan

Pat Hatt said...

Maybe he pasted a few eyes on his head from the tale of a peacock? No? lol

Anne Marie Schlueter said...

That picture is making me eyes are freaking out! Interesting post!

Haneen I. Adam said...

well you know Xavi Hernandez of Spain is considered by some the greatest midfielder of all time (footballer) and people say he has eyes at the back of his head, that's how good he is, so I guess Cangjje is the same here :)
"Haneen/I Will Never Give you Up (479)"

Chrys Fey said...

Four eyes? That is weird. At first when I was looking at the picture, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Patricia Lynne said...

Are you sure they didn't mean four eyes as in he had glasses? Because, if so, I totally have four eyes. ;)

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is a great piece of history even if part of it is only legend.

Intangible Hearts said...

Hmmm. When I was in grade school they called me four eyes due to the glasses. Wonder if it's Cangjie's fault. LOL

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I love it that the four eyes bit is just kind of thrown in there. Maybe he was wearing glasses?... :D

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

jaybird said...

Very interesting. I have been accused of having four eyes by my kids. Although they swear two are on the back of my head. Ha.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on now, having four eyes is quite tame for a mythological figure! ;)

farawayeyes said...

Never heard of this guy before. Very interesting.

J.L. Campbell said...

Dunno the significance of having 4 eyes, but I wouldn't stand around if I saw him coming!

Jo said...

Maybe if he hadn't had four eyes, their writing would have been simpler.

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