Scripts 鲧(Chinese, Japanese Kanji)
Other Forms Forms鮌
Edit Status Status [show contributors]
Meaning & History
In Chinese mythology, this is the father of Yu the Great (WENMING). He was the first person who tried to quell the Great Flood, but he failed and was either exiled or executed at Yushan (Feather Mountain). Accounts differ on the reason of his failure; some say that his reliance on dykes was a flawed solution, while others say that he was punished for stealing the xirang (a magical self-growing soil) from Heaven in order to build those dykes. According to a popular story, Gǔn’s body remained unsullied three years after his death. The fire god ZHURONG was sent to investigate and slit the belly of the corpse, upon which a dragon flew out and became Yu the Great. Gǔn’s body subsequently transformed into an animal (variously termed a bear, three-legged turtle or fish) and jumped into the Yuyuan (Feather Abyss), never to be seen again. A variant character used to write his name (鮌) is composed of the radicals for fish (鱼) and darkness (玄).