Panhu (盤瓠 /pán hù/) is an important figure in Chinese mythology. The Panhu mythological complex includes myths in Chinese and also other languages. This myth has a long history of being transmitted by Han Chinese and several of the other ethnic groups of the fifty-six officially recognized by the current administration of China, both orally and in literature.[1][2] (Yang 2005:4) The Panhu myth is an important origin myth for various ethnic groups.

Basic mythEdit

The basic Panhu myth is about a dragon-dog who transformed into a man and married a princess. A King in China offered to marry his daughter to anybody that would present him with the head of his enemy. This was accomplished by Panhu. Accounts vary, but eventually Panhu and the princess had six sons and six daughters who became the famous 12 clans of chinese mythology.


There are also various variant versions.[3][4][5][6] In some the dragon-dog became transformed into a human, except for his head. (Christie 1968: 121-122)

Myth versus historyEdit

In the study of historical Chinese culture, many of the stories that have been told regarding characters and events which have been written or told of the distant past have a double tradition: one which tradition which presents a more historicized and one which presents a more mythological version. (Yang 2005:12-13) This is also true in many of the accounts related to the Panhu.


Many of the myths regarding agriculture in China are related to popular religion and ritual. In modern times, Panhu has been worshipped by the Yao people and She people as "King Pan". (Yang 2005: 52-53).


See alsoEdit

Works citedEdit

  • Christie, Anthony (1968). Chinese Mythology. Feltham: Hamlyn Publishing. ISBN 0600006379.
  • Yang, Lihui, et al. (2005). Handbook of Chinese Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533263-6