Naxi evolutionary theory?

In his 《纳西族象形文字东巴经中关于人类自然产生的朴素观》 or, loosely, ’The simplistic view that human life was naturally occurring, as found in the pictographic Naxi Dongba scriptures’ 李国文 Li Guowen states that according to Naxi scripture, humans weren’t always humans, we instead underwent a long period of historical development before becoming ‘human’.

Anyway, Li points out that the character monkey, monkey, read y21, is also used to represent y21, ‘ancestors’ in the Naxi language (as they share the same pronunciation). In Fang’s dictionary, it appears as a phonetic loan character for ‘ancestors’. It’s worth noting that father-in-law, y21 p’e33, is father-in-law; the y21 is represented phonetically by the monkey head and the p’e33 by the character for washcloth, p’e33.

Whilst Rock doesn’t note ‘ancestor’ as a common reading for y21, he does have the entry y21 gə33, oftheancestorswith the meaning “the ancestors’ (belonging to the ancestors)”. gə33 is the possessive particle in Naxi, similar to the Chinese .

But Li, while not going so far as claiming that the Naxi were the first to discover evolution, does note that the fact the monkey character is so used points to an implicit understanding that we share common ancestry with primates. I’m not quite convinced; a lot of research would need to be done to prove that it’s not just a phonetic loan, but it’s still an interesting little bit of knowledge. At any rate, some Dongba scriptures I’ve come across say that people evolved from frogs…

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