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Reflections: flood vessels

Wee Kek Koon

 

I've never been to Noah's Ark at Ma Wan, and probably won't ever go because theme parks are not really my thing.

It has been claimed that the biblical account of Noah's Ark was ripped off from the flood story in Mesopotamian poem Epic of Gilgamesh, a clay replica of which was on display at The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of History, which ended last month.

Some scholars have countered that the biblical version of the tale may be the older, having been passed down orally before being written in scripture. Whatever the case, it's almost certain that - given the prevalence of flood stories in the myths of many cultures - the ancient world did experience a deluge of significant proportions. It's up to the individual to believe whether it was a natural event or divine punishment.

The Chinese also have their flood stories. There's the tale of Fu Xi and his sister, Nü Wa, who took refuge in a huge gourd when the gods flooded the world to clear it of mankind and his sins. After the flood subsided, brother and sister married and repopulated the world.

The legend of Yu taming the waters may contain more than a grain of truth. China's central plains were devastated by rivers bursting their banks and Yu redirected their flow and saved the people. The Great Yu went on to found the Xia dynasty (circa 2070-1600BC).

 

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