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Correspondance Orion / Scorpius

in Chinese astronomy and star lore


Study by Roland Laffitte


Very soon was established, in various cultures, a link between Orion and Scorpius, for the reason why the two figures have simultaneous rising and setting.

Thus, after MUL.APIN, the great mesopotamian Treatise dated back to the VIIth century BB, noted that:

“The Breast of the Scorpion and the She-Goat [= Lyra] rise, and the Old Man [= Perseus] and the True Shepherd of Anu [= Orion].

As for the Greek Aratos, he wrote in his Phaenomena:

“the coming of Scorpion, whose rising puts to flight even the mighty Orion”.

And this is quoted in the same way by the Latin Caius Julius Hyginus (about 64 BC – AD 17) in his Astronomia, II, 33: 

 “he sets at the rising of rear of Scorpion and at that of Sagittarius”.

For the Chinese, the xiu are lunar mansions and tehre are 28.

The xiu called Shen, “The Three”, i.e. ζεδ Ori, is considered as the opposite of Xin, “the Heart”, i.e. σατ Sco, since both asterisms are presenting a quite simultaneous rising and setting.




© Composition Roland Laffitte



And this correspondance gives to us a very beautiful legend. nights. Here is it:


As Shichen was always fighting with his elder brother Ebo, their father, Emperor Gaoxinshi decided to separate them.

Shichen was moved to Daxia (Farghana), responsible for the sacrifices to the Shen star, and Ebo to Shangqiu (Henan), in order to sacrify for the Xin star.

So the two lunar mansions were just like the brothers, who lived far away from each other and never met. Note that Ebo Tai, known as the first Chinese astronomical observatory, was established in Shangqiu…


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