It is widely known that the first ancestor of the Zhuang ethnic group in southwest Chinaís Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was Buluotuo (Pauloktao), but it remains a mystery as to where he was born, lived and was buried.
Through careful and profound investigation, Gu Di, a famous artist and expert on the Zhuang ethnic group, determined that the former residence of this Zhuang ancestor was in Ganzhuang Mountain in Tianyang County of the autonomous region.
A great many experts and scholars have shown interest in the discovery.
Ganzhuang Mountain is located 8 km east of Tianyang, with such scenic spots as Muniang (Motherís) Rock, Zugong (Ancestorís) Temple, Wangzi (Waiting-for-the-son) Rock, Yuanyang (Mandarin Duck) Spring, Shengshui (Holy Water) Pool and Fengdong (Cave-Sealing) Rock.
Gu Di produced his evidence to show why he believes Buluotuo once lived in Ganzhuang Mountain.
The Youjiang Basin in this area is the birthplace of ancient Zhuang civilization. In 2000, the US-based Science magazine published a cover story on research that shocked the world: Chinese and US scientists had determined the geological age of the paleontological ruins of the Baise Basin, dating back 803,000 years. These are the earliest paleontological ruins in the world to date. Buluotuo is the ancestor of the Zhuang ethnic group, so he should have lived in Youjiang Basin.
The Ancestorís Temple in Ganzhuang Mountain is used to offer sacrifices to Buluotuo. Written documents show that Ganzhuang Mountain has been a holy place for worshipping Buluotuo since the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties.
February 19, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, is the birthday of Buluotuo. From that day to March 9, Zhuang people from the neighboring counties of Tianyang, including Tiandong, Pingguo, Baise, Debao, Bama, Fengshan and Donglan, gather at the Ganzhuang Mountain to offer sacrifices. Each one holds burning incense, which looks extremely grand. In other places in Guangxi, no such scene is witnessed.
Also, the singing festival of Ganzhuang is the largest in Guangxi. It started and developed during the Qin (221BC-206BC) and Han (206BC-220AD) dynasties and had a lot to do with Buluotuo. The singing festival expanded during the Sui and Tang dynasties. Even today, after the sacrificing ceremony on the 7th day of the 3rd lunar month, the Zhuang people will sing in antiphonal styles.
Besides, Tianyang County is a place where most Buluotuo epics were found recording how he created the world. Of the 28 epics preserved by Guangxi Ancient Books Office, 14 were discovered in Tianyang. Others were found in neighboring counties. One Buluotuo epic said that Buluotuo had his home in Andong. In history, Tianzhou Town where Tianyang is now located was called Anxu. According to Gu Di, Andong referred to the Ganzhuang Mountains to the east of Anxu.
Zheng Chaoxiong, director of academic research department of Guangxi Museum, pointed out that it is impossible to accurately determine the birthplace of Buluotuo. But if Tianyang people and Zhuang people identified it as such, the whole society will accept that Tianyang was his birthplace.
Peng Yang, president of Nanning International Folk Song Art Institute, said that one could not regard Buluotuo as a real person who once lived somewhere, but should regard him as a legendary figure. In other words, Buluotuo is only a humanitarian concept. Tan Shengmin, deputy director of Guangxi Nationalities Research Institute, followed this opinion. He said that Buluotuo was an important component of the Zhuang culture. Researchers should not limit themselves in the study of where he exactly lived, but should keep his mythical coloring. He might be a god. In that case the research should focus on where he originated.
Whatís more, the Buluotuo cult is spread widely. It should be studied as a kind of culture rather than seeking proof of his existence with real materials.
(china.org.cn by Li Jinhui, September 11, 2002)