Pai Cow History

Pai Cow is a small, yellow cow-like cow that lives in the mountains of central China. Her name comes from the Chinese phrase,"Pai meaning low; chi meaning high". She's reported to be the ancestor of the Mongolia Men's Uul, considered by some historians to be the first herd animal domesticated. The Pai Cow is deemed sacred in the civilization of Szechwan province in China. A unique festival celebrating the olden times of the Pai tribe is celebrated in the spring when the cow is honored with offerings, dances and songs.

1 story states that Pai dwelt with a herd of reindeer in the north of Mongolia. 1 day, the reindeer started to go missing and Pai started to look for them. She eventually found one in a deep crevice. The other reindeer came to see her and they ran off together. This was their final meeting.


Another version of the origin story says that Pai cowherds were tending reindeer and they cared for them until one night they lost their way. They came at the edge of a lake where a hippo had washed up. Hearing the cries of the frightened hippo, Pai jumped into the water to save her cows but forgot her knife.

The hippo bit into the Cow's flesh and pulled it as she cowered nearby. The frightened hippo bit off its leg so it could no longer walk and another reindeer tried to assist the wounded hippo up but they also became frightened. Looking to save the cows, Pai paddled towards them fell prey to the hippo's strong bite. Another reindeer ran off while the Cow stumbled backwards.

Nobody knows for certain how Pai came to be. One account states that she was the daughter of the Emperor Kangxi and the mother of the Emperor Mingyao. Some historians believe that Pai was the daughter of Khaeko who married a Kung Lung and later came to be called Kema. Still others state that Pai was the daughter of an honoured Buddha and the title is taken from the Brahma temple where Buddha attained Nirvana.

Pai had two daughters, Siau and Rhea. Siau became the first wife of Kema while Rhea was married to Tsoo who was the son of Nanda. The family lived in the Southern area of Manchuria, where there were many lakes and rivers. There are lots of monuments in the region which give some idea concerning the lifestyle they practiced.

When I was researching my book The Gods of Amethyst, I Discovered Pai's tomb at the temple near the Xingjian Pass. The tomb dates back to around 200 BC and included the bones of Pai's age-old son. It is believed that the child was adopted or died of asphyxiation. No toys or articles were found in the grave. It's possible that this was the first Chinese Buddhist temple.

Legend has it that Pai had ten children but none survived to adulthood. She took her final child with her on a trip to the heavenly abode but before she left him, she spread a white silk flower before her son begging him to eat it. This was the source of this legend concerning the white silk blossom. I have discovered that Pai cow is associated with the moon goddess because the moon reflects feminine power in Chinese belief.

Pai Cow coins are very popular today. They are very pleasing to the eye given their distinctive round shape. Some have been made with an oblong shaped oblong coin in the middle and then encircling it's smaller circular motifs of animals, plants or geometric figures. These coins are usually easy to recognize given their distinctive appearance.

They are usually encrusted with gemstones given its association with the moon goddess. A popular variety is the"Three Treasures" given to the child on his birthday. The motifs surrounding the cow are the ears of a ram, a rainbow, a pot and a lampshade. The cow itself is adorned with little stars surrounding its forehead.

Today the Pai Cow remains widely used by Chinese people especially during festive occasions such as New Year's Day and Holidays. The interesting history of this cow may be passed on from generation to generation. They are also used by some Chinatown restaurants. They are considered somewhat of a status symbol for the educated members of Chinese society.

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