In many Indo-European ancient languages, there used to be a strong connection between the words for right and left on one side and the words for south and north1 (respectively) on the other side.
This suggests that the sacred orientation used to be facing eastwards - in the direction of the rising sun2.
In Chinese instead the character 左 (zuǒ) means both left and east (an older version than 東/东) while instead 右 (yòu) means both right and west (an older character than 西). In this case, this seems to suggest a preferred orientation towards the south.
I have, in light of this preamble, the following questions.
- Are there any evidence for ひだり (hidari) or みぎ (migi) being used in the sense of east and west respectively?
- If not, are there any older words for left and right that would be used in the sense of cardinal directions (whether in the Chinese way or in the Indo European way)?
- Celtic languages: Gaelic : deas (south and right); Gaulish dexsiuo (south and right); Old Irish desse (south and right); Welsh de (south and right); Breton *dehou
- Sanskit daksinah (south and right), Avestan dashina (south and right)
- Ancient Latin scaevus and Archaic Greek σκαιὀς (meaning both "left" the side of the shadow).
Other indications include:
- European Bronze Age tombs generally orientated towards the east.
- The word orientate itself.
- Orientation of ancient maps towards the east.