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Chinese myth of the creation of the world and mankind

Updated: 2014-12-30 15:25:56

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According to Chinese legend, the mighty Pangu, above, broke through the chaos with his strength and axe to create the world as we know it.

It may seem that every culture has its own tale about the creation of the world and the beginnings of mankind -- and China is no different. The ancient Chinese story of the beginning of the universe is replete with chaos and mythic heroes who rise above it to create order and the world as we know it.

Pangu Created the World

Accordint to Chinese lore, in the beginning there was nothing in the universe but a dark, formless chaos. The mythic hero Pangu, who had been sleeping in the chaos for 18,000 years, woke up. When he realized that he was confined to this dark and chaotic environment, he decided to break out. He mightily swung his giant axe to smash through the chaos. This caused the lighter parts of the universe to rise up and become the sky, while the heavier parts sunk down and became the earth. In order to keep the sky and earth separated, Pangu stood between them and exerted himself to push up the sky. With each day the sky grew higher and the earth grew wider.

After another 18,000 years immersed in the nascent universe, Pangu thought his job was done and he lay down to rest. Then his breath became wind and cloud; voice became thunder; his left eye became the sun and right eye the moon; his hair became stars in the sky; his blood became the rivers and lakes; his muscles became the fertile lands; his bones became minerals; his sweat fell as rain; and his fur became forests and grasslands.

That's the beginning of the world.

Nüwa Created Mankind

Nüwa is a goddess in ancient Chinese legend known for creating mankind and repairing the sky. It is said that Nüwa existed in the beginning of the world and created men from yellow clay. At first, she sculpted each human individually. But she found that she needed a more efficient way to make more people. So she dipped a rope in clay and flicked it. Then blobs of clay landed everywhere and each of these blobs became a person.

But later there was a fight between the god of water Gonggong and the god of fire Zhurong. When Gonggong lost the fight, he smashed his head against Mount Buzhou out of fury. Since Mount Buzhou was a pillar holding up the sky, the sky began to fall and caused a lot of damage. Because of that, people's lives became miserable. Nüwa was really concerned about her people so she picked out colorful stones in Mount Tiantai and used them to seal the broken sky. In this way peace and happiness returned to mankind.

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