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Nine tales about Chinese jade

Updated: 2018-08-07 14:51:15

( Chinaculture.org )

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An illustration of Nüwa mending the sky with a five-colored stone. [Photo/Xinhua.com]

Nü wa Bu Tian/ Nüwa mends the sky

Nüwa is an ancient goddess in Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the pillar of heaven. In Huainanzi, a Chinese philosophical classic completed around 2 BCE, the four pillars supporting heaven were broken, a fire blazed and a flood plagued human beings. Nüwa smelted a five-colored stone to patch up the sky and saved numerous lives. Then, she scattered the remainder of the stone on the earth, which turned into all kinds of jade. The five-colored stone symbolizes the five basic elements composing life: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

Inspired by the tale of the five-colored-stone, legendary stories have been created in Chinese literature. In A Dream of Red Mansions by Cao Xueqin, the hero Jia Baoyu was an incarnation of a piece of the magical five-colored stone left by Nüwa, who developed human emotions and descended to earth to experience human life. He was named Baoyu, literally priceless jade, because he was born with a beautiful jade in his mouth. In Journey to the West, the leading character Monkey King was depicted as a creation out of a stone from a holy mountain and possessed unearthly powers at birth.

Nüwa is believed to be the ancestry of Chinese people. In Chinese mythology, human beings were nearly extinct after severe natural catastrophes. Nüwa and her brother Fuxi were the only two left on earth, to maintain reproduction, she married Fuxi and gave birth to the earliest Chinese.

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