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              Home History and Culture Ancient Chinese Myths and Legends
              Ancient Chinese Myths and Legends
              Learn Chinese - History and Culture

              ?Nvwa Mended the Firmament
              Chinese legends
              (chuán shuō 傳說) reflect the dreams, history, and values of the Chinese people, and they link today with the past. Many of these tales are more than a thousand years old, but they are still popular today. In China, depictions of legendary characters are printed on greeting cards and calendars, carved on door and window frames, and painted on vases. Children learn these stories in school, and through comic books and cartoons. Legends are often the basis for plays and operas. The Moon Maiden (cháng é 嫦娥), Monkey King (měi hóu wáng 美猴王), and other characters advertise products on television.

              Pan Gu Separates the Sky from the Earth

              Pan Gu Separates the Sky from the EarthThe sky and the earth were at first one blurred entity like an egg. Pan Gu (pán gǔ 盤古) was born into it. The separation of the sky and the earth took eighteen thousand years-the yang which was light and pure rose to become the sky, and the yin which was heavy and murky sank to form the earth. Between them was Pan Gu, who went through nine changes every day, his wisdom greater than that of the sky and his ability greater than that of the earth. Every day the sky rose ten feet higher, the earth became ten feet thicker, and Pan Gu grew ten feet taller. Another eighteen thousand years passed, and there was an extremely high sky, an extremely thick earth, and an extremely tall Pan Gu. Then came the Three Emperors (sān huáng 三皇): the Emperor of the Sky, the Emperor of the Earth, and the Emperor of Men.

              So these numbers came into existence and evolve like this. The numb or begins with one, becomes established at three, is completed at five, prospers at seven, and ends in nine. So the sky is ninety thousand li? (lǐ 里) from the earth.

              After the eighteen thousand years had elapsed, Pan Gu was laid to rest. His breath became the wind; his voice the thunder; left eye the sun and right eye the moon; his body became the mountains and extremes of the world; his blood formed rivers; his muscles the fertile lands; his facial hair the stars and milky way; his fur the bushes and forests; his bones the valuable minerals; his bone marrows sacred diamonds; his sweat fell as rain; and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became human beings all over the world. The distance from Earth and Sky at the end of the 18,000 years would have been 65,700,000 feet, or over 12,443 miles.

              Nvwa Mended the FirmamentNvwa Mended the Firmament

              Nvwa (nǚ wā 女媧) is the ancestor of mankind in the mythology of ancient China. As legend goes, she smelted the five-colored stones (wǔ sè shí 五色石) to mend the firmament (sky tiān 天), cut off the feet of the great turtle to support the four pillars of the universe, controlled the flood, and drove away fierce beasts so as to let the people live in peace. Another legend says, she made persons with yellow clay, and married her brother, Emperor Fuxi? (fú xī 伏羲), turning a relationship of brother and sister into a marriage, and multiplying mankind. Thus, later generations adored her as a goddess of marriage and reproduction, especially in charge of matters of copulation between men and women. Learners of cultural history regard her as a goddess that came into being in the era of worship of the female genital organ.

              The popular story of "Nvwa Mended the Sky"? (nǚ wā bǔ tiān 女媧補天) was noted in "Huainanzi" (huái nán zǐ 淮南子), written in Western Han? (xī hàn 西漢) (206 B.C.-24). It says, "In remote antiquity, the four poles of the universe collapsed, the sky cracked open, the earth was no longer able to support everything, fire ran wild everywhere without ceasing, and flood overflowed out of control. Fierce beasts ate common people, and ferocious birds attacked the old and the weak. Hence, Nvwa smelted the five-colored stones to mend the sky, cut off the feet of the great turtle to support the four poles, killed the black dragon to help the earth, and gathered the ash of reed to stop the flood."


              Pan Gu and Nvwa????? 中國古代神話反映了中國古代的歷史文化、人民的美好愿望和價值觀念,成為聯結古今的紐帶。許多美麗動人的古代神話傳說已經擁有上千年的歷史,卻仍然 膾炙人口,在華夏大地上廣為流傳,成為人們心中永不退色的神話傳說。遠古神話在民間流傳很廣,它給人以鼓舞和啟發,促使人們把神奇的幻想變為現實。遠古神 話對中國文學的發展影響很大,后世的許多著名作家都從古代神話中吸取營養,創作出了優美、動人的文學篇章。

              ????? 這個神話出自宋代《太平御覽》卷二引遺失的三國吳人徐整的《三五歷紀》:

              ????? “天地渾沌如雞子。盤古生在其中。萬八千歲。天地開辟。陽清為天。陰濁為地。盤古在其中。一日九變。神于天。圣于地。天日高一丈。地日厚一丈。盤古日長一 丈。如此萬八千歲。天數極高。地數極深。盤古極長。故天去地九萬里。后乃有三皇。天氣蒙鴻,萌芽茲始,遂分天地,肇立乾坤,啟陰感陽,分布元氣,乃孕中和,是為人也。首生盤古。垂死化身。氣成風云。聲為雷霆。左眼為日。右眼為月。四肢五體為四極五岳。血液為江河。筋脈為地里。肌肉為田土。發為星辰。皮膚 為草木。齒骨為金石。精髓為珠玉。汗流為雨澤。身之諸蟲。因風所感?;癁槔璁m。"

              ????? 女媧的神話則出自《淮南子·覽冥訓》,全文如下:Nvwa Mended the Firmament
              ????? “往古之時,四極廢,九州裂,天不兼覆,地不周載,火濫(liàn)焱而不滅,水浩洋而不息,猛獸食顓民,鷙鳥攫老弱。于是,女媧煉五色石以補蒼天,斷鰲足以立四極,殺黑龍以濟冀州,積蘆灰以止淫水。蒼天補,四極正;淫水涸,冀州平;狡蟲死,顓民生;背方州,抱圓天。”
              ????? 久遠的過去,支撐天地四方的四根柱子倒了,大地裂開;天不能普遍地覆蓋萬物,地不能全面地容載萬物;火燒猛烈而不熄滅,水泛濫成災而不停止;兇猛的野獸吃善良的百姓,兇猛的鳥用爪抓取老人和小孩。于是,女媧冶煉五色石來修補蒼天的漏洞,砍斷巨龜的腳來做撐起四方的擎天柱,殺死黑龍來拯救冀州,用蘆灰來堵塞洪水。天空被修補了,天地四方的柱子重新豎立了起來,洪水退了,中國的大地上恢復了平整,兇猛的鳥獸都死了,善良的百姓生存下來。


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