The Goddess Nvwa (女娲) Made Humans

In the Western myth, a god made people. This god made the male, “Adam” by clay, and made the female, “Eve” by a rib of Adam. In the Oriental myth, there was a story that a goddess made people. The goddess was called Nvwa. When the sky and the land were separated, a goddess named Nvwa appeared. She walked in the desolate earth, and felt lonely. So she used yellow clay to knead into humans according to her figures. Soon she got tired of making humans one by one, and she thought out a better method for making many humans. She dipped a cord into the slurry of yellow clay, and then she swung the cord around swiftly. The slurry splashed down, and turned into many humans. Because some humans were kneaded by Nvwa herself, they became nobles. The other humans were made by the splashed slurry, so they became the common people. These humans increased gradually and formed the human world.

Regarding the origin of humans, there was another myth. In the figures of the carved stones of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Nvwa and her older brother Fuxi (伏羲) had a human head and a snake body. Nvwa held a moon, and Fuxi held a sun. They copulated and bore humans. This myth was from primitive times, because there was often consanguineous mating in primitive society. The Occidental myth shows the snake as an evil animal, but in the Oriental myth, the snake was a divine animal. The totem of the Oriental dragon was from the image of a snake.

According to a myth in Huainanzi (淮南子) which is a book of the Western Han Dynasty, Nvwa is recorded as doing something else. In the very remote era, the heaven split and the land sank. There were floods everywhere. In order to rescue humans, Nvwa patched the heaven by stones of five colors. She also cut four legs of a huge turtle and used them to sustain the heaven. She then killed a black evil dragon, controlled the floodwaters, and then brought peace to people.

The myth that the goddess Nvwa made people was from primitive matriarchal society, because people respected the divine power of a woman at that time. The primitive matriarchal society influenced Huaxia Nation deeply, the proof being that the Chinese characters contained in these very old family names had a same radical, the character of the “Female” (女).

Oriental Style
Since February 6th, 2006
Copyright © Yike Jiang