The Goddess Nyuwa Made Humans

In the Western myth, God made people. God made the male named Adam by clay, and made the female named Eve by a rib of Adam. In the Oriental myth, there was a story that a goddess made people. The goddess was called Nyuwa (女娲).

When the sky and the land were separated, the goddess Nyuwa 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 Nyuwa 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, Nyuwa and her older brother Fuxi (伏羲) had a human head and a snake body. Nyuwa 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 recorded in the book Huai Nan Zi (淮南子) which was written in the Western Han Dynasty, in the very remote era, the heaven split and the land sank, and there were floods everywhere. In order to rescue humans, Nyuwa 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 Nyuwa made people may originate from the belief of the primitive matriarchal society. The matriarchal times influenced the early Chinese nation very deeply, so that the earliest Chinese family names almost all had the same Chinese radical, the character of “female” (女).

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