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Ancient Chinese Creation Myth with Pangu
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  11/17/11
By: Yona Williams

The giant creator god was called Pan-gu is known as the first living being and the creator of all that exists in Chinese mythology. In this article, you will learn more about the Chinese creation myth that involves the separation of Yin and Yang.


The Chinese believed that in the beginning of time, there was nothing in the universe except for chaos that took no shape. In time, the chaos gathered to form a cosmic egg for around 18,000 years. Inside the egg, the balancing of the opposing Yin and Yang took place and Pangu emerged from the egg. Some accounts say that he woke up and left the egg. The creator god is usually seen as a primitive figure covered in fur – a hairy giant with horns on his head.

One of the first myths about Pangu was written by Xu Zheng, who lived during the Three Kingdoms period. A version begins with Pangu going about creating the world. He first separated Yin from Yang using a giant axe that he swung around. Yin became Earth, while Yang represented the Sky. To keep the Yin and Yang separated, Pangu stood between the two entities and pushed the Sky upwards. It took 18,000 years for this part of creating the world to take place. With every passing day, the sky increased ten feet into the air. The Earth became ten feet wider. Pangu also grew – he became ten feet taller. Other versions of the story state that Pangu had a bit of help from four beast, including the Phoenix and the Dragon.

Following the 18,000 years, Pangu was laid to rest. His breath turned into the wind and his voice became the crackling of thunder. His left eye created the sun, while his right eye became the moon. The mountains were formed from his body. The rivers came from his blood, while his muscles became the fertile lands. The stars and Milky Way were made from his facial hair. His fur formed the bushes and forests, while his bones gave the world valuable minerals. His sweat fell down onto the earth as rain. Fleas on his fur were carried by the wind – creating fish and animals all over the land.

Nuwa the Goddess also played a role in the creation of the world. She used the mud of the water bed to form the shape of humans. Each one was individually crafted and possessed a great deal of intelligence. Making humans one-by-one no longer pleased Nuwa, so she started putting a rope in the water bed. The drops of mud that fell from it started to create new humans. These new humans were not as smart as her initial creations.

Today, there are a number of shrines found throughout contemporary China are used to worship Pangu.


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