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by Micha F. Lindemans
The Chinese creator goddess who created the first humans from yellow earth, after Heaven and Earth had separated. Since this process was too tedious and time-consuming she dipped a rope into mud and then swung it about her. Soon the earth around her was covered with lumps of mud. The handmade figurines became the wealthy and the noble; those that arose from the splashes of mud were the poor and the common.

Nü-gua is one of the most popular goddesses and is worshipped both as the intermediary between men and women, and as the goddess who grants children. She invented the whistle, instituted marriage and instructed mankind in the art of building dams and channels for irrigation. Nü-gua is also credited with the restoration of the universe after it had been devastated by the monster Gong Gong.

A particular myth tells that at a certain time the cardinal points where no longer in the proper place, exposing the nine realms. Nü-gua melted colored stones to mend the azure skies, cut off the lags of a turtle to support the cardinal points, and slayed a black dragon to save the land of Qi. Another myths states that beyond the northwesters ocean there live ten ghosts who were fashioned from her bowels.

Her alleged husband (and brother) is the god Fu Xi. Like her brother, the lower part of her body is portrayed as that of a dragon. When they are represented together, their tails are intertwined. She holds a compass, the symbol of Earth, and her husband holds a set square, the symbol of Heaven.

The name of Nü-gua in traditional Chinese format.
The name of Nü-gua in traditional Chinese format.

Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Nu Kwa

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