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Posted: 2005-06-18, 18:40
by Luís
Psi-Lord wrote:And if you want to laugh a bit (or just get pissed off, hehe), check http://www.wbschool.org/chinesecharacters.htm.


:)

When I had Classical Chinese Culture classes last semester, we talked about chinese creation myths for a while. Curiously enough, some of the details are really similar to what we have in the West (and namely in the Bible).

For instance, 盘古 (Pangu), creator of the universe:

"In the beginning there was nothing except chaos"

"Pangu separated Yin from Yang with his giant axe, creating the Earth and the Sky, which became thus separated".

Or the story of 女娲 (Nüwa), who created the world in 7 days, making human beings out of clay.

Sounds familiar? ;)

Posted: 2005-06-19, 9:55
by 勺园之鬼
I hope you don't mind that I divided that, I would like to keep the conversation on the other thread on the topic, and this is interesting enough to open another thread.

Here is a text about 女娲 that might make you interested:

女娲

女娲是中国历史神话传说中的一位女神。与伏羲为兄妹。人首蛇身,相传曾炼五色石以补天,并抟土造人,制嫁娶之礼,延续人类生命,造化世上生灵万物。 女娲是中华民族伟大的母亲,她慈祥地创造了我们,又勇敢的照顾我们免受天灾。是被民间广泛而又长久崇拜的创世神和始祖神。她神通广大化生万物,每天至少能创造出七十样东西。

《太平御览》:女娲在造人之前,与正月初一创造出鸡,初二创造狗,初三创造羊,初四创造猪,初六创造马,初七这一天,女娲用黄土和水,仿照自己的样子造出了一个个小泥人,她造了一批又一批,觉得太慢,于是用一根藤条,沾满泥浆,挥舞起来,一点一点的泥浆洒在地上,都变成了人。为了让人类永远的流传下去,她创造了嫁娶之礼,自己充当媒人,让人们懂得「造人」的方法,凭自己的力量传宗接代。另一种传说《独异志》是:女娲是与伏羲为兄妹。当宇宙初开时,天地之间只有他们兄妹二人,在昆仑山下,而天下未有其它人民。相议想为夫妻,又自觉羞耻。兄即与妹上昆仑山,咒曰:「天若同意我兄妹二人为夫妻,请您将天上的云都合起来一团,要不就把云散了吧。」以是天上的云立即合起来,他们俩就成了夫妻,中华民族都是他们俩的子孙后代。

女娲补天的记录见于《淮南子》:在洪荒时代,水神共工和火神祝融因故吵架而大打出手, 最后祝融打败了共工,水神共工因打输而羞愤的朝西方的不周山撞去, 哪知那不周山是撑天的柱子,不周山崩裂了,撑支天地之间的大柱断折了,天倒下了半边,出现了一个大窟窿,地也陷成一道道大裂纹,山林烧起了大火,洪水从地底下喷涌出来,龙蛇猛兽也出来吞食人民。人类面临着空前大灾难。

女娲目睹人类遭到如此奇祸,感到无比痛苦,于是决心补天,以终止这场灾难。她选用各种各样的五色石子,架起火将它们熔化成浆,用这种石浆将残缺的天窟窿填好,随后又斩下一只大龟的四脚,当作四根柱子把倒塌的半边天支起来。女娲还擒杀了残害人民的黑龙,刹住了龙蛇的嚣张气焰。最后爲了堵住洪水不再漫流,女娲还收集了大量芦草,把它们烧成灰,埋塞向四处铺开的洪流。

经过女娲一番辛劳整治,苍天总算补上了,地填平了,水止住了,龙蛇猛兽敛迹了,人民又重新过着安乐的生活。但是这场特大的灾祸毕竟留下了痕迹。从此天还是有些向西北倾斜,因此太阳、月亮和衆星晨都很自然地归向西方,又因爲地向东南倾斜,所以一切江河都往那里汇流。当天空出现彩虹的时候,就是我们伟大的女娲的补天神石的彩光。

女娲劳苦功高,在西汉的《运斗枢元命苞》中,女娲被列为和她的哥哥伏羲、尝百草救人无数的神农为中华民族人始之初的三皇。

Taken from: http://www.greatchinese.net/emperors/ruwa.htm

I am rather in a hurry so I won't explain/comment/translate for now. ;)

Posted: 2005-06-19, 10:19
by Luís
Unfortunately, I can't understand that Chinese text.

One characteristic about these myths is that they have dozens of versions (for instance, when it comes to which part of Pangu's body gave origin to what or what exactly Nüwa did).

Here's one version of each myth:

In the beginning there was darkness everywhere, and Chaos ruled. Within the darkness there formed an egg, and inside the egg the giant Pangu came into being. For aeons, safely inside the egg, Pangu slept and grew. When he had grown to gigantic size he stretched his huge limbs and in so doing broke the egg. The lighter parts of the egg floated upwards to form the heavens and the denser parts sank downwards, to become the earth. And so was formed earth and sky, Yin and Yang.


Pangu saw what had happened and he was pleased. But he feared that heaven and earth might meld together again, so he placed himself between them, his head holding up the sky and his feet firmly upon the earth. Pangu continued to grow at a rate of ten feet a day for 18,000 years, so increasing the distance between heaven and earth, until they seemed fixed and secure, 30,000 miles apart. Now exhausted, Pangu went back to sleep and never woke up.

Pangu died, and his body went to make the world and all its elements. The wind and clouds were formed from his breath, his voice was thunder and lightning, his eyes became the sun and moon, his arms and his legs became the four directions of the compass and his trunk became the mountains. His flesh turned into the soil and the trees that grow on it, his blood into the rivers that flow and his veins into paths men travel. His body hair became the grass and herbs, and his skin the same, while precious stones and minerals were formed from his bones and teeth. His sweat became the dew and the hair of his head became the stars that trail throughout heaven. As for the parasites on his body, these became the divers races of humankind.

Although Pangu is dead, some say he is still responsible for the weather, which fluctuates according to his moods
.

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"Pangu saw what had happened and he was pleased."
This sounds familiar too ;)

She and her husband Fu Xi, the first of the San Huang, are often called the "parents of humankind", as in one myth they were said to be ancestors of humankind. With Fu Xi she is often depicted with the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a snake or dragon as it was in the form of dragons that she and her husband carved out the rivers of the world and drained the floods.

She is charged with the upkeep and maintenance of the Wall of Heaven , whose collapse would obliterate everything.

The Creation of the Human Race
It is said that Nüwa existed in the beginning of the world. She felt lonely as there were no animals so she began the creation of animals and humans. On the first day she created chickens. On the second day she created dogs. On the third day she created sheep. On the forth day she created pigs. On the fifth day she created cows. On the sixth day she created horses. On the seventh day she began creating men from yellow clay, sculpting each one individually, yet after she had created hundreds of figures in this way she still had more to make but had grown tired of the laborious process. So instead of hand crafting each figure, she dipped a rope in clay and flicked it so blobs of clay landed everywhere; each of these blobs became a person. In this way, the story relates, were nobles and commoners created from the hand crafted figures and the blobs respectively. Another variation on this story relates that some of the figures melted in the rain as Nüwa was waiting for them to dry and in this way sickness and physical abnormalities came into existence.
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Posted: 2005-08-03, 4:39
by chavier
太平御览》:女娲在造人之前,与正月初一创造出鸡,初二创造狗,初三创造羊,初四创造猪,初六创造马,初七这一天,女娲用黄土和水,仿照自己的样子造出了一个个小泥人,她造了一批又一批,觉得太慢,于是用一根藤条,沾满泥浆,挥舞起来,一点一点的泥浆洒在地上,都变成了人。
we have a festival from this myth, called Renri(人日),that means everybody's birthday! It is on the seventh day of the the first lunar month, that' when Nvwa created the humans。But i think this this festival is just known in some southern provinces where the old customs still can be found!