Episode 1: Wonder Woman

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Who created us human beings? Maybe nobody created us and we are just the processes of the universe. In the Bible, Adam is the first human being and creates Eve. Why did men come before women? Because we are living in a patriarchal society. However, in Chinese mythology, Nvwa 女娲, who is a female, created the mankind. which makes more sense biologically. Nv means female in Chinese.

Xiaoyuncong_nvwa

Nvwa 女娲 is the mother goddess of Chinese mythology. When we talk about goddess, what is the image in your mind? In the prehistorical time, goddess were fertility figures and in Greek mythology goddess are always those strong and beautiful women. I don’t know how pretty Nvwa was but she had a snake body. In the book ChuCi 楚辞, from around 220 BC, the Chapter TianWen天问, which means Heavenly Questions, it says she has a human head with a snake body and created 70 things a day. This is a typical image in the later Chinese literature for a pretty lady maybe because how females move is like how snakes move.

The reason she decided to create mankind is that one day she walked along the Yellow River and she saw her reflection and felt lonely and she thought “Hmm, I need somebody else looks like me in this world”. If horses had god, the god would look like horses. She tried to create human based on herself however I don’t know why we don’t have snake bodies. One version of the myth says on the day she created mankind, other gods came to help. Some helped her with the creation of Yin and Yang, some helped with ears and eyes, and some helped with arms and hands. The other well-known version of the story, which can be found in the book Four Great books of Song, from 960- 1279 AD, is that she used yellow clay to make people maybe the color of clay is like Asian’s skin color. Myths is a reflection of history. It seems people at that time already knew how to use clay to make things. She started with hands like the lady makes monsters out of clay in Power Rangers. It was a hard work even for a goddess to hand make clay people. So she decided to dip a rope in the mud and to swing the rope. As soon each mud drops landed on the ground, it became a person. People now still joke about good looking or smart people are made by hand and the others are made by mud drops. I don’t like this part of the story cause nobody wants to be a mud drop. The Bible says we are made of dust. However, people are equal even everyone is made of dust.

After the creation, she prayed to gods to be the goddess of marital affairs and created the marriage system. I guess she was tired of making more human by herself. Instead she let people get married and give birth to new generations. Nvwa herself married to her brother Fuxi 伏羲, one of the Three Sovereigns, which is a group of rulers or deities dated from 2852 BC to 2070 BC. There are paintings from the ancient time of Nvwa and Fuxi and they both have snake bodies. Actually people think Nvwa has the body of snake because it was what Fuxi looks like. And since they are siblings and later a couple, people drew them together with similar bodies.

nvwafuxi

 

Another story about Nvwa is recorded in HuaiNanZi 淮南子, a book from before 139 BC. It says long long time ago when the four pillars were broken, the nine provinces were in taters, the sky could not cover the land, the land could not hold up the sky, fires could not be extinguished, floods would not recede. It was a totally catastrophe. Beasts ate innocent people, birds snatched the elderly and the weak. Nvwa smelted a five-colored stone to patch the sky. She cut off the legs of a tortoise as the four pillars, killed the black dragon and piled up cinders of reeds to stop the floods. And people’s lives were saved and the world was tranquil. So the purpose of her patching the sky was to deal with the floods, which is mentioned in a lot of myths including in Bible. In the ancient time, when people didn’t know much about how to protect themselves with natural disasters they wished to have a goddess to save them and world. Nvwa is one of the them with the hope.

Terms mentioned:

女娲 Nvwa

伏羲 Fuxi

楚辞 ChuCi

淮南子HuaiNanZi

太平御览 TaiPingYuLan

Power Rangers

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