NUWA REPAIRS THE HEAVENS
July 31, 2012 in Chinese Culture Beliefs
After the death of Pangu, the universe became empty of any human presence. It was not until many, many years later that Nuwa, another ancestor of humankind, appeared. She felt so lonely, she wanted to create more people to live with her.
One day, she began to make human figures, both male and female, out of yellow clay. Strangely, each came to life as soon as she blew her breath upon them. At last, all the figures she created acquired life, forming lively company gathered around her. As they lived and worked together, the adults gave birth to children. The playful infants grew up happy and carefree, then married and had their own children.
Unfortunately, while the human beings were living peacefully on earth, the universe was suffering serious damage. The ancient Chinese believed the heavens to be round, while the earth was square; at each corner of the square earth stood a pillar that propped up the heavens. With the passage of time, the pillars had decayed. As a result, the heavens began to shake violently as if about to collapse.
Major disaster then befell humankind. Many holes appeared in the sky, through which torrential rains poured down. Some regions of the earth caught fire, while others were flooded. Ferocious wild animals exploited the disorder to prey on humans. Cruel birds dove from the sky, seizing vulnerable people with their sharp talons. Human begins were thus plunged deeply into a perilous world.
At this critical juncture Nuwa came to their rescue. She mended the holes in the sky with red, yellow, blue, white and black stones that she had melted over reed fires. Then she replace the four decayed columns with the legs of an enormous tortoise she has caught. She also killed the black dragon that had caused the torrential rain. Owing to Nuwa’s efforts, everything returned to normal, with the heavens repaired, the four supporting pillars were strengthened, the dangerous wild beasts and birds wiped out, the lands once again covered with vegetation, so that human beings were able to resume their peaceful lives. Nuwa, the great goddess, had not only created human beings but also saved them from severe calamity.