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The Universal Qualities Of Chinese Creation Myths

1550 words - 7 pages

The Universal Qualities of Chinese Creation Myths

From every culture and every generation come myths, myths that discuss things such as the existence of a god, the purpose of the sun and the moon and most importantly creation and how we came to be on this earth. Creation myths not only contain an explanation for our existence but will also say or demonstrate something distinctive about the culture from which it originated in a way unique to that culture. Despite the differences in time of their creation and the cultures from which they come, all creation myths contain universal elements, elements that can be found in creation myths from around the world. Chinese Creation myths, ...view middle of the document...

The "light" parts of the egg, the yang, rose and formed the heavens while the "heavy" parts of the egg, the yin, sank and formed the earth (Shan 1). P'an Ku had to stand between them holding up the heavens to keep them from colliding with the earth. P'an Ku, held up the heavens and stood on the earth day after day. Each moved ten feet further away from the other every day as he grew ten feet everyday:
P'an Ku's pushing caused the earth and the sky to move ten feet each day. And so it came to pass that, little by little, the earth sank lower and lower beneath the sky. And it came to pass that, little by little, the sky rose higher and higher above the earth. And the lower the earth sank, and the higher the heavens rose, the taller P'an Ku became (Rosenberg 328).

When the earth rested far below the heavens and the heavens far above the earth. P'an Ku realized that he was tired. So finally he sat down, went to sleep and died. After he died his breath turned into the winds and the clouds, his voice became the rolling thunder and lightening. One of his eyes became the sun, the other the moon. His head formed the mountains in the east while his feet formed the mountains in the west. His right arm became the mountains of the north while his left the mountains of the south. His torso became the mountains of the center. The flesh off his body became the soil and his fluids became the oceans and rivers. Veins, muscles, teeth and bones gave shape to the earth's surface while from the hair from his body generated he plants. Finally the wind blew and all of the mites that had lived on his skin became the animals, fish and people. The legend of P'an Ku is the most widely known. His character is found in the story of the goddess Nu Kua and is often used in conjunction with stories of the yin and yang. This story not only contains many universal elements that give it a similarity to all creation myths but it also says a great deal about the structure of the Chinese family.
The universal idea of the egg can be found in many creation myths. The egg symbolizes a mother's womb out of which life comes. The egg is "a symbol of the totality from which all creation comes" (Encyclopedia Britannica Online). This holds true in its use in the story of P'an Ku since from the egg came the creation of everything. The use of the egg in creation myths gives a very visual idea of creation; in your mind you can see the egg open, just like a mother's womb, and from it life is born. The egg is sometimes referred to as cosmic, and from it comes not only new life, but also the beginning of life and the possibility of "a perfect creation" (Encyclopedia Britannica Online). The idea of the egg remains familiar to us in modern times. It still plays a large role in our idea of the creation and celebration of life as our celebration of Easter demonstrates. The Chinese creation story about P'an Ku contains this universal egg, giving it a universal element...

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