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Encyclopedia > Pangu
For the 1st century Chinese historian, see Ban Gu.

Pangu (Traditional: 盤古; Simplified: 盘古; pinyin: Pángǔ; Wade-Giles: P'an ku) was the first living being and the creator of all in Chinese mythology. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... For the Chinese deity, see Pangu. ... Traditional Chinese characters refers to one of two standard sets of printed Chinese characters. ... Simplified Chinese character (Simplified Chinese: or ; traditional Chinese: or ; pinyin: or ) is one of two standard sets of Chinese characters of the contemporary Chinese written language. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written form. ...

Contents

The Pangu legend

In the beginning there was nothing in the universe except a formless chaos. However this chaos began to coalesce into a cosmic egg for eighteen thousand years. Within it, the perfectly opposed principles of yin and yang became balanced and Pangu emerged (or woke up) from the egg. Pangu is usually depicted as a primitive, hairy giant with horns on his head (like the Greek Pan) and clad in furs. Pangu set about the task of creating the world: he separated Yin from Yang with a swing of his giant axe, creating the Earth (murky Yin) and the Sky (clear Yang). To keep them separated, Pangu stood between them and pushed up the Sky. This task took eighteen thousand years, with each day the sky grew ten feet higher, the Earth ten feet wider, and Pangu ten feet taller. In some versions of the story, Pangu is aided in this task by the four most prominent beasts, namely the Turtle, the Qilin, the Phoenix, and the Dragon. For other uses, see Universe (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Chaos (disambiguation). ... Mythology A world egg or cosmic egg is a mythological motif used in the creation myths of many cultures and civilizations. ... Japanese name Kanji: Hiragana: Vietnamese name Vietnamese: In Chinese philosophy yin and yang (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) are generalized descriptions of the antitheses or mutual correlations in human perceptions of phenomena in the natural world, combining to create a unity of opposites in the theory of the Taiji. ... Jack the Giant-Killer by Arthur Rackham. ... Pan (Greek , genitive ) is the Greek god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music: paein means to pasture. ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... For other uses, see Sky (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Turtle (disambiguation). ... A qilin of the Qing dynasty in Beijings Summer Palace A painting by the court artist depicting one of Zheng Hes giraffes in 1414. ... Chinese Phoenix sculpture, Nanning city, Guangxi province. ... Japanese name Hiragana: KyÅ«jitai: Shinjitai: Korean name Hangul: Hanja: Thai name Thai: Vietnamese name Quoc Ngu: Han Tu: The Chinese dragon is a mythical Chinese creature that also appears in other East Asian cultures, and is also sometimes called the Oriental (or Eastern) dragon. ...


After the eighteen thousand years had elapsed, Pangu was laid to rest. His breath became the wind; his voice the thunder; left eye the sun and right eye the moon; his body became the mountains and extremes of the world; his blood formed rivers; his muscles the fertile lands; his facial hair the stars and milky way; his fur the bushes and forests; his bones the valuable minerals; his bone marrows sacred diamonds; his sweat fell as rain; and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became human beings all over the world. The distance from Earth and Sky at the end of the 18,000 years would have been 65,700,000 feet, or over 12,443 miles. For other uses, see Wind (disambiguation). ... Thunder is the sound made by lightning. ... Sol redirects here. ... This article is about Earths moon. ... For other uses, see Mountain (disambiguation). ... Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ...


The first writer to record the myth of Pangu was Xu Zheng (徐整) during the Three Kingdoms (三國) period. Xú ZhÄ›ng (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Shu Zheng, 220 - 265 AD) was a Three Kingdoms (三國) period Daoist author of the Three Five Historic Records (Chinese: ; pinyin: , literally: Three Five Calendar). The 3-5 refers to the Three August Ones and Five Emperors (三皇五帝). Categories: | | | ... The Three Kingdoms period (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a period in the history of China, part of an era of disunity called the Six Dynasties. ...


Source documents

  • Xu Zheng (徐整; pinyin: Xú Zhěng; 220-265 AD), in the book "Three Five Historic Records" (三五歷紀; pinyin: Sānwǔ Lìjì, Sanwu Liji), is the first to mention Pangu in the story "Pangu Separates the Sky from the Earth".
  • Ge Hong (葛洪; pinyin: Gě Hóng; 284-364 AD), in the book "Master of Preserving Simplicity Inner Writings" (抱朴子内篇; pinyin: Baopuzi Neipian), describes Pangu (ETC Werner, Myths & Legends of China, 1922).
  • Ouyang Xun (欧阳询; pinyin: Ōuyáng Xún; 557-641 AD), in the book "Classified Anthology of Literary Works" (藝文類聚; pinyin: Yiwen Leiju), also refers to Pangu.
  • Carus, Paul (1852-1919) in the book "Chinese Astrology, Early Chinese Occultism" (1974) based on an earlier book by the same author "Chinese Thought", published in 1907.

Xú Zhěng (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Shu Zheng, 220 - 265 AD) was a Three Kingdoms (三國) period Daoist author of the Three Five Historic Records (Chinese: ; pinyin: , literally: Three Five Calendar). The 3-5 refers to the Three August Ones and Five Emperors (三皇五帝). Categories: | | | ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Ge Hong(葛洪) (284-364, also known as Zhichuan) was a minor southern official during the Jin dynasty (263-420), best known for his interest in Daoism, alchemy, and techniques of longevity. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Ouyang Xun (歐陽詢 pinyin: ou1yang2 xun2; aka Ouyang Hsun) (557 - 641 AD) was a Confucian scholar and calligrapher of the early Tang Dynasty (唐朝). In 622 AD he was one of three who compiled the Classics Anthology of Literary Works (藝文類聚, pinyin: yi4wen2 lei4ju4, Yiwen Leiju). ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... The Yiwen Leiju (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; literally Collection of Literature Arranged by Categories) is a Chinese encyclopedia completed during the Tang Dynasty by the calligrapher Ouyang Xun (歐陽詢). It was divided into 47 sections and many subsections. ...

Origin of this myth

Three main views emerge to describe the origin of the Pangu myth.

  1. The first is that the story is indigenous, and developed or was transmitted through time to Xu Zheng. The evidence for this is slender indeed. It can only be assumed from the following discussion:
    Senior Scholar Wei Juxian states that the Pangu story is derived from Western Zhou Dynasty (西周朝) stories 1000 years earlier. He cites the story of Zhong (重) and Li (黎) in the "Chuyu" section of the ancient classics Guoyu (國語). In it, the King Zhao of Chu asked Guanshefu (观射父) a question: "What did ancient classic "Zhou Shu" mean by the sentence that Zhong and Li caused the heaven and earth to disconnect from each other?" The "Zhou Shu" sentence he refers to is about an earlier person, Luu Xing, who is having a conversation with the King Mu of Zhou (周穆王). King Mu's reign is much earlier and dates to about 1001 to 946 BC. In their conversation, they discuss the "disconnection" between heaven and earth.
  2. An indirect but possibly more substantive conclusion is that China is unique in not "creating" its creator. In this view, Xu Zheng (徐整) (or a relatively recent predecessor) perpetuates the Pangu myth from other cultural influences:
    Professor Qin Naichang, head of the Guangxi Institute for Nationality Studies proposes the myth originated in Laibin city, Guangxi, in the center of the Pearl River Valley. He believes that there are older stories of Pangu from this region and that they originally involved two people. He suggests China has no myth about the creation of the universe and that the Chinese mythology of Pangu had came from India, Egypt, or Babylon. Apparently, this story mingled in with the origin stories of other cultures, eventually changing into the later narrative more popular today.
    This is professor Naichang's reconstruction of the true creation myth preceding the myth of Pangu. Note that it is not actually a creation myth:
    "A brother and his sister became the only survivors of the prehistoric Deluge by crouching in a gourd that floated on water. The two got married afterwards, and a mass of flesh in the shape of a whetstone was born. They chopped it and the pieces turned into large crowds of people, who began to reproduce again. The couple were named 'Pan' and 'Gou' in the Zhuang ethnic language, which stand for whetstone and gourd respectively."
  3. From Paul Carus, Chinese Astrology, Early Chinese Occultism, 1974, from an earlier book by the same author, Chinese Thought, 1907, Chapter on “Chinese Occultism.” Note: in 1907 the Wade-Giles system of transliteration was used.
    “P’an-Ku: The basic idea of the yih philosophy was so convincing that it almost obliterated the Taoist cosmology of P’an-Ku who is said to have chiseled the world out of the rocks of eternity. Though the legend is not held in high honor by the literati, it contains some features of interest which have not as yet been pointed out and deserve at least an incidental comment.
    “P’an-Ku is written in two ways: one means in literal translations, “basin ancient”, the other “basin solid”. Both are homophones, i.e., they are pronounced the same way; and the former may be preferred as the original and correct spelling. Obviously the name means “aboriginal abyss,” or in the terser German, Urgrund, and we have reason to believe it to be a translation of the Babylonian Tiamat, “the Deep.”
    “The Chinese legend tells us that P’an-Ku’s bones changed to rocks; his flesh to earth; his marrow, teeth and nails to metals; his hair to herbs and trees; his veins to rivers; his breath to wind; and his four limbs became pillars marking the four corners of the world, -- which is a Chinese version not only of the Norse myth of the Giant Ymir, but also of the Babylonian story of Tiamat.
    “Illustrations of P’an-Ku represent him in the company of supernatural animals that symbolize old age or immortality, viz., the tortoise and the crane; sometimes also the dragon, the emblem of power, and the phenix, the emblem of bliss.
    “When the earth had thus been shaped from the body of P’an-Ku, we are told that three great rivers successively governed the world: first the celestial, then the terrestrial, and finally the human sovereign. They were followed by Yung-Ch’eng and Sui-Jen (i.e., fire-man) the later being the Chinese Prometheus, who brought the fire down from heaven and taught man its various uses.
    “The Prometheus myth is not indigenous to Greece, where it received the artistically classical form under which it is best known to us. The name, which by an ingenious afterthought is explained as “the fore thinker,” is originally the sanskrit pramantha and means “twirler” or “fire-stick,” being the rod of hard wood which produced fire by rapid rotation in a piece of soft wood.
    “We cannot deny that the myth must have been known also in Mesopotamia, the main center of civilization between India and Greece, and it becomes probable that the figure Sui-Jen has been derived from the same prototype as the Greek Prometheus.”

Xú ZhÄ›ng (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Shu Zheng, 220 - 265 AD) was a Three Kingdoms (三國) period Daoist author of the Three Five Historic Records (Chinese: ; pinyin: , literally: Three Five Calendar). The 3-5 refers to the Three August Ones and Five Emperors (三皇五帝). Categories: | | | ... This article is about the ancient Chinese dynasty. ... Guoyu (國語) is a classical Chinese history book that was written during the Spring and Autumn Period. ... State of Chu (small seal script, 220 BC) Chu (楚) was a kingdom in what is now southern China during the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BCE) and Warring States Period (481-212 BCE). ... King Mo of Zhou (ch 周穆王 zhōu mò wáng) or King Mo of Chou was the fifth sovereign of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. ... Xú ZhÄ›ng (Chinese: ; Wade-Giles: Shu Zheng, 220 - 265 AD) was a Three Kingdoms (三國) period Daoist author of the Three Five Historic Records (Chinese: ; pinyin: , literally: Three Five Calendar). The 3-5 refers to the Three August Ones and Five Emperors (三皇五帝). Categories: | | | ... Guangxi Institute for Nationalities in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China, was founded in 1952. ... Guangxi (Zhuang: Gvangjsih; old orthography: ; Simplified Chinese: 广西; Traditional Chinese: 廣西; Pinyin: GuÇŽngxÄ«; Wade-Giles: Kuang-hsi; Postal System Pinyin: Kwangsi), full name Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (Zhuang: Gvangjsih Bouxcuengh Swcigih; old orthography: ; Simplified Chinese: 广西壮族自治区; Traditional Chinese: 廣西壯族自治區; Pinyin: GuÇŽngxÄ« Zhuàngzú ZìzhìqÅ«) is a Zhuang autonomous region of... Pearl River in Guangzhou Pearl River at night, Guangzhou The Zhu Jiang, (珠江 Pinyin: ZhÅ« Jiāng), or Pearl River, is Chinas third longest river (2,200 km, after the Yangtze River and the Yellow River), and second largest by volume (after the Yangtze). ... For other uses, see Babylon (disambiguation). ...

Other Chinese creation myths

This myth appears to have been preceded in ancient Chinese literature by the existence of Shangdi or Taiyi. Other Chinese myths, such as those of Nuwa, or the Jade Emperor, try to explain how people were created; and do not necessarily represent "world creation" myths. It is important to note there are many variations of these myths. Creation beliefs and stories describe how the universe, the Earth, life, and/or humanity came into being. ... Shangdi or Shang Ti (Wade-Giles) (上帝, pinyin Shàngdì), literally translated, Lord Above or Sovreign Above, in Chinese culture, is the name used both in traditional Chinese religion as well as Christianity for a supreme deity. ... Taiyi Zhenren (Chinese: 太乙真人; Pinyin: Tàiyǐ Zhēnrén) is a famous character in Chinese folk tales. ... For the character Nu Wa in the Chinese novel Fengshen Yanyi, see Nu Wa Niang Niang Nüwa iconograph in Shan Hai Jing In Chinese mythology, Nüwa (Traditional Chinese: 女媧; Simplified Chinese: 女娲; Pinyin: nǚwā) is mythological character best known for reproducing people after a great calamity. ... The Jade Emperor (Chinese: ; pinyin: or 玉帝 Yù Dì), are known by many names including Heavenly Grandfather (天公 Tiān Gōng), the Pure August Jade Emperor, August Personage of Jade (玉皇上帝 Yu Huang Shangdi or 玉皇大帝 Yu Huang Dadi), is formally known as Peace-Absolving Central-August-Spirit Exalted-Ancient-Buddha-Most-Pious...


Pangu worship

Pangu is worshipped at a number of shrines in contemporary China. However, most if not all of these are modern creations built since the 1970s. In these shrines, Pangu is usually depicted in stereotypical "caveman" regalia, with leopard-skin tunics and long hair. Taoist symbols, such as the Bagua, are associated with Pangu in these shrines. Year 1970 ([[Rf 1970 == January 1 - The Unix epoch begins at 00:00:00 UTC January 2 - The last studio performance of The Beatles oman numerals|MCMLXX]]) was a common year starting on Thursday (link shows full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Taoism (Daoism) is the English name referring to a variety of related Chinese philosophical and religious traditions and concepts. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


See Also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pangu Separates Sky from Earth (0 words)
Between the sky and earth was Pangu, who underwent nine changes every day: His wisdom greater than that of the sky and his ability greater than that of the earth.
Pangu's beard became the stars; his four limbs, the four quadrants of the globe; his blood, the rivers and his veins and muscles, the layers of the earth.
All in all, Pangu and the universe became one.
Pangu (613 words)
PanGu is usually depicted as a primitive, hairy giant clad in furs.
PanGu set about the task of creating the world: he separated Yin from Yang with a swing of his giant axe, creating the Earth (murky Yin) and the Sky (clear Yang).
In some versions of the story, PanGu is aided in this task by the four most prominent beasts, namely the Turtle, the Qilin, the Phoenix, and the Dragon.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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