This is a transcription of an interview with a friend from high school, identified as A. In this piece, I am identified as IC.
A: There is this one popular creation story in Chinese mythology that centers around a deity called 盤古 (pan gu). At first, he wasn’t really he wasn’t regarded as a deity. The world was in this free existence stage where nothing really existed yet. All of this nothing, like condensed into an egg which broke open and pan gu emerged. He pushed the sky out while he kept the earth down with his legs, so that’s where we get sky and earth.
Then, after like 18,000 years of us holding it like this he finally died, and his body decomposed to become different things. His breath became the wind; voice became thunder; left eye became the sun and his right eye, the moon.
His head became the mountains and his blood became like rivers another liquid stuff. His facial hair became the stars and he also had fur, so its fur became bushes and forests. The fleas on his fur were carried by the wind and became animals.
IC: So, before he died there was nothing on the earth except for the sky and the earth?
A: Yeah, and the creation of man is that many years after pan gu had died a god came around earth and thought, “wow, it’s so lonely here” and because she was a God, you know she just created clay figures and animated them with life and thus man was born.
IC: Wow, okay. That’s strange. I don’t think I’ve heard this before.
My informant is 23 years old and she is my friend from high school, which was in Hong Kong. She went to New York for college and graduated last year. She is currently working in Hong Kong.
She said she read about this story in a book somewhere and she brought this story to my attention when I was having a casual conversation about traditions and myths that she knew about. She says she doesn’t particularly believe this was how the world was created but it’s just a form that exists since different cultures have their own creation stories.
I hadn’t heard this before but hearing it was interesting, since different religions and cultures have their own way of explaining how the world came to be. For Christians, God created the world in seven days, and there’s the theory of Big Bang. I know that there is a creation myth in Korean culture, which I’m not very familiar with. I remember vaguely reading about it when I was younger. Seeing different creation stories for cultures show how they interpret something as simple yet prominent as the creation of the world.
Annotation: For another version of this myth, refer to
“Pan Gu: Chinese Tale of Creation .” Shen Yun Performing Arts, www.shenyunperformingarts.org/explore/view/article/e/URQuh8K0ciI/pan-gu-creation-china.html.