This friend of mine contributed the story of Nvwa, which she learned from her grandmother when she was young. This is also a well-known lore in China. 


Nvwa is a goddess in the lore that created every creature on earth. It is said that she created seventy different creatures on each day when the world was first formed. One day, Nvwa walked on the boundless land and suddenly felt very lonely. She felt like she should add something more to the earth to make it more lively. She kept walking and thinking what else should she create. When she stopped by a pond, she bowed down and saw her own reflection in the water. She finally realized, this world’s got all kinds of creations, but none of those are like herself. Why not create one that resemble herself?

She took some mud by her side and added some water, starting to play with it till it appeared to be a baby-like thing. She put it on the ground, and as soon as the thing touched the ground, it gained live and began to call her mom. That “mom” pleased Nvwa a lot. She looked at her clever creature and gave it a name, “human”. She was satisfied with her work, so she kept making those little human, and those little human kept her company and she was no longer lonely. She kept working, and working, and wanted to make enough humans to be all over the world. This huge work load though, exhausted Nvwa long before she achieved her goal. At last, she came up with the idea of dividing these humans into male and female. Male and female will pair up, and they will be in charge of reproducing other humans. In this way, Nvwa doesn’t even need to worry about human’s extinction brought by death. Therefore, human prospered and spread all over the world.


The lore that Nvwa created human race was indeed well-known in China, though the version I heard was a little different. In the version I heard, Nvwa used a branch to deep in the mixture of mud and water, then span it. The spattered mud would become humans. Other than that, things are pretty much the same. This lore reminded me of Genesis in Bible, of how God created all the animals and humans — both Nvwa and God chose to make human to look like them. Also, humans are the very last creation they made. There are other myths that describe Nvwa to have a upper human body and a snake tail (kind of like mermaid).