Good Stories from China: Pangu's Creation of Heaven and Earth

May 3, 2006 Updated: May 3, 2006

Does China have creation stories? The answer is yes, and the name of the first creation God is Pangu.

In the beginning of time, the universe was unformed and heaven and earth were unseparated. It was like a round egg, in which there was no light, nor sound.

In the universal egg lied a sleeping giant named Pangu. He slept for 180,000 years. Then one day he woke up. Seeing the emptiness of the universe, he was not too satisfied. In one thought he made a gigantic axe appear. Taking the axe, he broke open the inchoate universal egg.

The opening created new dynamics. Light matters started to float upward and formed what we now call sky or heaven, and dense matters began to condense into what we now call earth.

To prevent heaven and earth from collapsing, Pangu held up heaven while standing on earth. He grew three yards taller every day, and with this, the sky became three yards higher and the earth grew three yards thicker by the day.

Another 180,000 years passed, and the sky became immensely high and the earth solidly thick. Pangu also became as tall as the distance in between.

Seeing that heaven and earth were well formed and stable, Pangu died. His limbs became mountains, blood turned into rivers, muscles formed the fields, and his skin and hair became myriads of plants and animals. The air he breathed out formed wind and cloud, and his sound became roaring thunders. His left eye became the sun and right eye became the moon; his sweat turned into the morning dew and nurturing rain.

Using his body, Pangu created a richly beautiful world.

Thus started a new cosmos.

Source: This is a traditional Chinese story. This translation is based on the version told in