The Goddess Nuwa Mends the Sky

The Story of Nuwa Mending the Heavens

The frame story in The Story of the Stone is a magical tale of a stone leftover from when Nuwa, a goddess in Chinese mythology, repaired the heavens. I was curious to learn a little more of the background to this story, to see if I was missing any cultural implications. I was very interested to find that there were multiple traditions of the goddess Nuwa mending the sky.

In one version, Nuwa is the goddess who separated the Earth from the Heavens, and was the originator of the Chinese nation. She is rumored to have molded the human race from yellow clay and given them the ability to bear children.

The story of how Nuwa mended the heavens comes after she has created the human race. Demons fought a great war and cracked the firmament of the heavens, as well as the pillars that held the heavens up from Earth. The sky threatened to fall down on the human race and Nuwa, in order to protect her creations, set about mending the sky using five stones of various colors. (In each version, it simply says various colors without listing them.)

Sadly, Nuwa was exhausted from her toils, and she fell to the ground and became a vast mountain range. In this way, as well as being the molder of the human race from yellow clay, she became the nurturer of the human race by providing fertile soil for the Chinese people.

One thought on “The Goddess Nuwa Mends the Sky

  1. This background information was really interesting. I think Cao Xueqin chose this specific mythology to base his story from in order to tie in the spiritual aspect that was so important to the Chinese in that time. Bao-Yu’s dreams and visions of the Land of Illusion and Springs of the Nether World clearly symbolize aspects of what is to come in the afterlife. The intended spiritual connection that Xueqin had behind that is strengthened when we see that within these “visits” characters try to influence Bao-Yu to go on the path towards Enlightenment.


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