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Nügua and Fuxi on a mural on a wall in Peterborough, East Anglia.

Nügua and Fuxi on a mural on a wall in Peterborough, East Anglia.

CC Flickr User gwydionwilliams

Nügua is a Chinese creator goddess who made man (as opposed to creator gods who make the universe or do both):

  1. by mixing yellow earth and water to form a doll and
  2. from a cord dragged through the mud.
The men shaped by hand from the earth became the rich and noble. Nügua grew tired of making enough of the doll-men to populate the entire earth. When she created the others using the shortcut, string method, she had created the poor and humble. Nügua taught the people how to marry and reproduce themselves, for which reason, she is a goddess of match-making. She is also the repairer of the universe, Transformer of the Myriad Creatures, a wind goddess, a female shaman and a rain-dancer.

Nügua is shown as half human, with a serpent or dragon's tail, and is associated with earth, water, and caves. Sometimes she holds a compass. One of the "Three August Ones," Nügua is a bringer of civilization.

Nügua is a sister-wife of Fu-Hsi, the first of the three sovereigns (2852-2697 B.C.). The pair is shown with intertwining snake-bottoms. The pair were treated as guardian spirits of the dead.


  • "Divinity and Salvation: The Great Goddesses of China," by Lee Irwin; Asian Folklore Studies (1990)
  • "The Snake in Chinese Belief," by Denise Chao; Folklore (1979)
Alternate Spellings: Nu Wa

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