The legend of Nüwa is told in many ancient texts.
In Liezi (c. 475 - 221 BC), Chapter 5 "Questions of Tang" (Chinese: 卷第五 湯問篇), author Lie Yukou describes Nüwa repairing the original imperfect heaven using five-coloredstones, and cutting the legs off a tortoise to use as struts to hold up the sky.
In Songs of Chu (c. 340 - 278 BC), Chapter 3 "Asking Heaven" (Chinese: 问天), author Qu Yuan writes that Nüwa molded figures from the yellow earth, giving them life and the ability to bear children. After demons fought and broke the pillars of the heavens, Nüwa worked unceasingly to repair the damage, melting down the five-coloured stones to mend the heavens.
In Huainanzi (c. 179 - 122 BC), Chapter 6 Lanmingxun (Chinese: 覽冥訓), author Liu An tells that in remote antiquity the four poles of the Universe collapsed and the world descended into chaos; the firmament was no longer able to cover everything and the earth was no longer able to support itself; fires burned wild and waters flooded the land; fierce beasts ate common people, and ferocious birds attacked the old and the weak. So Nüwa tempered the five-colored stones to mend the heavens, cut off the feet of the great turtle to support the four poles, killed the black dragon to help the earth, and gathered the ash of reed to stop the flood. (In a variation of this tale, the four corners of the sky collapsed and the world with its nine regions split open.)Nuwa and Fu Xi as depicted from murals of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)
In Shuowen Jiezi (c. 58 - 147 AD), China's earliest dictionary, under the entry for Nüwa author Xu Shen describes her as being both the sister and the wife of Fu Xi. Nüwa and Fu Xi were pictured as having snake like tails interlocked in an Eastern Han Dynasty mural in the Wuliang Temple in Jiaxiang county, Shandong province.
Long ago, when the world first began, there were two people, Nü Kua and her older brother. They lived on Mount K'un-lun. And there were not yet any ordinary people in the world. They talked about becoming husband and wife, but they felt ashamed. So the brother at once went with his sister up Mount K'un-lun and made this prayer: "Oh Heaven, if Thou wouldst send us two forth as man and wife, then make all the misty vapor gather. If not, then make all the misty vapor disperse." At this, the misty vapor immediately gathered. When the sister became intimate with her brother, they plaited some grass to make a fan to screen their faces. Even today, when a man takes a wife, they hold a fan, which is a symbol of what happened long ago.
In Yuchuan Ziji (Chinese: 玉川子集 c. 618 - 907 AD), Chapter 3 (Chinese: "與馬異結交詩" 也稱 "女媧本是伏羲婦"; pinyin: "Yu Mayi Jie Jiao Shi" YeCheng "Nüwa ben shi Fu Xi fu"), author Lu Tong describes Nüwa as the wife of Fu Xi.
In Siku Quanshu, Sima Zhen (679–732) provides commentary on the prologue chapter to Sima Qian's Shiji, "Supplemental to the Historic Record: History of the Three August Ones," wherein it is found that the Three August Ones are Nüwa, Fu Xi, and Shennong; Fu Xi and Nüwa have the same last name, Feng (Chinese: 風). Note: Sima Zhen's commentary is included with the later Siku Quanshu compiled by Ji Yun and Lu Xixiong.
In the collection Four Great Books of Song (c. 960 - 1279 AD), compiled by Li Fang and others, Volume 78 of the book Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era contains a chapter "Customs by Yingshao of the Han Dynasty" in which it is stated that there were no men when the sky and the earth were separated. Thus Nüwa used yellow clay to make people. But the clay was not strong enough so she put ropes into the clay to make the bodies erect. It is also said that she prayed to gods to let her be the goddess of marital affairs. Variations of this story exist.
Since Nüwa is presented differently in so many myths/legends, it is not accurate to tie her down as a creator, mother, or goddess. Depending on the myth, she is responsible for being a wife, sister, man, tribal leader (or even empress), creator, maintainer, etc. It is not clear from the evidence which view came first. Regardless of the origins, most myths present Nüwa as female in a procreative role after a calamity. She was also known as the creator of humans through clay but there has been many theories to this.
Nuwa is Lawful Good and has access to the following domains: Artifice, Community, Good, Protection, Water.
Behind the Curtain: Nuwa and NoahEdit
The Pronounciation of "Nuwa" (New-WAH) and Noah (NO-ah) are extremely similar. Nuwa might actually be Noah. Noah was Nereus to the Greeks -- who told their story of the departure from the customs of Shem and Noah to the worship of the heathen Olympians through the story of Peleus and Thetis.
For the Chinese, who retained a portion of their Matriarchial Society, they turned Noah in a woman -- Nuwa. This is because they both had the same goal: to restart civilization. There is nothing on how the Chinese turned from the worship of Shang-di (Yaweh) to the worship of their Ancestors. Probably they felt that if they called on Shang-di directly, a malevolent force may answer so they formed a relationship with their ancestors instead.