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Pan Gu (盘古)

Chinese. Name of the first living being and creator of all in Chinese mythology, who slept in a black egg until he was born and started creation, using a chisel and hammer to separate the top and bottom part of the egg, thus creating heaven and earth, as well as yin-yang. He then goes on to disintegrate and as such passively creates the world. Whilst dismembering, his left eyes is told to have become the sun and his right eye the moon; his breath the wind and clouds; whilst his intestinal worms became the black-haired commoners, i.e. the Chinese human race. This decomposition myth is akin to a myth described in the Rigveda, the first book of the Vedas, in which this self-manifested being is known as Svayambhu. When he dies, the brahmin caste is born from his last breath, whilst the other casts are consequently formed from other parts of his decomposing body. In Sanskrit, the latter myth is known as hiranyagarbha. Also transcribed Pangu or P'an Ku. See also trigram.