Gong Gong

Gong Gong (Chinese: 共工) is a Chinese water god or sea monster, said to resemble a serpent or dragon. He is said to be responsible for the great floods together with his associate, Xiang Yao (Chinese: 相繇), who has nine heads and the body of a snake.

In Chinese mythology, Gong Gong was ashamed that he lost the fight with Zhu Rong, the Chinese god of fire, to claim the throne of Heaven and in a fit of rage he smashed his head against Buzhou Mountain (不周山), a pillar holding up the sky. The pillar suffered great damage and caused the sky to tilt towards the northwest and the earth to shift to the southeast. This also created the tilt of the earth. This caused great floods and suffering to the people.

Nüwa (女媧), an important and benevolent goddess, cut off the legs of the giant turtle Ao then used them to supplant the fallen pillar and alleviate the situation. She was unable to fully correct the tilted sky which is said to explain the phenomenon that the sun, moon, and stars move towards the northwest, and that rivers in China flow southeast into the Pacific Ocean.

Apart of mythological associations, "Gong Gong" is sometimes translated as Minister of Works (e. g. in the first chapters of the Shangshu). This appears to be an attempt at rationalization of the otherwise historically unimaginable character. Therein, however, he figures together with other dubious "ministers", such as Long the Dragon.

Last update 19-06-2012

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