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Creation of the Gods, published in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is the most popular and one of the best written Chinese classics of mythical literature. It begins with a grand pilgrimage of King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty (1700 B.C.-1100 B.C.) to worship the Goddess Nu Wa, the creator of mankind in Chinese mythology, on her birthday. The beauty of the goddess completely bewitched the king, a notorious tyrant in Chinese legend, and set him aflame with lust. He infuriated the goddess by writing a poem on the wall expressing his deep love for her. She decided to punish the king and bring an end to the Shang Dynasty. The novel culminates with the crowning of King Wu of Zhou Dynasty (1066 B.C.-256 B.C.) and the canonization of the gods by his prime minister, Jiang Ziya. China was a country in which most people were polytheists believing in numerous gods of the Three Realms-Heaven, the World, and Hell. The gods ruled over everything and were created to satisfy the needs and desires of the people. Most of them were historical national heroes and upright officials who had been canonized so that they became heavenly deities sent to the world to deliver mankind from misery. The roots of many such popular beliefs and legends are found in Creation of the Gods. This makes Creation of the Gods an indispensable tool in the understanding Chinese folk culture. The novel is not simply a piece of literature; it is a collection of folk and religious beliefs which formed the basis of Chinese culture.
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