Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(2,054 words)

The mythology of China is contained in a collection of sacred narratives which tell how the world and human society were created in their present form. It is sacred narrative because it relates the acts of the deities besides other episodes, and because it embodies the most deeply felt spiritual values of the Chinese as a nation. The generally accepted Western term for myth as 'sacred narrative' reflects the meaning of the Chinese term for myth, shenhua. Shen means 'divine, holy, deity'; hua means 'speech, tale, oral narrative'. The concerns of myth also extend beyond the acc…

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Birrell, Anne, “Mythology”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 09 February 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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