Detail of an eighteen-century embroidered emperor's robe. In Chinese myth, a white hare was believed to have lived in the moon.
Click on image for full size
Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Heng-o and the Twelve Chinese Moons
In ancient times, Chinese people believed that there were twelve Moons as there were twelve months in one year. Likewise, Chinese people believed there were ten Suns
as there were ten days in the Chinese week. The mother of the twelve Moons was the same of that of the ten suns.
At the beginning of each month, the mother, Heng-O, washed her children in a lake at the extreme western side of the world. Then each Moon, one after the other would travel in a chariot for a month journey to reach the opposite east side of the world.
There, the Suns would begin their journey. It was believed that the Moons were made of water, and either a hare or a toad were living in their interior.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief god for the Navajo. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four directions, or cardinal points, are supported by a giant. Each direction is symbolized...more
Amphitrite was one of the sea-nymphs called the Nereids. One day the sea god Poseidon saw her dancing and fell desperately in love with her. He promptly asked her to marry him but unfortunately she refused....more
Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. To the perfection of her figure and the purity of her features she added an innocent grace. On her sweet face she...more
In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more
According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera swore to kill Heracles, the most famous Greek...more
In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more
According to Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the mischievous behavior of the god, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars in the...more