">
Godchecker's mythology encyclopedia

ZHI-NU
Also known as CHIH-NU, CHIH-HII

Goddess of Weaving, Spinning and Crafts.

The daughter of the JADE-EMPEROR, she spends all her time spinning beautiful silk robes and lacey garments for the Heavenly Host. She also makes the finest gossamer clouds and her tapestry of the constellations is a work of art.

Her father was so pleased with ZHI-NU's diligent work that he married her to the Heavenly Official In Charge Of Cowsheds. (That may not sound like much of a reward, but then you haven't met him.)

The two of them fell headlong in love and pretty soon she was getting behind in her spinning duties. So they were whisked off into the sky and separated by the Milky Way. You can still see them there; she is Vega in the constellation Lyra and he is Altair in the constellation Aquila.

Now they are only allowed to meet once a year, when a flock of magpies swarm into the sky and create a bridge for them to cross. For the rest of the year they live apart and she is the Heavenly Spinster in more ways than one. This is what comes of a marriage made in Heaven.

Now some versions of this tale assert that ZHI-NU actually came down to Earth and had her clothes stolen while she bathed in a river. The culprit was NIU-LANG, a humble cowherd who was amazed at her beauty and fell instantly in love.

Without her clothes she could not return to Heaven — at least, not without some very awkward questions being asked. So she decided to marry him instead as he was sweet and gentle, and not bad looking for a mortal. Of course Heaven found out eventually, and whisked them off to the stars as before.

It doesn't really matter which version is true. The end of this story is far more important than the beginning, as all Chinese lovers will testify. The seventh day of the seventh lunar month is when ZHI-NU and NIU-LANG cross the magpie bridge. Their stars burn brightly in the Heavens, lovers hold hands and gaze into the night sky, and Chinese Valentine's Day begins...

  • Share this page:

Article last updated on 15 April 2004
Authors: Peter J Allen and Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.

COPYRIGHT © 1999-2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Please mention Godchecker.com when praying to deities.

Godchecker's article on Zhi-nu is based on material from ancient texts, original references and our own research. We strive for accuracy and update regularly with new information. If you spot a mistake please contact us and we'll try to fix it.


Suggested further reading...
ABOUT ZHI-NU : FACTS AND FIGURES
Name : ZHI-NU
Location : China
Gender : Female
Type : Deity
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Jhur Noo
Alternative names : CHIH-NU, CHIH-HII
Popularity index : 743

Join the Godchecker mailing list

Stay in the loop with Godchecker updates. You can unsubscribe at any time.
We are often asked about merchandise. Can we supply the latest Zhi-nu graphic novel, book or comic? Not to mention role-playing games (RPG), video games, Zhi-nu movies on DVD, BluRay and so on. To purchase such goodies we suggest you search for a dedicated mythology-based online store - or try Amazon, Ebay or other reputable websites. We offer a wide range of our own merchandise in our online GodShop, but we don't currently sell third party items. Yet!

Visitors often email us asking about Zhi-nu statues, sculptures or carved figurines of Zhi-nu. We regret we cannot assist with identifying such items.




PRESS or MEDIA enquiries? Contact us here.

REPRODUCTION REQUESTS. This site is copyright and all rights are reserved. If you wish to use our material in your essay, book, article or project, please consult our permissions information page.

SUPPORT THE GODS. Found this site useful? Consider donating a few pennies to the Godchecker Temple Roof Fund.



The Gods told us to do it.
up
THE A-Z OF CHINESE GODS
The Complete List of CHINESE GODS...

Can't find the Chinese God you want? Try searching our Holy Database...

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST


CONTACT US