Scripts 西王母(Chinese, Japanese Kanji)
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Meaning & History
From a combination of the characters 西 (xi, meaning “western”), 王 (wang, meaning “royal”) and 母 (mu, meaning “mother”). Xiwangmu is one of the oldest and most important goddesses in Chinese mythology, with evidence of her cult dating back to the Shang Dynasty (c.1600 - 1046 BCE). She is said to reside in the west on Mount Kunlun, accompanied by sacred animals. Early texts depict her as a fearsome goddess with disheveled hair, tiger’s teeth, a leopard’s tail and the ability to control five plagues, but in later Chinese history she became a benevolent matriarch who conferred immortality and ruled over all female immortals. Her name is commonly translated as “Queen Mother of the West”.