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The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
were a group of mythological rulers or deities in ancient northern China
China
who in later history have been assigned dates in a period from circa 2852 BC to 2070 BC. Today they are considered culture heroes.[1] The dates of these mythological figures may be fictitious, but according to some accounts and reconstructions, they preceded the Xia Dynasty (which itself is prehistoric, without writing, and which is likewise also documented only in much later written sources).[2]

Contents

1 Description 2 Shi 3 Variations

3.1 Family tree of ancient Five Emperors

4 Gallery 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading

Description[edit] The Three Sovereigns, sometimes known as the Three August Ones, were said to be god-kings, demigods or god emperors[3] who used their abilities to improve the lives of their people and impart to them essential skills and knowledge. The Five Emperors are portrayed as exemplary sages who possessed great moral character and lived to a great age and ruled over a period of great peace. The Three Sovereigns are ascribed various identities in different Chinese historical texts. These kings are said to have helped introduce the use of fire, taught people how to build houses and invented farming. The Yellow Emperor's wife is credited with the invention of silk culture. The discovery of medicine, the invention of the calendar and Chinese script are also credited to the kings. After their era, Yu the Great
Yu the Great
founded the Xia Dynasty.[2] According to a modern theory with roots in the late 19th century, the Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
is supposedly the ancestor of the Huaxia
Huaxia
people.[4] The Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
was established in Shaanxi Province
Shaanxi Province
to commemorate the ancestry legend.[4] The Chinese word for emperor, huángdì (皇帝), derives from this, as the first user of this title Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
considered his reunion of all of the lands of the former Kingdom of Zhou
Kingdom of Zhou
to be greater than even the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Shi[edit] A related concept appears in the legend of the Four shi (四氏) who took part in creating the world. The four members are Youchao-shi (有巢氏), Suiren-shi (燧人氏), Fuxi-shi (伏羲氏), and Shennong-shi (神農氏). The list sometimes extends to one more member being Nüwa-shi (女媧氏), making Five shi (五氏).[5] Four of these five names appear in different lists of the Three Sovereigns. Variations[edit] Depending on the source, there are many variations of who classifies as the Three Sovereigns or the Five Emperors. There are at least six to seven known variations.[6] Many of the sources listed below were written in much later periods, centuries and even millennia after the supposed existence of these figures, and instead of historical fact, they may reflect a desire in later time periods to create a fictitious ancestry traceable to ancient culture heroes. The Emperors were asserted as ancestors of the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties.[7] The following appear in different groupings of the Three Sovereigns: Fuxi (伏羲), Nüwa
Nüwa
(女媧), Shennong
Shennong
(神農), Suiren
Suiren
(燧人), Zhurong (祝融), Gong Gong (共工), Heavenly Sovereign (天皇), Earthly Sovereign (地皇), Tai Sovereign (泰皇), Human Sovereign (人皇), and even the Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黄帝). The following appear in different groupings of the Five Emperors: Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝), Zhuanxu
Zhuanxu
(顓頊), Emperor Ku
Emperor Ku
(嚳), Emperor Yao (堯), Emperor Shun
Emperor Shun
(舜), Shaohao
Shaohao
(少昊), Taihao (太昊), and Yan Emperor
Yan Emperor
(炎帝).

Source Three Sovereigns Five Emperors

Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
(史記) edition by Sima Qian[6] Heavenly Sovereign (天皇) or Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Earthly Sovereign (地皇) or Nüwa
Nüwa
(女媧) Tai Sovereign (泰皇) or Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝) Zhuanxu
Zhuanxu
(顓頊) Emperor Ku
Emperor Ku
(嚳) Emperor Yao
Emperor Yao
(堯) Emperor Shun
Emperor Shun
(舜)

Sovereign series (帝王世系)[6] Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝) Shaohao
Shaohao
(少昊) Zhuanxu
Zhuanxu
(顓頊) Emperor Ku
Emperor Ku
(嚳) Emperor Yao
Emperor Yao
(堯) Emperor Shun
Emperor Shun
(舜)

Shiben[6] Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝)

Baihu Tongyi (白虎通義)[6] Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Zhurong
Zhurong
(祝融) or Suiren
Suiren
(燧人)

Fengsu TongYi (風俗通義)[6] Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Nüwa
Nüwa
(女媧) Shennong
Shennong
(神農)

Yiwen Leiju (藝文類聚)[6] Heavenly Sovereign (天皇) Earthly Sovereign (地皇) Human Sovereign (人皇)

Tongjian Waiji (通鑑外紀) Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Gong Gong (共工)

Chunqiu yundou shu (春秋運斗樞) Chunqiu yuanming bao (春秋元命苞) Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Nüwa
Nüwa
(女媧) Shennong
Shennong
(神農)

Shangshu dazhuan (尚書大傳) Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Suiren
Suiren
(燧人)

Diwang shiji (帝王世紀)

Fu Xi
Fu Xi
(伏羲) Shennong
Shennong
(神農) Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝)

I Ching
I Ching
(易經)[6]

Taihao (太昊) Yan Emperor
Yan Emperor
(炎帝) Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝) Emperor Yao
Emperor Yao
(堯) Emperor Shun
Emperor Shun
(舜)

Comments of a Recluse, Qianfulun (潛夫論)[8]

Taihao (太昊) Yan Emperor
Yan Emperor
(炎帝) Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝) Shaohao
Shaohao
(少昊) Zhuanxu
Zhuanxu
(顓頊)

Zizhi tongjian waiji, (資治通鑒外紀)[8]

Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
(黃帝) Shaohao
Shaohao
(少昊) Zhuanxu
Zhuanxu
(顓頊) Emperor Ku
Emperor Ku
(嚳) Emperor Yao
Emperor Yao
(堯)

Family tree of ancient Five Emperors[edit]

Family tree of ancient Five Emperors

(1) Yellow Emperor 黃帝[9]

(2) Shaohao 少昊

Changyi 昌意

Jiaoji 蟜極

(3) Zhuanxu 顓頊

(4) Ku 嚳

Qiongchan 窮蟬

Gu of Shu 古蜀王

Cheng 称

Taowu 梼杌

Wangliang 魍魉

(5) Zhi 挚

Xie of Shang 契

(6) Emperor Yao 堯

Houji 后稷

Jingkang 敬康

Lao Tong 老童

Danzhu 丹朱

Juwang 句望

Zhurong 祝融

Wuhui 吳回

Qiaoniu 橋牛

Gun 鯀

Gusou 瞽叟

(8) Yu 禹

Luzhong 陸終

Ehuang 娥皇

(7) Shun 舜

Nuying 女英

Kunwu 昆吾

Shen H 參胡

Peng Zu 彭祖

Hui Ren 會人

Ji Lian 季連

?Cao 曹

Shangjun 商均

Gallery[edit]

Fuxi
Fuxi
and Nüwa

Another depiction of Fuxi
Fuxi
and Nüwa

Shennong

Yellow Emperor

Zhuanxu

Emperor Ku

Emperor Yao

Emperor Shun

Chi You

See also[edit]

List of Neolithic cultures of China Emperor of China

References[edit]

^ Hucker, Charles (1995). China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture. Stanford University Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780804723534.  ^ a b Morton, W. Scott Morton. Morton, William Scott. Lewis Charlton M. (2005). China: its history and culture. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-141279-4, ISBN 978-0-07-141279-7, p. 14. ^ Mircea Eliade, Charles J. Adams, The Encyclopedia of religion, Volume 9, Macmillan, 1987, p. 133. ^ a b 王恆偉. (2005) (2006) 中國歷史講堂 #1 遠古至春秋. 中華書局. ISBN 962-8885-24-3, p. 13. ^ 王恆偉. (2005) (2006) 中國歷史講堂 #1 遠古至春秋. 中華書局. ISBN 962-8885-24-3. p 4–7. ^ a b c d e f g h 劉煒/著. (2002) Chinese civilization in a new light. Commercial press publishing. ISBN 962-07-5314-3, p. 142. ^ William Edward Soothill; Dorothea Lady Hosie; G. F. Hudson (2002). The Hall of Light: A Study of Early Chinese Kingship. James Clarke & Co. pp. 146–. ISBN 978-0-227-17123-3.  ^ a b ”CHINAKNOWLEDGE”, Chinese History - The Three Augusts and Five Emperors 三皇五帝 ^ Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian

Further reading[edit]

Allen, Herbert J. (translator) (1894). "Ssŭma Ch'ien's Historical Records, Introductory Chapter". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 26 (2): 269–295. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00143916.  Legge, James (translator) (1865). "The Annals of the Bamboo Books: The reigns of Huang-te, Che, Chuen-heuh and Hëen-Yuen; The reigns of Yaou and Shun". The Chinese Classics, volume 3, part 1. pp. 108–116. 

Preceded by None known Dynasties in Chinese history 2852–2205 BC Succeeded by Xia dynasty

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Chinese mythology

Overview topics

Creation myth Godly world concepts Astrology Dragons Shenmo fiction Gods and immortals Tian Pangu Ghosts

Major personages

Deities Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors Eight Immortals Shennong Yellow Emperor Yan Emperor Chiyou Hou Yi Kua Fu

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