ZHUANXU (Chinese : trad. 顓頊, simp. 颛顼, pinyin Zhuānxū),
also known as GAOYANG (t 高陽, s 高阳, p Gāoyáng), was a
mythological emperor of ancient China .
In the traditional account recorded by
Sima Qian ,
Zhuanxu was a
grandson of the
Yellow Emperor who led the Shi clan in an eastward
migration to present-day
Shandong , where intermarriages with the
Dongyi clan enlarged and augmented their tribal influences. At age
twenty, he became their sovereign, going on to rule for seventy-eight
years until his death.
* 1 Family
* 2 Reign
* 4 Mythology
* 5 Potential Connection with Longshan Culture?
* 6 References
Zhuanxu was the grandson of the
Yellow Emperor and his wife
way of his father Changyi. His mother was named Changtsu according to
Sima Qian, Niuqu according to the
Bamboo Annals .
Zhuanxu was subsequently claimed as an ancestor by many of the
dynasties of Chinese history, including the Mi of Chu and Yue , the
Yíng of Qin , and the Cao of Wei .
Zhuanxu was held by many sources to be one of the Five Emperors .
According to Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, upon the
passing of the Yellow Emperor, Zhuanxu's uncle
Shaohao never actually
reigned as king, as in other reports. Rather, Gaoyang was chosen as
the tribe's new leader, with the regnal name Zhuanxu, in preference to
his father and all his uncles.
Zhuanxu defeated Gonggong, a
descendant of the
Emperor Yan .
However, the account in the
Bamboo Annals states that
an assistant to his uncle, Emperor Shaohao, at the age of ten, and
became king in his own right at age 20.
He made contributions to a unified calendar , astrology , religion
reforms to oppose shamanism , upheld the patriarchal (as opposed to
the previous matriarchal) system, and forbade close-kin marriage . The
Bamboo Annals also credit him with composing one of the earliest
pieces of music, known as "The Answer to the Clouds".
Zhuanxu was succeeded by his cousin, Shaohao's son, Ku . In the Shiji
, he criticized one of his sons for being a dullard. Since only two
sons were named, it might have been Gun , father of
Yu the Great or
Qiongchan , the ancestor of Shun . Yao had also criticized Gun for
being incompetent and ruinous. The
Shiji labelled Qiongchan an
insignificant commoner though it does not mention how he fell from
grace. He also had eight unnamed sons of good repute that later worked
Bamboo Annals record that in his 13th year of reign, Zhuanxu
"invented calendric calculations and delineations of the heavenly
Zhuanxu was claimed as a founder of the
Qin dynasty , his name
was taken for inauguration of the new calendar system by
Shi Huangdi .
Zhuanxu is also mentioned as a god of the
Pole Star and as the
father of Taowu .
POTENTIAL CONNECTION WITH LONGSHAN CULTURE?
Zhuanxu is commonly associated with the extremely important myth of
the separation of the Heaven from Earth. According to the Lu Xing
"We are told that the Miao ... created oppressive punishments which
the people into disorder.
Shang Di , the Lord on High ... surveyed the
people and found them lacking in virtue. Out of pity for those who
were innocent, the August Lord .. had the Miao exterminated. 'Then he
charged Chong and Li to cut the communication between Heaven and Earth
so that there would be no descending and ascending." After this had
been done, order was restored and the people returned to virtue."
Several Chinese mythologists interpreted this myth as a
representation or symbolization of the increasing social
stratification occurring. Before the 'separation of Earth and Heaven',
Yangshao culture , it was open to every household that had or could
hire a shaman . However, during
Longshan culture , shamans could only
be hired by a few people, suggesting a monopoly of the ability to
ascend to and descend