Mythology of Ancient China

The Five Emperors and the Three Sovereigns

We learn about the earliest legendary kings of Ancient China via Chinese mythology. These sages and gods held power before the start of the first Chinese dynasty.

The Three Sovereigns were mighty demigods who ruled the land with peace and prosperity while living long lives.

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Fu Xi is credited with creating writing, fishing, and trapping. He was Nuwa’s brother. The first humans made of clay were created by Fu Xi and Nuwa.

Nuwa – Fu Xi’s sister was named Nuwa. She also fixed the wall of heaven while assisting him in the creation of humans.

Shennong – The name Shennong means “Divine Farmer”. He taught the Chinese how to do agriculture. He created the Chinese calendar, axe, hoe, irrigation, and the plow.

The Heavenly Sovereign, the Earthly Sovereign, and the Human Sovereign are other titles for the Three Sovereigns.

The Five Emperors were ideal kings who exercised honorable and enlightened leadership. The Yellow Emperor was the most well-known of the Five Emperors. His 100-year reign marked the beginning of Chinese civilization. The Yellow Emperor was accompanied by Zhuanzu, Emperor Ku, Emperor Yao, and Shun.

Chinese Dragon

The legendary dragon is the most powerful being in Chinese mythology. The dragon has four sharp, lethal claws on each of its legs and is a long snake-like creature. While some dragons are shown as having tiny wings, they all possess the magical ability to fly. It was believed that dragons could control the weather and the water. They have influence over the seas, floods, tornadoes, and storms.

The dragon served as the emperor’s emblem. The Dragon Throne was the name given to his throne. When the Yellow Emperor passed away, legend has it that he transformed into a dragon and ascended to heaven.

The New Year’s Legend

Many thousands of years ago, in a little village, the Chinese New Year mythology first emerged. A monster by the name of Nian would come the village every winter and attack the villagers. The locals were terrified and unsure of what to do. Then, one year, a sage old man devised a strategy. The next time Nian came, the crowd made a lot of noise with pyrotechnics and drums. The creature was scared away by these noises and retreated towards the hills.

The day they managed to escape from the monster was celebrated by the villagers. They would let off fireworks every year to mark their success. The Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival both began on this day.

Facts about Chinese Mythology that are Interesting

The only person who could wear clothing with dragon images was the emperor.

Nian was reputed to have a lion’s head and a bull’s body.

The Yellow Emperor was occasionally regarded as one of the Three Sovereigns.

The Three August Ones are another name for the Three Sovereigns.

According to certain documents, each of the Three Sovereigns ruled for more than 10,000 years.

Leizu, the Yellow Emperor’s wife, was the one who showed the Chinese how to raise silkworms and produce silk.

According to legend, Emperor Yao had the highest moral standards and set the bar for all other Chinese rulers to follow.