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China, a History

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Bee Cha
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« on: August 05, 2007, 06:53:47 am »

Three August Ones and Five Emperors

The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (Chinese: 三皇五帝; Pinyin: Sānhung wd; Wade-Giles: San-huang wu-ti) were mythological rulers of China during the period from c. 2852 BCE to 2205 BCE, which is the time preceding the Xia Dynasty.
(Actually, the translation of 帝 d/dei5 is a problematic one in that it is most often translated using its modern sense, which did not arise until after the advent of an imperial state under 秦始皇 Qnshĭhung/Cen4hi2wong4. Its original meaning, and the most likely translation thereof, is that of supreme being, a kind of bermann, rather than 'emperor'. The character 帝 originally represented a shaman wearing a liturgical mantel.)

The Three Sovereigns

The Three Sovereigns, sometimes known as the Three August Ones, were said to be god-kings or demigods who used their magical powers to improve the lives of their people. Because of their lofty virtue they 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. The Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian states that they were:
   The Heavenly Sovereign (天皇) that ruled for 18,000 years;
   The Earthly Sovereign (地皇) that ruled for 11,000 years;
   The Human Sovereign (泰皇 or 人皇)that ruled for 45,600 years,
The Yundou shu (運斗樞) and Yuanming bao (元命苞) identify them as:
   Fuxi (伏羲)
   Nwa (女媧)
   Shennong (神農)

Both Fuxi, and also Nwa, are the god and goddess husband and wife credited with being the ancestors of humankind after a devastating flood. The invention of the Primal Arrangement of the Eight Trigrams (Xian Tian Ba Gua, 先天八卦) is attributed to Fuxi. Shennong invented farming and is the first to use herbs for medical purposes.
The I Ching, starts like this: In the old times of King Fuxis regime, he observed sky and the stars when he looks upwards, and researched the earth when he looks downwards, and watched the birds and beasts to see how they live in their environment. He took examples from nearby and far away, and then made 8 Yin Yang signs to simulate the rules of universe...After Fuxi died, Shennong rises. He made Plow and teach people how to raise crops and fishing. He invented money and market for the exchange of goods."

The Shangshu dazhuan (尚書大傳) and Baihu tongyi (白虎通義) replace Nwa with Suiren (燧人), the inventor of fire. The Diwang shiji (帝王世紀) replaces Nwa with the Yellow Emperor (黄帝), the supposed ancestor of all Han Chinese people.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 07:01:04 am by Bee Cha » Report Spam   Logged


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