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Ancient China Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors

The first part of ancient china history between 2852 to 2070 BC is based on chinese mythology. The latter part from Xia dynasty onwards is based on archaeological evidence.

The Three Sovereigns are god-kings who use their powers to help the chinese civilisation while the Five Emperors are sages with great moral characters who give periods of peace during their long rule.

The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors varies in different historical records.

Based on the "Records of the Grand Historian" by Sima Qian, the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors are

Three Sovereigns:

Five Emperors:

In the Sovereign series, the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors are

Three Sovereigns:

Five Emperors:

In the Shiben, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Baihu Tongyi, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Fengsu Tongyi, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Yiwen Leiju, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Tongjian Waiji, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Chunqiu yundou shu / Chunqiu yuanming bao, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Shangshu dazhuan, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the Diwang Shiji, the Three Sovereigns are

Three Sovereigns:

In the I Ching, the Five Emperors are

Five Emperors:

In the Comments of a Recluse by Qianfulun, the Five Emperors are

Five Emperors:

In the Zizhi Tongjian Waiji, the Five Emperors are

Five Emperors:

Heavenly Sovereign Fu Xi


Fuxi Temple, Tianshui City Gansu Province

In the Chinese mythology, Pangu emerged from a cosmic egg. Pangu inside the cosmic egg symbolizes Taiji. He seperated yin and yang to create earth and sky. He stand between earth and sky to keep them seperated for them to grow and the tasked took 18,000 years. When he died, his body turned into rivers, mountains, animals, plants and a powerful being, Huaxu. Huaxia became pregnant after stepping on a footprint of Thunder God, Leigong. She give birth to a pair of twins Fuxi and Nuwa and they lived at Mount Kunlun, present day Huashan.

Fuxi was the first of three Sovereigns and ruled for 18,000 years. He was believed to be born in Chengji in the lower middle area of Yellow River. Chengji is believed to be in Gansu Province Tianshui City or Shaanxi Province Liantain County.

Fuxi is considered the originator of the I Ching due to his reading of the Yellow River map. He was also believed to invent the Eight Trigrams, matrimonial rites, the string musical instrument Guqin, writing , fishing and animal trapping.

Fuxi Taihao Mausoleum, Huaiyang County Zhoukuo City , Henan Province

Fuxi died at Chen, mordern day Huaiyang, Henan Province. The Mausoleum was built as early as Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC).

Earthly Sovereign Nuwa


Goddess Nuwa's Palace, Handan City, Hebei Province

Goddess Nuwa was the Earthly Sovereign and 2nd Sovereign after Heavenly Sovereign Fu Xi. She ruled for 11,000 years. She was Fuxi's wife and credited for creating humanity by moulding figures from yellow earth and giving them life. The Pillar of Heavan was damaged casusing floods, wildfire and wild animals attacks on people. The Earthly Sovereign melted five coloured stones that symbolised the five Chinese elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water to patch the sky. She used the turtle's legs as new pillars to support the sky. The world became peaceful again. She symbolised the need to control nature to proect the safety of people.

Goddess Nuwa's Palace is the largest and earliest complex for worshipping the Earthly Sovereign. It was built by Emperor Wenxuan of the Northern Qi Dynasty.

Goddess Nuwa's Palace, Handan City, Hebei Province

Goddess Nuwa's Palace, Handan City, Hebei Province

Goddess Nuwa's Palace, Handan City, Hebei Province

Tai Sovereign Shennong


Great Temple of Yandi Shengnong , Suizhou, Hubei Province

Shennong was the Tai or Human Sovereign and the 3rd Sovereign. Shennong means "Divine Farmer". He taught the ancient chinese agriculure and use of plants as medicine. Shennong studied plants and herbs and is venerated as the Father of Chinese medicine. He was believed to have discovered tea, introduced acupuncture and created Guqin with Fuxi.

Huang Emperor

2696 BC - 2598 BC

Shouqiu, Qufu City, Shandong Province

Shouqiu is believed to the birthplace of Huang Emperor. Huang or Yellow Emperor was teh leader of the tribe in the central plains of China. His tribe grew as they go to war to united all the tribes in the area. Over time, there were three main tribes in China with Yellow Emperor's tribe in Central Plains, Chiyou in the east and Yan Emperor in the west around Mt Taihang. Yellow Emperor defeated Chiyou at Zhuolu, present day Zhuolu County Hebei Province. Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor fought at Battle of Danquan, believed to be at Yanqing of Beijing and later the two tribes merged and formed the basis of common Chinese ancestor. The Chinese refer themselves as the Descendants of Yan and Huang. Huang Emperor was credited with the inventing the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine among other contributions while his wife Lei Zu invented silk.

Birthplace of Huang Emperor, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province

Reign of Yellow Emperor from 2696 to 2598 BC

Yan Emperor


Yan Emperor Mausoleum, Baoji City, Shaanxi Province

Yan Emperor was the leader of one of three tribes during this rule. After the Battle of Banquan, he merged his tribe with Yellow Emperor.

Yan Emperor Mausoleum, Baoji City, Shaanxi Province

Baoji Yandi Temple, Baoji City, Shaanxi Province

The largest temple in China delicated to Emperor Yan.

Statue of Emperor Yan, Huguan County, Changzhi City, Shanxi Province

The statue is 3km from the city.

Zhu Rong


Zhu Rong Temple, Heng Mountain Hengyang City , Hunan Province

Zhu Rong is also known as as the God of Fire and Kitchen God.

China's Mars Rover is called Zhurong as Mars is known as Planet of Fire in Chinese. The name recieved the most votes in a public online voting. The rover landed on Mars surfaced on 22 May 2021 at 1010hrs.

Gong Gong


Gong Gong Hometown, Huixian City, Anyang Prefecture, Henan Province

Gong Gong is the water god in Chinese mythology and he tamed floods. In one of the stories, Gong Gong lost a fight with Zhu Rong, the Chinese Fire God. He then smashed his head against Buzhou Mountain causing the sky to tilt northwest while the earth shifted southeast causing the rivers such as Yellow River and Chang Jiang in China to flow in that direction. Nuwa then repaired the sky.

Gong Gong is the descendant of Yan Emperor and son of Zhu Rong. In 2017, Huixian City was declared as Gong Gong's hometown.


2597BC - 2514BC

Shaohao Mausoleum, Qufu City, Shandong Province

Shaohao was the son of Huang Emperor. He was the leader of Dongyi and he shifted their Capital to Qufu. He ruled for 84 years and was succeeded by this nephew Zhuanxu.

Zhuan Xu

2514BC - 2436BC

Zhuan Xu Mausoleum, Yangzhuang Village Anyang City , Henan Province

Zhang Xu was the grandson of Yellow Emperor. Zhang Xu became King at 20 years old and ruled for 78 years. Zhang Xu contributed towards the unified calaender, astrology, opposed shamanism and upheld patriarchal system.

Zhuan Xu Tomb, Liaocheng City, Shandong Province

Emperor Ku

2436BC - 2366BC

Emperor Ku Mausoleum, Gaoxin Town Shangqiu City , Henan Province

Emperor Ku is descendant of Yellow Emperor and grandson of Shaohao. Chinese musical instruments drums, bells, pipes, flutes and ocarins were invented on his orders.

Sui Ren


Sui Ren Mausoleum, Shangqiu City , Henan Province

Suiren is credited with introducing the production of fire and its use for cooking to humans. He ruled China for 110 years.

Emperor Yao

2356BC - 2255BC

Yao Temple, Linfen City , Shanxi Province

Emperor Yao is the son of Emperor Ku. Emperor Yao's benevolence and diligence was a model for the future Chinese Emperors and Monarchs. He ruled for 20 years and abdicated to pass his throne to Shun who successfully controlled the flooding. Emperor Yao was believed to have invented the Weiqi.

Yao Mausoleum, Linfen City , Shanxi Province

Emperor Shun

2294BC to 2184BC

Emperor Shun Temple, Yongzhou City , Hunan Province

Emperor Shun was believed to be the last of the five Emperors. He was an official under Emperor Yao who appoint Shun as his successor and abdicated. Emperor Yao chose a capable man to rule instead of allowing his sons to succeed the throne. Emperor Shun was known for his modesty and filial piety. He ruled for 50 years with the capital at Puban, Shaanxi Province. Before his death, Emperor Shun appointed Yu to succeed him and Yu founded the Xia Dynasty. It is believed that Emperor Shun's descendants have the Chen surname.

Emperor Shun Mausoleum, Yongzhou City , Hunan Province

Emperor Shun Mausoleum, Yuncheng City , Shanxi Province

This was built during the Tang Dynasty in 738.

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