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The Three Sovereigns

The Three Sovereign and Five Emperors were the mythological rulers of China before and during the Xia Dynasty. The Three Sovereign were said to be god kings or demigods who introduced important aspects of the Chinese culture. Like fishing, agriculture, herbal medicine, writing, drinking tea and some also say they were the creators of animals and man.


They were known as The Heavenly Sovereign, The Earthly Sovereign and The Human Sovereign. Fuxi, Nüwa and Shennong. Because of their virtue they lived a long life and ruled for a long peaceful time. It has been said they used their magical powers to improve the life of man.

Fuxi was the first of the mythical three Sovereigns of ancient China. He was born in the lower middle reached of the yellow river in Chengji. The legend says: The land was flooded and only Fuxi and his sister Nüwa survived. They moved to Kunlun Mountain and prayed for a sign from the emperor of heaven. He gave them his blessing and together they set out to give birth to the human race. Fuxi became the ruler over his descendants for 116 years. They say that Fuxi is the one that laid down the rules on patriarchal systems. He united man and woman and invented writing, fishing and setting traps to catch animals. He taught humans to cook, fish with nets and to hunt with metal weapons.


In Chinese mythology Nüwa is depicted as a woman, wife, sister, man, tribal leader and emperor. It is said she had the role of procreating after nature disasters such as floods. Creating man out of the yellow earth and giving them life and the ability to give birth.  She was lonely when she decided to every day of the week create something new. She started by creating chickens on the first day, then dogs, sheep, pigs cows, horses and on the seventh day she created man. When she had made hundreds of individual men by hand she became tired of the labor; she dipped a rope into the mud and flicked it creating “Commoners” from the clay blobs. Leaving the hand created individuals to become ‘Nobleman”

Shennong was the emperor of the five grains. He taught ancient China how to grow grains as food, to avoid killing the animals.  He is also credited for identifying hundreds of herbs for their medical and poisonous properties by personally testing them. This was crucial for the development of traditional Chinese Medicine and he was also the inventor of the Chinese Tea. Also inventing acupuncture and moxibustion. (Burning a fragrant plant called mugwort on nerve points on the body) Practices that have spread out along China, Tibet, Japan, Korea and Mongolia.
He has also instituted the harvest thanksgiving ceremony. The “Zhaji Sacrificial Rite” or “Laji Rite”.

He gave up his humanity when he tested a yellow flower of a weed, causing his intestines to rupture before he could take the antidote. Receiving the name “Medicine King” and to this day festivals and offerings are still celebrated in his name.



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