\Sanhuangwudi (三皇五帝 in pinyin: san1 huang2 wu3 di4) (2500 BC - 2205 BC) were mythological rulers of China during the period preceding the Xia Dynasty in Chinese mythology.
It is said that the san (three) huang (godkings) used their magical powers to improve the lives of their people and that the wu (five) di (emperors/sage kings) were morally perfect.
The "three godkings" are:
- Heavenly King
- Earthly King
- Human King
Few Chinese, except the religious Taoists
, believe in their existence. The "five emperor/sage kings" are:
- Huang Di (黄帝 huang2 di4), Yellow Emperor
- Zhuan Xu (颛顼 zhuan1 xu1),
- Di Ku (帝喾 di4 ku4),
- Yao (尧 yao2), and
- Shun (舜 shun4).
It is not well understood how these five kings became the symbols of morality.
Huang Di is said to be the common ancestor of all the Chinese. Yu the Great,
who was a hero during the reign of Shun, was the founder of the Xia Dynasty.
Note: Huang Di (黄帝) is different from huangdi (皇帝), which means "emperor" and was first used by Qin Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor of Qin.