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Ancient China

Mythology

History for Kids >> Ancient China

The Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors

Chinese mythology tells us about the first legendary rulers of Ancient China. These wise men and demigods ruled long before the first Chinese dynasty.

The Three Sovereigns were powerful demigods who lived to be very old and brought peace and prosperity to the land during their rule. Other names for the Three Sovereigns include The Heavenly Sovereign, The Earthly Sovereign, and the Human Sovereign.

The Five Emperors were perfect kings who ruled wisely and with honor. The most famous of the Five Emperors was the Yellow Emperor. He ruled for 100 years and brought about the start of the Chinese civilization. In addition to the Yellow Emperor were Zhuanzu, Emperor Ku, Emperor Yao, and Shun.

Portrait of the Mythical Yellow Emperor
The Yellow Emperor by Unknown

Chinese Dragon

The greatest creature in Chinese mythology is the legendary dragon. The dragon is a long snake-like creature with four legs each with long and dangerous claws. Some dragons are drawn with small wings, but they all have the magical power to fly. Dragons were thought to have power over water and the weather. They can control storms, tornadoes, the ocean, and floods.

The dragon was the symbol of the emperor. His throne was even called the Dragon Throne. It is said that the Yellow Emperor turned into a dragon and flew to heaven when he died.

Drawing of a red Chinese dragon
Chinese Dragon by Tsange

Legend of the New Year

The legend of the Chinese New Year began in a small village many thousands of years ago. Each winter a monster named Nian would enter the village and attack the people. The villagers were scared and didn't know what to do. Then one year a wise old man figured out a plan. The next time Nian appeared the people used fireworks and drums to make a lot of noise. These noises scared off the monster and it fled into the hills.

The people of the village celebrated the day that they freed themselves from the monster. Each year they would light fireworks and celebrate their victory. This day became the start of the Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year.

Interesting Facts about Chinese Mythology Take a ten question quiz about this page.

For more information on the civilization of Ancient China:

Overview
Timeline of Ancient China
Geography of Ancient China
Silk Road
The Great Wall
Forbidden City
Terracotta Army
The Grand Canal
Battle of Red Cliffs
Opium Wars
Inventions of Ancient China
Glossary and Terms

Dynasties
Major Dynasties
Xia Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
Han Dynasty
Period of Disunion
Sui Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
Song Dyanasty
Yuan Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
Qing Dynasty

Culture
Daily Life in Ancient China
Religion
Mythology
Numbers and Colors
Legend of Silk
Chinese Calendar
Festivals
Civil Service
Chinese Art
Clothing
Entertainment and Games
Literature

People
Confucius
Kangxi Emperor
Genghis Khan
Kublai Khan
Marco Polo
Puyi (The Last Emperor)
Emperor Qin
Emperor Taizong
Sun Tzu
Empress Wu
Zheng He
Emperors of China

Works Cited

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