Emperor Zhuanxu/颛顼

Explore Emperor Zhuanxu's mystical world, featuring black dragons, musical innovations, and encounters with the inhabitants of Bodai.

Emperor Zhuanxu, also known as Gaoyang, was the grandson of Xuanyuan Huangdi and the son of Changyi. One day, Changyi arrived at the riverside and encountered a black dragon carrying a black jade tablet with prophecies. At that time, an old man told Changyi, “Your future son will be in harmony with the Water virtue and become a king.” Ten years later, Zhuanxu was born with hand patterns resembling a dragon and exhibited the mysterious signs of the jade tablet. One night, Changyi looked up at the sky and saw the North Star falling and transforming into an old man. When Zhuanxu ascended the throne, various auspicious signs and omens converged. The vassal lords who had not reported when Zhuanxu established the new calendar came from afar, crossing mountains and seas to pledge their allegiance and pay homage. Zhuanxu respectfully bowed to the gods of the four directions, while the vassal lords held jade tablets, offering their obeisance. They were arranged in order of rank, forming a well-ordered assembly.

People who received education in rituals and music from Zhuanxu were rewarded with bells and chimes made of lightweight metal, which produced a deep and resonant sound. When feathers were used to stroke these bells and chimes, their sound could be heard for miles around. There was also a type of stone that floated on the water’s surface, as light as water plants. These stones were used to make chimes without the need for additional carving or polishing. When the vassal lords from various countries came to pay their respects, the music piece “Hanying” was performed. The melody of this piece was clear and intricate, and its soothing music caused birds to descend from the sky, massive whales to frolic in the sea, and the tumultuous waves to calm. There was a sword known as the “Shadow-trailing Sword” that could soar through the air. In times of war, it would fly directly towards the direction of conflict, ensuring victory. When not in use, it often emitted sounds akin to the roars of dragons and tigers from its scabbard.

To the north of the Mingshui Sea, there was a country called Bodai. The people there wore clothing made of feathers, allowing them to fly even though they had no wings. They cast no shadows under the sun and could live up to a thousand years. The people of Bodai relied on the aquatic plants in the Black River as their food and used the juice from the cassia trees in the Yin Mountains as their drink. They could soar through the air and ride the waves with the wind’s assistance. In the central plains where the climate was hot, the feathers on their clothing gradually fell off. Zhuanxu provided them with leopard-skin garments adorned with patterns to replace their feathered clothing. Bodai presented black jade rings, with a color as pure as black lacquer, and a thousand fine black horses as tributes. Zhuanxu used these black horses to pull chariots with iron wheels, which he used to tour and console the remote and distant regions. The people of Bodai, aided by the wind, sailed back to their homeland along the Black River.

To the north of the Huariver, there was a dense forest of purple cassia trees. The fruit of the cassia trees was like dates, and many immortals came to the cassia forest to partake of its fruit. Immortal Han Zhong, while collecting herbs to the north of the Huariver, composed a four-line poem: “In Huariver’s cassia grove, Fruits as large as dates they behove. Those who eat, it is believed, Shall live forever, undeceived.”




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