Delve into ShaoHao's reign, marked by artistic creation, rafting adventures, and his mother's serene life by the Poor Mulberry River.

Shaohao was known as the King of Gold Virtue. His mother’s name was Huang E, and in her earlier years, she resided in a palace constructed of beautiful jade, where she would weave brocade every night. Sometimes during the day, she would also ride a wooden raft to play on the water, passing through the vast and boundless shores of Qiong Sang. At one time, a divine child of extraordinary appearance, claiming to be the son of the White Emperor, the god of the Western Venus, descended from the heavens to the waterside. He met with Huang E, and they conversed, enjoying each other’s company and playing together. They performed beautiful and melodious music, becoming so engrossed in their amusement that they forgot to return home. Qiong Sang is the shore of the Western Sea, where there stands a gigantic mulberry tree with branches reaching eight thousand feet into the sky. The mulberry leaves are red, the mulberries are purple, and it bears fruit only once every ten thousand years. Those who eat the mulberries can achieve immortality.

The son of the White Emperor and Huang E embarked on a raft journey upon the boundless sea. They used branches of cinnamon trees as masts and tied knots of fragrant thatch grass to create flags. At the top of the mast, they placed jade stones carved in the shape of doves. It is said that doves are knowledgeable about the changing seasons throughout the year, hence the reference in the “Spring and Autumn Annals” to them “governing the two solstices of summer and winter.” Today’s weather forecasting, symbolized by crows and wind, traces its origins to these doves. The son of the White Emperor and Huang E sat side by side on the wooden raft. The son of the White Emperor played a zither made from the wood of paulownia trees atop Tongfeng Peak, while Huang E sang with a clear voice, harmonizing with the melody of the zither. She sang, “The weather is clear, the land is vast, the sea is immense and boundless, and all things are in constant change. The water and sky blend into one, extending infinitely. We sail on a wooden raft in the place where the sun rises from the sea. At that time, we didn’t know where we were, but we arrived at the land of Qiong Sang! Our hearts were filled with joy and endless delight.” Later, people referred to places of leisure as “Sangzhong.” The poem “Wei Feng” in the “Book of Songs” includes the line, “I long for the place in Sangzhong,” which likely references this tradition.

The son of the White Emperor sang, “The four corners and eight extremes are vast and boundless, with no visible boundaries. We chase the sunlight to the end of the sea. The night in Xuangong is quiet, and you weave brocade by the window. The paulownia trees on Tongfeng Peak reach thousands of feet high. We cut down paulownia trees to make musical instruments and create qin and se. With clear singing and flowing music, our joy knows no bounds. By the seashore, we nest and breathe together.” Later, Huang E gave birth to Shaohao, and she was called “Qiongsang Shi” or “Sangqiu Shi.” During the era of the Six States, Sangqiuzi, who wrote books on Yin-Yang and the Five Elements, was a descendant of the White Emperor. Emperor Shaohao ruled the western region, hence he was also called “Jintian Shi” or “Jinqu Shi.” At that time, five phoenix birds circled in the sky with colors representing the five directions, and they all landed in Shaohao’s courtyard. Therefore, Shaohao was also known as Fengniao Shi (Phoenix Bird Clan). During this period, there were reports of golden sounds emanating from the mountains, and silver gushing up from underground. The gushing silver took on forms resembling animals like turtles and snakes or occasionally human and ghostly shapes. A winding river, resembling the forms of dragons and phoenixes, flowed, and there was a high mountain with winding contours, resembling the twists and turns of a blue dragon, giving rise to names like Dragon Mountain, Turtle Mountain, and Phoenix River. Because of this, people adopted surnames related to dragons and snakes. In later times, some were known as Longqiu Shi (Dragon Hill Clan), as recorded in Ban Gu’s “Yiwen Zhi.” There were also those with the surname Sheqiu Shi (Snake Hill Clan), as mentioned in the “Legend of the Queen Mother of the West.”


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