An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Di Jun 帝俊

Jan 23, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Di Jun 帝俊 was in Chinese mythology the ancestor of a several cultural inventors. His consort Xi He 羲和 was the goddess of the sun (rishen 日神) and gave birth to ten suns. His secondary wive Chang Xi 常羲 (i.e. Chang E 嫦娥) was the goddess of the moon (yueshen 月神) and gave birth to twelve moons.

During the reign of Emperor Yao 堯, the ten suns threatened to burn everything on earth, so that Di Jun gave another deity, Yi 羿, a red bow and silver arrows, with the help of which he shoot down nine of the ten suns in order to save the earth.

Other sons of Di Jun came down on the earth and founded kingdoms, among them Hou Ji 后稷, the ancestor deity of the Zhou dynasty 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) . Hou Ji invented the grain, his grandson Shu Jun 叔均 invented ploughing with oxen, Fan Yu 番禺 was the first to use a boat, Fan Yu's grandsons Ji Guang 吉光 and Xi Zhong 奚仲 invented the cart.

Another son of Di Jun, Yan Long 晏龍, invented the musical instrument zither, eight other sons invented singing and dancing and thought the humans all various arts. Yi Jun 義均 bestowed the people with the hundred skills. According to the chapters on inventions in the Shiben 世本 genealogies, Chui 垂 invented bells and plough, according to the philosophical book Mozi 墨子 also the boat, and according to Xunzi 荀子 the bow.

The many sons and descendants of Jun founded a lot of states that are listed in the book Shanhaijing 山海經.

Modern historians suppose that Di Jun was originally the same person as Di Ku 帝嚳 or even the famous Emperor Shun 舜.

Li Jianping 李劍平, ed. (1998). Zhongguo shenhua renwu cidian 中國神話人物辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 477.
Yuan Ke 袁珂, ed. (1985), Zhongguo shenhua chuanshuo cidian 中國神話傳說詞典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), 259.