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Chinese Mythology - Gao Yao 皋陶

Periods of Chinese History
Gao Yao 皋陶 (normally read Gao Tao), also written Jiu Yao 咎繇 or Jiu Yao (Jiu Tao) 咎陶, was according to legend a minister of Emperor Shun 舜. He is venerated as the God of Jail (yushen 獄神). In the beginning he was a tribesleader of the Eastern Yi 東夷. His family name was Yan 偃, and he was appointed Chamberlain for Law Enforcement (dali 大理) by Emperor Shun, according to the book Shuoyuan 說苑. In this position he invented the five punishments (wuxing 五刑), as the catalogue of inventors in the genealogy Shiben 世本 says. He also served Emperor Yu the Great 大禹, the founder of the Xia dynasty 夏 (17th-15th cent. BCE). Yu selected Gao Yao to his successor, but he died at an early date. The lords of Ying 英 and Liu 六 (both near modern Liu'an 六安, Anhui) during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-221 BCE) were said to have been his descendants.

Sources: Li Jianping 李劍平 (ed. 1998), Zhongguo shenhua renwu cidian 中國神話人物辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), p. 542. ● Yuan Ke 袁珂 (ed. 1985). Zhongguo shenhua chuanshuo cidian 中國神話傳說詞典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), p. 322. ● Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮 (ed. 1994), Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 9.

January 23, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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