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Yao
Chinese Emperor Yao. Color on silk, Song Dynasty. National Palace Museum
Reign 2333 BC-2234 BC (100 years)[1]
Predecessor Emperor Zhi
Successor Emperor Shun
Full name
Yi Qi Fang Xun 伊祁放勳
Dynasty Tao Tang
Born 2324 BC
Gaoyou, Jiangsu or Tianchang, Anhui
Died 2206 BC (aged 118)

Yao (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: YáoWade-Giles: Yao) (2358 - 2258 BC) was a Chinese ruler, one of the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors. Also known as Taotang Shi (陶唐氏), he was born Yi Fangxun (伊放勳) or Yi Qi (伊祁) as the second son to Emperor Ku and Qingdu (慶都). He is also known as Tang Yao (唐堯).

Often extolled as the morally perfect sage-king, Yao's benevolence and diligence served as a model to future Chinese monarchs and emperors. Early Chinese often speak of Yao, Shun and Yu as historical figures, and contemporary historians believe they may represent leader-chiefs of allied tribes who established a unified and hierarchical system of government in a transition period to the patriarchal feudal society. In the Book of History, (aka the Classic of History) one of the Five Classics, the initial chapters deal with Yao, Shun, and Yu. Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu) said that Yao and Shun were the best of all men (section 5, The Sign of Virtue Complete).

According to legend, Yao became the ruler at 20 and died at 119 when he passed his throne to Great Shun, to whom he gave his two daughters in marriage.

Of his many contributions, Yao is said to have invented the game of Weiqi, reportedly as an amusement for his slow-witted son Danzhu (丹朱). After the customary three year mourning period after Yao's death, Shun named Danzhu as the ruler but the people only recognized Shun as the rightful heir.

The Bamboo Annals offers a different story. Shun rebelled and imprisoned Yao where he is left to die. Danzhu is exiled and later defeated by Shun.

See also

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Notes

Emperor Yao
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Zhi
Emperor of China
c. 2358 BC – c. 2258 BC
Succeeded by
Shun
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