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Yellow Emperor (Huang Di)
- Qin Shi Bu #4
 
黃帝 1
琴史補 #4 2
Yellow Emperor playing qin 3              
Information about the Yellow Emperor, also known as 軒轅 Xuan Yuan, is mostly or completely legendary (or cosmological): he may originally have been a real person but eventually came to be worshiped as a deity.4 Some sources say he came from 有熊 Youxiong ("Has Bears"), about 50 km south of what is today Zhengzhou in Henan province.5 He is credited with many inventions and as the originator of many practices. His "principle wife" 嫘祖 Leizu (also called 西陵氏 Xilingshi, frequently copied on the internet as "Si-Ling-Chi") is said to having invented and developed sericulture and weaving.

As for music, according to tradition Huang Di, right after succeeding Yan Di, ordered Ling Lun6 to organize the musical notes and modes. Then after (or during) dreams he is said to have written the melodies 華胥引 Huaxu Yin and Baji You. Another melody, Kongtong Wen Dao, concerns his discussing the Dao with Guangchengzi.

Further regarding the qin called 遞鍾 Dizhong, shown at right and as qin illustration 3 in Taiyin Daquanji, it is said that the Yellow Emperor used it to play melodies in the saddest mode, 清角 Qing Jiao.7

The original Qinshi Bu entry begins as follows:8

Huang Di was originally 軒轅 Xuanyuan from the 有熊氏 Youxiong clan. He grew up 姬水 by the Ji River and so used Ji as his surname. The region was in Youxiong, so the clan was called Youxiong....

Translation incomplete.

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Yellow Emperor (黃帝 Huang Di)   (Wikipedia)
Sources other than those listed here include the Annal 1 of the Annals of History, Liexian Zhuan and many others.
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2.
8 lines; Sources given: 網鑑 Wang Jian, 路史 Lu Shi, 古琴疏 Gu Qin Shu.
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3. Image: 黃帝之製 The Appearance of the Yellow Emperor (playing qin)
The image above comes from a series (宋人畫歷代琴式圖) that includes several other noted qin players. The original is in the 國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum. Its inscription begins, "黃帝姓公孫,名軒轅...."
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4. The historical Huang Di
Details are beyond the scope of the current page.
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5. Yellow Emperor's home town (軒轅故里、黃帝故里景區) (see also Henan)
14680.283 有熊 Youxiong: name for the Yellow Emperor and a place in 新鄭 Xinzheng district, south of Zhengzhou. The city has several sites dedicated to the Yellow Emperor. Thus, one can find online references to a Xuanyuan's Mound (軒轅之丘 Xuan Yuan zhi qiu), while on maps the name Xuan Yuan is used for, e.g., a 軒轅丘 Xuanyuan Mound. There is also a 黃帝宮 Yellow Emperor's Palace on the south side of Zhengzhou.
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6. Ling Lun
See further.
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7. 清角 Qing Jiao mode
It is said that later 師曠 Shi Kuang caused calamaties when playing melodies in this mode.
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8. Qinshi Bu entry on Huang Di
The original text is as follows:

黃帝,有熊氏,名軒轅,長於姬水,以姬為姓,國於有熊,故號有熊氏。誅蚩尤於涿鹿,代神農以治天下,法令明而上下無尤。命伶倫造律呂,榮猨作十二鐘,大容作《咸池》之樂。乘龍四巡,東薄海,禪凡山,作夢遊《華胥引》、《八極遊》。合符於釜山,以「遞鐘」之琴奏《清角》之音,鳴鶴翱翔,鳳凰蔽日。《清角》於音為最悲,德義薄者不足以聽之,春秋時晉平公令師曠奏《清角》,大風飛廊瓦,晉國大旱,赤地三年。夫樂不可妄作也。

Translation above is incomplete.l
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