East Asian Mythology: China and Japan

Chinese Heroes

Who was Fuxi?

An ancient Chinese god, Fuxi was also a culture hero and human king. His heroic credentials are indicated by his miraculous conception; he was conceived by his mother when she stepped into a large footprint. He was sometimes seen as husband or sister to the Great Goddess Nuwa, and as was she, could be depicted with a serpent body and human head. Together Nuwa and Fuxi created social rules for civilization based on the harmony between yin and yang. In some texts Fuxi and Nuwa are the brother-sister couple who recreated humanity after the flood. Fuxi is considered the first of the Three Divine Sovereigns, followed by Nuwa and Shennong. As a culture hero, Fuxi is still popular, credited with many inventions, including, for instance, the eight trigrams used in Chinese divination, the rules of marriage, animal husbandry, and metallurgy. He was particularly concerned with the welfare of the people, who often seemed not to have enough to eat. It was he who, watching a spider weave a web, came up with the idea of using nets to catch fish. Fuxi is still worshipped, especially at the Renzu Temple in Huaiyang, where he is said to have been born.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Mythology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App