Yu the Great
Xia Dynasty king and founder / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Yu the Great (大禹) was a legendary king in ancient China who was famed for "the first successful state efforts at flood control," his establishment of the Xia dynasty which inaugurated dynastic rule in China, and his upright moral character. He figures prominently in the Chinese legend of "Great Yu Controls the Waters" (Chinese: 大禹治水; pinyin: Dà Yǔ Zhì Shuǐ).
|King of the Xia dynasty|
|Issue||Qi of Xia|
|Mother||Nüzhi (女志) or Nüxi (女嬉)|
The dates which have been proposed for Yu's reign predate the oldest-known written records in China, the oracle bones of the late Shang dynasty, by nearly a millennium. Yu's name was not inscribed on any artifacts which were produced during the proposed era in which he lived, nor was it inscribed on the later oracle bones; his name was first inscribed on vessels which date back to the Western Zhou period (c. 1045–771 BC).
The absence of near contemporary documentary evidence has caused significant doubt over Yu's historicity. Thus, proponents of his existence theorize that stories about his life and reign were orally transmitted in various areas of China until they were eventually recorded during the Zhou dynasty, while opponents of it believe that the figure existed in legend in a different form—as a god or a mythical beast—during the Xia dynasty, and morphed into a human figure by the start of the Zhou dynasty. Many of the stories about Yu were collected in Sima Qian's famous Records of the Grand Historian. Yu and other "sage-kings" of Ancient China were lauded for their virtues and morals by Confucius and other Chinese teachers.
Yu is one of the few Chinese monarchs who is posthumously honored with the epithet "the Great".