An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Xie 契

Jul 14, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Xie 契 was the mythological ancestor of the Shang dynasty 商 (17th to 11th cent. BCE). His mother Jian Di 簡狄 once swallowed the egg of a black bird (xuan niao 玄鳥), became pregnant and gave birth to Xie.

The book Lunheng 論衡 narrates the story of the birth of the twins Yu 禹 (the Great) and Xie 禼 who came out from the back of their mother. In the book Chunqiu fanlu 春秋繁露 it is said that hair was growing on the back of Xie. In the Classic Shijing 詩經 "Book of Songs", Xie is called the "Black King" (xuanwang 玄王) who reigned over a small country that he was able to expand considerably.

According to the universal history Shiji 史記 he assisted Yu the Great in taming the floods.

Xie is also mentioned as the personal name of the mythical Emperor Shao Hao 少皞 (Di Zhi 帝摯). As a black bird, the swallow (yan 燕), he is called zhiniao 鷙鳥.

Yuan Ke 袁珂, ed. (1985). Zhongguo shenhua chuanshuo cidian 中國神話傳說詞典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), 264.