An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Zhong 重 and Li 黎 or Chong Li

Jul 14, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhong 重 was, according to the book Shanhaijing 山海經, a son of the mythical Emperor Zhuan Xu 顓頊. He had the duty to lift up Heaven, while his brother Li 黎 pressed down the earth.

Zhong is also identified with the spirit Gou Mang 句芒, an assistant deity helping Emperor Tai Hao 太皞 (Fu Xi 伏羲). It is also said that Li was the rectifier of fire and son of Emperor Zhuan Xu, while Chong was the "rectifier" (or "minister") of the process or element wood (mu zheng 木正) and son of Shao Hao 少昊 (Emperor Di Zhi 帝摯).

Zhong Li is also another designation for the tribes of the Nine Li (Jiuli 九黎), descendants of the demigod Chi You 蚩尤.

Zhong Li (or Chong Li) is also mentioned as an alternative name of Zhu Rong 祝融, the "rectifier of fire" (huozheng 火正). His father was Juan Zhang 卷章. Chong Li was executed by Zhuan Xu because he was unable to kill the rebellious water deity Gong Gong 共工. The historian Liang Yusheng 梁玉繩 (early 19th cent.) raised doubt about this version of the story of Chong Li because it would be strange that Emperor Zhuan Xu would execute a loyal minister.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1991). Shiji cidian 史記辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 349.
Yuan Ke 袁珂, ed. (1985). Zhongguo shenhua chuanshuo cidian 中國神話傳說詞典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), 278, 306, 432.