Talk:Yellow Emperor

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Chi You/蚩尤[edit]

The link in the introductory paragraph leads to a korean deity of the same name, is this a confusion or are they actually the same figure? it seems that there are at least two articles about this figure, one is more generalized and other seems to be korean centric, I'm changing the link to the first article, if anyone disagree, feel free to talk about it here and/or change it back. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

皇帝 versus 黄帝[edit]

I thought that the Yellow Emperor is written 皇帝 (Huáng Dì). Although 黄 (huáng) means yellow, I regularly saw 皇 in combination with 帝. Could someone tell me the difference in the usage of those two character combinations? Thanks a lot Gugganij 21:53, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

They are just homophones. Look at the last sentence of The Three August Ones and the Five Emperors. --Menchi 22:06, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
O.K., thus 黄帝 refers to the mystical emporer and 皇帝 to the first historical one. Is this right? Gugganij 23:24, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
皇帝 is just a common noun meaning "emperor". The First Qin Emperor just happens to be the first one who uses that term. All emperors after him are 皇帝s as well. --Menchi 23:44, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Thank you for your prompt replies! Gugganij 00:06, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)
皇帝 (Emperor) is a title. There were dozens if not hundreds of 皇帝 (Emperors) through out the history of China. They all lived in the historical period when written lauguages were fully developed, therefore their deeds were fully recorded.
黄帝 , on the other hand, is only one person. He has a name "公孙·轩辕".He was the chief of one of the most powerful tribes in prihistoric China along the Yellow River drainage basin. He together with "炎帝"-- the chief of a rivalry tribe, eventually allied with him -- were considered the ancestor of all the modern day Chinese. They lived thousands of years prior to the title "皇帝" existed and their stories were passed along from generation to generation until written words were invented. The title 皇帝 borrowed one word from "黄帝" and "炎帝" to add the legitimacy and authority that were bestowed from the heaven.
How stupid to translate into "yellow emperor". It's better use pronunciation translation, not word by word. Based on the "Five Elements" theory, yellow is the color of "earth" which is located in the center. The other four are: Wood, east; Fire, south; Metal, west; Water, north. So actually, 黄帝 means the king/emperor of the central kingdom which is same as the meaning of 中国.
If what you say is true, perhaps you could write it up and stick it in the article? Hanfresco (talk) 08:33, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
What he says is only partially true. He's the Yellow Emperor in English because he's the "Yellow Emperor" in Chinese. He's no more the "Earth" (土) or "Central" (中) emperor than he is the "Pervert [modern slang meaning of 黄] Emperor". And leaving it as Huangdi leads to all the confusion mentioned above and below in regards to the two "first emperor"s of China. — LlywelynII 07:45, 3 October 2011 (UTC)
The above posters are a little misleading. Huangdi was the adopted name of the Qin emperor and not merely a title. It simply got coopted, the way Caesar and Augustus became imperial ranks in Europe. — LlywelynII 07:45, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

"Yellow Lord"?[edit]

Should this be at Yellow Lord instead? The term 皇帝 means Emperor and was not invented until Qin Shihuang took over. 帝 doesnt necessarily mean "emperor" --Jiang 10:35, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It might be a better translation, but Yellow Lord is used less often than Yellow Emperor. Shawnc 02:56, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
As above; plus no it's not better. — LlywelynII 07:48, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Name Confusion w/Shi Huangdi[edit]

Any references to the Yellow Emperor tend to be related to Qin Shi Huang. "Huang Di" is just a generic term for "emperor" in Mandarin Chinese. "Huang," although describes the colour "yellow," is also used synonymously with "royalty" and "di" means "earth". Thus, "Huang Di" simply describes any "ruler of the earth," with no relation to any specific emperor.

Different huangs. This one is specifically this guy's exact name only. But you're right that Qinny needs his own hatnote. — LlywelynII 07:50, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Wrong Story[edit]

Yellow Emperor is depicted as a human being. Nuwa and Fuxi are said to have snake/dragon bodies. Edipedia 16:52, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Huangdi sometimes turned into dragons, too. But you're right that we should mostly stick with Sima Qian & co. — LlywelynII 07:51, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Era usage[edit]

This article used BC notation until November 2005 when User:Joe Kress changed to the BCE notation [1] in an edit with a summary that didn't mention the change. It is clear that the original intention was to use BC and that was the preference of the first major editor of this article. According to Wiki policy, therefore, BC notation should be used. If BC/AD isn't used in China, no problem. Use BCE/CE in the Chinese Wikipedia, but in the English version please maintain the preference of the first major editor. Arcturus 20:56, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Someone restored it. Reverted again. — LlywelynII 07:52, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Coherent, accessible writing[edit]

I would like to see this article made easier to understand by readers who don't yet know any Chinese history.

This article is more a list of legends and stories than a coherent article. It is hard for someone without background in Chinese culture to understand the significance of the Yellow Emperor. Here are some questions I would like to see answered by the article: Is the Yellow Emperor a major cultural figure in China? Is that why he's important? Is he mainly the hero of children's fairy tales? Is he mainly a figure in classical Chinese opera? Is there any reason at all to think he is historical? Does his life have a course from beginning to end, or is it just a random collection of episodes? What happens in the episodes (e.g., the westward retreat) – I could not tell from the article why anyone cares about this retreat, what he was retreating from, how the Han Chinese come into it, or how Han Chinese differ from other Chinese. (I know the answers to many of these questions, but the average curious reader will not. I suggest it will not hurt to give a few words explaining who Han Chinese are, and more words on the more significant of these questions. Other natural questions may occur to some of you, and that can lead to writing a better article.) Zaslav 06:55, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Excellent points. Could certainly still use more real history from an anthropological angle. — LlywelynII 07:54, 3 October 2011 (UTC)


The Copyvio notice should only be added to the page if the entire page and all revisions are copyvios according to Wikipedia:Copyright problems, which is where full page copyvios are collected. If only a portion of the page violates a copyright, then it says that the page should be reverted to a non-copyright version if possible (and a notice sent to the offending editor). Removal of the copyrighted text accomplishes that task. Wikipedia:Copyright#If you find a copyright infringement says to state on the talk page that copyrighted text has been removed and give its source (this entry accomplishes that task). Because the copyvio source was good, I added it as an external link. — Joe Kress 03:26, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The text added by looks too much like a story to be his own work. I suspect it was copied, hence is a possible copyvio, so I am removing it. If it is in the public domain, please provide its source. In any case, this is an encyclopedia, so details of the legend should not be in the form of a story. — Joe Kress 05:32, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Revert incorrect anti-copyviol edit[edit]

Hi, my edit that reclaims copyright violation from URL, now I think was wrong. According to seems is Mr. Werz to be ispired from here and others Wikipedia articles (see Shennong, "A close kin of the...", 25 February 2005). Please accept my apologies. --F. Cosoleto 13:45, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

I should have caught that myself, especially since I have seen several other alledged 'copyvio's that were actually copied from Wikipedia without attribution. Furthermore, I have been monitoring and contributing to the article (in a minor way) since 2005 when the text is question was largely developed, The basic template was instituted by Mandel on 25 February 2005, and its basic wording was in place on 9 November 2005 when I contributed a couple of minor words to the compass parargraph, added the day before by Hanchi. That was reordered by on 19 May 2006, and the enemy named as Chi You by Aranherunar on 3 July 2006, resulting in one of the paragraphs deleted as 'copyvio'. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention to this article, being more concerned with other articles. — Joe Kress 22:19, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Move to Emperor Huang[edit]

Why do people translate Emperor Huang as "Yellow Emperor"? Did Emperor Huang colored yellow? "Huang" means "yellow" in Chinese only as a simple word, but not in this situation. I think "Yellow Emperor" should change to "Emperor Huang". Anthony Li

Huangdi indeed chose yellow as his color, from the color of the Huang Ho or Yellow river (the muddiest river in the world). But first preference for the title of articles in the English Wikipedia should be their common English name, if they have one. Google has 177,000 hits for "Yellow Emperor", 107,000 for Huangdi, 88,000 for "Huang di", 60,000 for "Huang ti", or 1320 for Huangti (262,000 hits for all permutations of his romanized name, excluding shih or shi). "Emperor Huang" has virtually no hits so is unacceptable. This count leans towards "Yellow Emperor". I have no preference except for excluding Emperor Huang. The alternate name in the article is already Huang Di, although I think that violates pinyin guidelines, which would prefer Huangdi. — Joe Kress 05:48, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
As acceptable as "Yellow Emperor" as a translation of "Huangdi" is, he was neither yellow nor an emperor. I suggest the article be named "Huangdi" and can be redirected from "Yellow Emperor" and other variations. Chevrox 02:45, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Cause, yellow is an imperial color and only emperors could wear yellow clothes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:45, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I can understand people's objections to the term Yellow Emperor, but it has been his standard name in English, used in many, many books, for at least 150 years, so it should stay. "Huangdi" would just confuse anyone who does not know Chinese, as it looks exactly like "Huangdi" meaning Emperor. (talk) 22:50, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely no one calls him that, and it does mean yellow in this situation even if both etymologies above are totally bogus. — LlywelynII 07:57, 3 October 2011 (UTC)


Dont it seem like the term "Yellow Emperor" seem racist! I think this need it be changed. I am terribly offended. Please change this. I would but i dont know how to edit well. I am Thanks. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:48, 19 January 2007 (UTC).

According to this book on world religions that gives an overview of Taoïsme, "the people called him the "Yellow Emperor" because of his rule that was full of compassion and benevolence." (quickly translated from french) You seem to be finding political incorrectness where there is none. --Dandin1 18:41, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, yellow is an imperial color and only emperors could wear yellow clothes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:31, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
His kingdom was also based around the Huang He, or yellow, river, if I am not mistaken. (talk) 21:04, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Troll be trollin'. But given that similar silliness has led to 3-4 move requests at list of man-made disasters, I suppose it's worth pointing out that in addition to being a simple translation of the Chinese name 黄帝, "Yellow Emperor" is the WP:ENGLISH WP:COMMONNAME. — LlywelynII 01:40, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Chi-You vs Huangdi[edit]

"Chi-You's victory over Huangdi after 72 battles." If some Koreans believe this, I suspect it is a recent phenomenon right? Hanfresco 05:55, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Historicity and meaning of name[edit]

The first sentence of the article discribes Huang Di as "legendary", but both the Cambridge Illustrated History of China and Stephen Haw's A Traveller's History of China treat him as a historical figure. Can we have a reference to sources which say he is not a historical figure?

John Man in The Terracotta Army says that "huang" can mean both "august" and "yellow" in different contexts and that the term "Yellow Emperor" was originally a pun on "August Emperor." Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 10:27, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Ah, I now see we are talking about two different emperors called Huang Di, which was what I searched for. The works I cited are referring to Shi Huangdi or Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor. This is confusing and there needs to be a redirect from Huang Di to the respective articles. Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 10:40, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Excellent point. Done. — LlywelynII 07:59, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Contemporary Political Significance[edit]

This is something from the President Ma (Republic of China on Taiwan President) article:

  • In April 2009 President Ma made himself the first ROC President to pay homage in person to the legendary Yellow Emperor, believed to have founded China as a nation more than 5,000 years ago. Accompanied by all his government leaders, the president sang the ROC's national anthem as the starter. Ma then burned joss sticks, laid a wreath, and offered fruit, cloth and wine to the mythological national founder. He read a eulogy before he concluded the rites by bowing three times to the west, where the Chinese mainland is located.

[1] Ma's spokesman, said the president wanted to pay his respects to the Yellow Emperor on National Tomb-Sweeping Day in person to stress the importance of China's ancestor-worshipping tradition. However, others saw the precedent-making ceremonies at the Martyrs' Shrine as meant to be a show by President Ma of his unprofessed commitment to maintain an umbilical relationship between Taiwan and the PRC.[2] My question is whether politicians on Mainland China also carry on similar ceremonies or would that go against Communist theory so to speak? Thanks. (My Nickname here can be: Mr YellowEmperor). (talk) 21:42, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

That's an excellent question. The article says that the ceremonies have been carried out since the Spring & Autumn period but it does seem dubious that continued even under the Cultural Revolution. Regardless, the trip of Taiwanese leaders to the actual Mainland seemed more noteworthy than some ROC Prez just looking that way, so I formatted the article accordingly. If there was an important political subtext to the action, it should probably be restored with a better explanation than last time. — LlywelynII 08:02, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

two yellow emporers[edit]

When modern Western historians refer to the Yellow Emporer they mean Chin Shihuangdi, the first Chin emporer, 221 - 210 BC. This cant be the same Yellow Emporer the Chinese mean, who lived 2,300 years earlier and is credited with the invention of medicine and writing. The first Chin emporer by comparison seems to have been a bloodthirsty megalomaniac.

What's going on here? Is this just Eurocentric cultural chauvinism; they cant believe in Chinese antiquity or something? It seems more reasonable to accept Chinese accounts of their own history than modern Western scholars. (talk) 05:01, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

It is hardly "eurocentrism" to follow scientific standards in historic writing. In Europe there is a lot of "history", which people "believe" in, e.g. we make movies about them, which is largely mythical. The Trojan war, Romulus and Remus, the Tower of Babel etc. Many of them probably have a historical core, but details are inconsitent and they cannot be located and dated exactly. By all scientific standards Huangdi is mythical. There was probably a person who was the root of the myths by the details of atributed to Huangdi are certainly almost all not correct with regard to the historical figure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:44, 26 December 2010 (UTC), the article text is incorrect IMHO. Qin Shihuang may have modelled himself on the Yellow Emperor but he is never referred to as such - I believe that the Chinese sources are correct. Well spotted. Philg88 (talk) 10:26, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Qin Shihuang is never the "Yellow Emperor" except among scholars working (badly) with only translated texts. It's a completely different character. Still, deserves hatnote. — LlywelynII 08:04, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Sons of Noah[edit]

Hello! I was curious if any editor has source material on which son of Noah the Sinitic peoples are said to be descended from, and if ancient Chinese records correlate with the Genalogies found in the Old testament..--Gniniv (talk) 22:42, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

There are many Chinese creation myths featuring a great flood which match with the old testament but I have never come across one that features the sons of Noah. If you have some other pointers (names and things) then I'll have a look in Chinese WP for you.Philg88 (talk) 00:59, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Thank you so much (my illiteracy in Chinese has hindered my investigations). If you don't mind looking for ancient Chinese figures who would correspond to the following sons of Joktan I would appreciate it:
      • Almodad, son of Joktan. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary "Almodad" means "immeasurable", however it has also been translated as "not measured",[3] "measurer",[4] "measure of God",[5] "the beloved," or, "God is beloved",[6] "God is love",[7] and "God is a friend".[8][9]
      • Sheleph, son of Joktan. Sheleph means "drawing out" or "who draws out" (Hitchcock's Bible Dictionary).
      • Hazarmaveth, son of Joktan. Hazarmaveth, also transcribed Hazarmaueth, means "dwelling of death" (Hitchcock's Bible Dictionary) and is composed of two parts in Hebrew: hazar/ḥaṣar ("dwelling" or "court") and maveth/mawet ("death"). (There are alternative systems for transliterating Hebrew into Latin letters.)
      • Jerah, son of Joktan.
      • Hadoram, son of Joktan. According to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's footnotes: "Hadarom: Some interpret this as denoting 'the south.'
      • Uzal, son of Joktan.
      • Diklah son of Joktan.
      • Obal, son of Joktan.
      • Abimael, son of Joktan. Abimael means my father is God.
      • Sheba, son of Joktan.
      • Ophir, son of Joktan. Ophir means Goldman or Goldstein
      • Havilah, son of Joktan. Literally meaning "Stretch of Sand"
      • Jobab, son of Joktan.
Any ancient Chinese figures who have similar sounding names (or meanings of names) would be helpful. Thanks for the assistance!--Gniniv 01:07, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ [ Ma pays homage in person to the Yellow Emperor (China Daily Post - Taipei)
  2. ^ [ Ma pays homage in person to the Yellow Emperor (China Daily Post - Taipei)
  3. ^ Hebrew word #486 in Strong's Concordance
  4. ^ Rene Noorbergen (2001). Secrets of the Lost Races: New Discoveries of Advanced Technology in Ancient Civilizations. TEACH Services, Inc. ISBN 1572581980. 
  5. ^ Roswell Dwight Hitchcock, Nathaniel West, Alexander Cruden (1870). Hitchcock's New and Complete Analysis of the Holy Bible. A.J. Johnson. ISBN 0837017424. 
  6. ^ "Almodad". International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915. 
  7. ^ Thomas Inman (2002). "Almodad". Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names Part 1. Kessinger Publishing. p. 231. ISBN 0766126684. 
  8. ^ Alfred J. Kolatch (2005). "Almodad". The Comprehensive Dictionary of English & Hebrew First Names. Jonathan David Company. pp. p39. ISBN 0824604555. 
  9. ^ David K. Stabnow (2006). "Almodad". HCSB Super Giant Print Dictionary and Concordance. Broadman & Holman. p. 47. ISBN 0805494898. 
Phew! good job - I'll look into it and keep you posted on your talk page.Philg88 (talk) 03:03, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
This would be an interesting thing to include on the relevant Mosaic/Hebrew history page. But unlike with Middle Eastern potentates and peoples, there is absolutely no way that the Mosaic tradition was referencing actual historical Chinese people when describing the Indian/East Asian descendents of Noah. [& even if you want be completely silly and pretend the relevant Chinese migrated in during the historical period and Moses totally knew about them, you're looking at Old Chinese names which are almost impossible to get from just looking at what's left in pinyin. Cf. Old Chinese Wjat with Modern Chinese Yue (sim. to Uehhh said really fast).] — LlywelynII 08:11, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Pinyin of 氏[edit]

The article says "He also has the Hào name (號) Xuānyuán-si (軒轅氏) and Youxiong-si (有熊氏)". I've never heard 氏 pronounced si, neither can I find any source which says it should be pronounced so, I'm pretty sure it should be shi. Only alternative pronounciation I could find was zhi and I doubt that's correct in this context. -- (talk) 09:40, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary is your friend. — LlywelynII 08:13, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Legendary figure in mythology?[edit]

Huang Di is a historical figure. I mean, look at the references. They are history books. At least he should be half historical, half legendary. If there is no objection, I'm going to change the first sentence. --Betty (talk) 05:51, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

The first sentence of our article is virtually identical to the first sentence of the entry on Huang Di in the Handbook of Chinese mythology by Lihui Yang and Deming An (2005): "Huang Di, or the Yellow Emperor, is one of the most renowned legendary figures in Chinese mythology and culture." Confucianists practised euhemerism (or reverse euhemerism), that is, they changed Huang Di from a god in the early Zhou dynasty to a man in the later Zhou and Han dynasties. "Chinese scholars regularly eliminated the supernatural or marvelous elements in a myth that seemed to them improbable, and then interpreted myths as real history, and the gods as humans."[2]Joe Kress (talk) 07:08, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
That's quotation from one person. There are many other scholars with other opinions. Wiki's principle is to be neutral, representing all scholarly views as fairly as possible. We can't just label some scholars' opinions as "euhemerism" and dismiss them. Maybe it's better to explain the situation in the article, like "Some believe it is history. Some think it is myth. Many scholars eliminate the supernatural elements and interpret the real part". (the meaning expressed in a more sophisticated writing style) --Betty (talk) 17:44, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
It not a "label" on contemporary scholars. The euhemerism mentioned an historical fact, well know in chinese historical research. It has been established by comparing texts from different periods, which clearly show the described evolution from "myth" to "fact" on the same content. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:49, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
I think this should be changed to "legendary" instead of the "half historical, half legendary". Then in the history section, explain that the ancient Chinese believe him to be a historical figure. Angry bee (talk) 05:31, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree - there are no contemporary written records and the "myth to fact" migration theory holds the most water. Sure, the ancient Chinese believed he was a real figure. I once believed in Father Christmas. Philg88 (talk) 07:55, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Betty's point is very well taken, but simply points to not really understanding what a legend is and getting it mixed up with myth. The Yellow Emperor is the very archetype of a legendary culture hero.
On the other hand, the article would be very well served by more historical, scientific, and anthropological details about what we really know about the Chinese of this era and what the real Huangdi and his world might've been like. — LlywelynII 08:17, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

FIFA states that it considers Huang-Ti is the original source for football[edit]

The current entry does not appear to make any mention of football (soccer) - to what extent is there evidence to support the FIFA position? Iambrisie (talk) 16:20, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

See Cuju.--Betty (talk) 18:08, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
That wasn't very clear in the passage, so I clarified it. — LlywelynII 08:31, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Moving forward: Avoid hagiography[edit]

User:Benjwong did a fine job tidying up the rambling central textblock that preceded him. He also wrote Huangdi's life as though it were history, which is pretty farcical. I know it's bad form to add weasel words or a "supposedly" to every single sentence, but you have to bring out the fact that these are simply stories and not actual events. One way I tried to do that was shifting all the verbs into the literary present.

What would be better would be to reference the primary sources for these tales: According to Sima Qian..., In the Guoyu..., In X's account..., &c.

In any case, claiming with a straight face that he actually invented civilization single-handedly while fighting 82 bull-headed brothers makes no more sense than having a section on "Was Huangdi a reptilian?". — LlywelynII 08:31, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

I just saw your comments, LlywelynII, and I agree with them. It's important to report what reliable sources have said about the Yellow Emperor, and all English-language scholarship that I know of treats him either as a "legendary king" or as a "mythical ruler" (or something along those lines). Right now, the section called "Historicity" only mentions the Shiji and some unspecified "Chinese historiography following him" in considering Huangdi as a historical character. This produces a very biased picture. I'll see what I can find to balance this claim. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 02:41, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Moving forward: More anthropology & politics[edit]

A few things the article could use more of

  • returning some of the historical information User:Benjwong removed (such as Huangdi's bear totem) with sources
  • more (balanced, sourced, mainstream) anthropology on him and his era or links to those articles
  • fuller treatment of the use of his legend in Chinese history and modern politics.

The Taiwanese section may be important or non-notable, I really don't know. But I think it's likely that ceremonial observances and control of his supposed tomb was important in the past and highly dubious that the full rituals (hell, any rituals) were observed by the PRC during the Maoist era. — LlywelynII 08:31, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

I support all your suggestions, especially the third one. The yearly cult of Huangdi was (re-?) established in the Republican period, so it's not surprising that Taiwanese presidents (who also rule over the "Republic of China") would try to perpetuate it. But the context of this cult should be better explained. Let me try to find something on that too. Madalibi (talk) 03:59, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Gongsun and Ancestral name[edit] 公孫源流考。——星光下的人 (talk) 07:10, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

There was also no real "emperors" up until the Qin. Should he also be called "yellow king" (黃王)? Sima Qian is from the Han, is he wrong to write according to his time? So is every modern author that use Gongsun Xuanyuan like a modernized lastname firstname. Benjwong (talk) 22:41, 16 October 2011 (UTC)


I think we should modify the structure of this wiki to make it easier to add relevant info on Huangdi's changing historical roles. The sections "Early years," "Achievements," "Battles," "Death," and "Legacy" should probably be sub-parts of a large section called "Traditional account" (or the like). There should also be a new section on "Origins of the myth" that discusses the earliest mention of Huangdi in Chinese texts. We can do much more, but this would be a good beginning. What do you think? Madalibi (talk) 03:27, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Just thinking: there could also be a section called "Sima Qian's version." Two reasons: 1) Sima Qian wrote the first systematized account of the Yellow Emperor; 2) this version was accepted by so many traditional historians after him. Having such a section would make it easier to explain earlier or contemporary accounts of Huangdi (as ancestor of many clans, as the object of a state cult in Qin, as a patron of esoteric arts, etc.), as well as later developments. Comments? Madalibi (talk) 03:56, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm starting to lean toward this structure: 1) Historicity [changing views of the YE's historicity]. 2) Names [like now, but more detailed; could also switch with first section]. 3) Origins [would explain the origin of the Huangdi figure]. 4) Sima Qian's account [deserves its own section because it's been so influential]. 5) Important stories [to explain in more detail the mythology surrounding Huangdi: battle with Chi You, inventions, etc.]. 6) Historical roles [ideal ruler, patron of the esoteric arts, ancestor of some Chinese clans, medicine, Taoism, etc., tons of things to say]. 7) Modern roles [ancestor of all Chinese, role in modern Chinese politics and historiography]. There are enough sources out there to make each section substantial. Comments would be welcome! Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 03:28, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

New references[edit]

I put a long list of "Further reading" (23 titles so far) at the end of the article. I hope it can help other editors find reliable statements on the Yellow Emperor. Hope this helps! Madalibi (talk) 05:39, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

I translated all the Chinese titles (books, articles, and websites) and moved all the works cited in the footnotes into a newly expanded "Bibliography." The footnotes should now be much more readable. Tomorrow I'll try to do more on content. Madalibi (talk) 09:25, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

On the infobox[edit]

Do we really need that infobox? It makes Huangdi appear as a historical ruler who just happened not to have had any "temple name" or "posthumous name," and whose "official title" was "Yellow Emperor." These notions ("temple name" and the like) were actually invented about 2,500 years after Huangdi's alleged reign, so they seem entirely irrelevant to him. And in what sense is "Yellow Emperor" an "official title"?

Second, his "ancestral name" and "given name" were not mentioned in any source that we know of before the Shiji (ca. 100 BCE). Also, Chinese commentators on the Shiji since at least the Tang have claimed that these were not personal names but place names (same thing with "Shaodian"). The box makes these names appear objective and self-evident, which they are clearly not. We could say somewhere that Sima Qian thought that these were Huangdi's names, but if we go beyond that we will be interpreting (not just citing and attributing) a primary source in a way that is forbidden by WP:OR.

So we could keep a box with a picture and a general identification of Huangdi as one of the mythical Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, as well as a box with Romanization, but the rest is unsupported by reliable sources. What do you think? Madalibi (talk) 12:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

And to stick with the issue of names: the "Names" section contradicts Sima Qian by claiming that "Xuanyuan shi" 轩辕氏 and "Youxiong shi" 有熊氏 were Huangdi's "pseudonyms," with a piped link under pseudonym that leads to an explanation of the notion of hao 号. But Sima Qian does not mention the name "Youxiong" at all, he does not use the term shi 氏 either, and he says that Xuanyuan was Huangdi's ming 名, not his hao 号. So we have a problem... I think we should have a better section on names that starts with Sima Qian and tries to move forward in time to see what other names were given to Huangdi throughout history. Would that be acceptable? Madalibi (talk) 12:46, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Louis Crompton- claims of homosexuality[edit]

Crompton is a scholar of english literature, and not a historian. All edu sites and universities say "pioneer of gay studies", and he was behind several pro LGBT organizations and clearly biased in favor of homosexuality. He does not even have a phd in gay studies though. He was called a "historian" in this article. I fix this error.

Louis Crompton (1925-2009) "Louis Crompton, noted scholar of 19-century British literature and a pioneer of gay studies,"

LGBTQA Programs & Services: Louis Crompton Scholarship "Louis Crompton was an extraordinary pioneer of gay studies and an international scholar of nineteenth-century British literature. "

Louis Crompton Scholarship Fund - "The Louis Crompton Scholarship Fund is the first permanently endowed scholarship providing much needed support to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students with financial need at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln."

Sonny Fin (talk) 05:43, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

On Liu Yizheng on the historicity of the Yellow Emperor[edit]

I notice that an editor has, in good faith, added several lines to the "Historicity" section, mentioning Liu Yizheng (1880-1956) and Miao Fenglin 繆鳳林 (1898-1959) as possible supporters for the historicity of the Yellow Emperor. To give some context, these two historians were part of a group of intellectuals who worked around the Critical Review, or Xueheng 學衡, a journal that was founded in 1922. While it's true that Liu and Miao often opposed Gu Jiegang and other supporters of the Doubting Antiquity School, who were among the first to doubt the historicity of the Yellow Emperor, here we need specific and referenced information on what Liu and Miao thought of the Yellow Emperor. I tried to find such info as I expanded the page on Liu Yizheng, but all I found was a citation from Hon Tze-ki (a specialist of historical writing in Republican China) saying that "Despite their disagreements, both Liu and Gu rejected the traditional accounts that began Chinese history with mythical figures such as the Yellow Emperor and the Divine Farmer (as recorded in the Records of the Grand Historian)." (SOURCE: Hon's article "Cultural Identity and Local Self-Government: A Study of Liu Yizheng's History of Chinese Culture," Modern China 30.4 [October 2004]: 536, note 27.)

Since the newly added sentences are unreferenced and since I found a reliable source saying explicitly that Liu Yizheng rejected the existence of the Yellow Emperor, I am making the new additions invisible. I will delete them in a week or two if no reference can be found to support them. I am also reestablishing the claim that "most [not just "some"] scholars now agree that the Yellow Emperor was originally a deity who was later transformed into a human figure." Even with references, two scholars from the Republican period would not be enough to disagree with a scholarly consensus that is supported by dozens of modern sources cited in the bibliography. Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 08:19, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

More than two weeks have passed since the above message, and no new references have been found, so I just deleted the new sentences altogether. Similar content can of course be reinserted if we find proper references for it. Madalibi (talk) 05:48, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

2 yellow & noah[edit]

as further background ... see above several locations where the distinction is made between early china 'yellow' emperor c. 2500 BC and later also sometimes called 'yellow; emperor, the first emperor who consolidated china and died 209 BC... and what that garbled discussion leads anyone to, is, the conclusion that the scholars pontificating about any of it have little or weak sources and are confused and so are NOT scholars (educated ab a subject) at all... ; 2nd subject, the descent from adam to noah to joktan and so on to china AND back to the mideast has been out, as a copyrighted descent/listing some time now ... (7 years) and bears some consideration, as those same scholars unknolwedgeable about any of those lines of descent, are the same sherry ? ladss who opined so eloquently, on the various discussions above without any clues ... the detailed royal lines are there and part of history ... read up ... etc - the real huangdi, speak to the dragon !! (talk)jr —Preceding undated comment added 20:31, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Re: "the descent from adam to noah to joktan and so on to china AND back to the mideast has been out, as a copyrighted descent/listing some time now ... (7 years) and bears some consideration"
Really? Other theories connecting the Chinese to other names in Genesis 10 besides Joktan have been "out" for much longer than that too... But no one of these theories has ever been taken that seriously outside a small group, and it would need some reference tying it in specifically with this topic to even be considered. Til Eulenspiegel /talk/ 20:50, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Claims of descent from the Yellow Emperor in the Warring states period and beyond[edit]

The Yellow Emperor and the origin of Chinese surnames[edit]

Mitrophan Chin (talk) 13:37, 23 November 2013 (UTC) Here is genealogy of Yellow Emperor and it traces down to my surname Chen:

The Xianbei claimed to be descended from the Yellow Emperor[edit]

The Xianbei claimed to be related to the Chinese through descent by the Yellow Emperor

page 75

Because his forces were victorious in this battle, the Yellow Emperor's clan came to be known by the surname of "Bear" (Youxiongshi). The Weishu also states that the Xianbei were descended from one of the sons of the Yellow Emperor, ...,+the+Yellow+Emperor's+clan+came+to+be+known+by+the+surname+of+%22Bear%22+(Youxiongshi).+The+Weishu+also+states+that+the+Xianbei+were+descended+from+one+of+the+sons+of+the+Yellow+Emperor,&dq=Because+his+forces+were+victorious+in+this+battle,+the+Yellow+Emperor's+clan+came+to+be+known+by+the+surname+of+%22Bear%22+(Youxiongshi).+The+Weishu+also+states+that+the+Xianbei+were+descended+from+one+of+the+sons+of+the+Yellow+Emperor,&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vj8QUoW1LKeiyAGehYBY&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA

page 279

They have a fanciful history complete with legends claiming the Yellow Emperor as one of their ancestors.2 Although much of Xianbei culture is similar to that of the Xiongnu, there are distinct differences.' Xianbei burials commonly contain a ...,+there+are+distinct+differences.'+Xianbei+burials+commonly+contain+a&dq=They+have+a+fanciful+history+complete+with+legends+claiming+the+Yellow+Emperor+as+one+of+their+ancestors.2+Although+much+of+Xianbei+culture+is+similar+to+that+of+the+Xiongnu,+there+are+distinct+differences.'+Xianbei+burials+commonly+contain+a&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2D8QUpGGH4iTyQGOn4GgBg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA

page 4

The Taba Xianbei, however, disliked the idea that they were mixed blood of the Han and Xiongnu. Instead, they traced their ancestry to the Chinese legendary Yellow Emperor (Huangdi H^?, the symbol of "earth" of the Five Elements) in order ...,+however,+disliked+the+idea+that+they+were+mixed+blood+of+the+Han+and+Xiongnu.+Instead,+they+traced+their+ancestry+to+the+Chinese+legendary+Yellow+Emperor+(Huangdi+H%5E?,+the+symbol+of+%22earth%22+of+the+Five+Elements)+in+order&dq=The+Taba+Xianbei,+however,+disliked+the+idea+that+they+were+mixed+blood+of+the+Han+and+Xiongnu.+Instead,+they+traced+their+ancestry+to+the+Chinese+legendary+Yellow+Emperor+(Huangdi+H%5E?,+the+symbol+of+%22earth%22+of+the+Five+Elements)+in+order&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6j8QUt3mIaWbygGL6oCwAg&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA

00:19, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Where can I confirm that most chinese families descend from the Yellow Emperor?[edit]

The reference given is a book about Irish genealogies, there is nothing about the family tree of the Yellow Emperor there. Does somebody have a correct reference? It is difficult to believe that most of the Chinese descend from a single individual, but well, I guess there is a remote possibility... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

The article does not claim that most Chinese families descend from the Yellow Emperor. The article states that he is "said to be the ancestor of all Huaxia Chinese." Not that "huaxia" means "cultured society". It is a cultural heritage not a biological heritage. I can't see any references about Irish? Rincewind42 (talk) 01:11, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Not so difficult to believe most Chinese could descend from the same individual, once you get to understand more about where ancestors come from, and the way they leave many decendants (talk) 01:27, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
It might be possible (though still extremely unlikely) that all Chinese are biologically descended from the Yellow Emperor if he had been a real person, but he is a mythological figure. All those claims to descend from the YE are attempts to trace clan ancestry as far back into the past as possible for the sake of prestige. The section called Claims of descent needs a clean-up, especially the paragraph that starts with Most Chinese genealogies trace their family ultimately to Huangdi. @Rincewind42: The reference to a book about the Irish was rightly removed by the first commenting IP.[3] Madalibi (talk) 04:35, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
I still don't follow your pronouncement of "extremely unlikely"... Let alone the question of whether a person existed that long ago with the specific name "Yellow Emperor"... The more you study about the technical reality of how populations grow, the more you will realize that it is extremely "likely" they had common ancestors, and did not independently spring up from the ground, nor fall down from the sky. You may argue about what their names may have been, or whether any of them might have named "Yellow Emperor". But to assert all authoritatively-sounding that it is "extremely unlikely" that modern populations could possibly have common ancestry, simply flies in the face of everything we know about how human beings in fact do operate. (talk) 12:03, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Well, my comment was indeed a bit short. The main point of it was that the YE is a mythical character, and that this should end the debate on whether all Chinese are really descended from him. It's true that if you go back far enough into the past, you will find that everybody is either the ancestor of all humans alive today, or of no humans alive today, and (obviously) you don't have to go back to Homo erectus to find that situation. On a smaller scale, I guess this is true for Chinese people too. What is extremely unlikely (and actually demonstrably false through an analysis of Chinese people's Y chromosome) is that all Chinese today are the direct patrilineal descendants of any man who lived 5,000 years ago. I say direct patrilineal descendant, because this is what all these Chinese clans are claiming. But Wikipedia is not a forum,and I think we're moving away from a discussion of how to improve this article, so we should probably leave it at that! Madalibi (talk) 12:17, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: speedily closed as not moved. The request was initiated by a sock of a site-banned user, and per WP:BMB, all his edits may be reverted. A bona fide editor may file a new request if deemed necessary. Favonian (talk) 16:39, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Yellow EmperorHuangdi – Huangdi is a personal name. It is irregular to try to translate a Chinese personal name into English. Britannica calls this person "Huangdi." WP:RECOGNIZABLE says, "In determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of...quality encyclopedias." According to etymology section of the article, "huang" might have originally meant "yellow," or perhaps it meant "august." "Di" originally meant "ancestral deity," so that's a problematic translation as well. It is not like China had emperors of various colors. The general idea of an encyclopedia is to disseminate information as opposed to misinformation. Huangdi is certainly a very common usage, albeit somewhat less common than "Yellow Emperor."[4] "When there are multiple names for a subject, all of them fairly common, and the most common has problems, it is perfectly reasonable to choose one of the others." (Same guideline as above). The Smart Cheetah (talk) 05:57, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose it is a title, and this person is legendary. And it avoids confusion with Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor, also sometimes appearing in print as "Huangdi". "Yellow Emperor" 330k ghits, mostly about this person. "Huangdi" 530kghits but some NOT about this person. Yellow Emperor 73k gBooks hits (mostly about this person) vs Huangdi 44k gBooks hits (some not about this person); Yellow Emperor 10.7k gScholar hits mostly about this person, Huang Di 8.6k gScholar hits but mostly not about this person. So it seems clear that "Yellow Emperor" is the most reliable name in English, especially with Google Scholar going on about prehistoric life, and in Google Books/Google Regular many hits for the First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. -- (talk) 08:11, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
What does the Qin emperor have to do with this issue? Nine of the top ten Web hits for "Huangdi" refer to this subject. So it's certainly primary topic. The character for "huang" used to write the name of the Qin emperor is different, and it has a different meaning. In "Qin Shi Huangdi," Huangdi is a title that's usually translated as "emperor." There is no reference to the color "yellow." The subject of this article is a mythological character whose name is Huangdi. It sometimes happens that two well-known people have similar names. It's not our responsibility to "fix" it. I get 463k Web hits for "Yellow Emperor", 1.2 million for "Huangdi." "Qin Shi Huangdi" gets 10,000 hits, so subtract those. Is it not clear that Web hits are nonsense numbers? The Smart Cheetah (talk) 09:36, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The main point of WP:RECOGNIZABLE (aka WP:COMMONNAME) is obviously not that we should "observe the usage of...quality encyclopedias". That page says that we should choose "the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources," which is a completely different point. "Huangdi" 黃帝 is the name of a mythological sovereign, not a personal name. Whereas nobody ever translates Mao Zedong as "Hair Benefit-the-East" (or "Benefit-the-East Mao"), people constantly translate Huangdi as "Yellow Emperor". And this makes a lot of sense, as huang 黃 unambiguously means "yellow", and di 帝 has meant "emperor" for more than 2,000 years. That's why we get 463,000 Google hits for "Yellow Emperor". 1.2 million hits for "huangdi" includes the innumerable cases in which "huangdi" just means "emperor", without any reference to Qin Shi Huang or the Yellow Emperor. "Yellow Emperor" is only a problematic translation for pre-imperial China (before Qin Shi Huang). That's why specialists of that period often refer to him as the "Yellow Thearch" or the "Yellow Lord" instead, but by denying the validity of "Yellow Emperor" in the name of this minority of scholars, we fall into the WP:specialist style fallacy. "Yellow Emperor" satisfies all WP:NAMINGCRITERIA: it is recognizable (much more so than the arguably better "Yellow Thearch"), natural (WP readers will likely look it up that way), precise (unlike the ambiguous "Huangdi"), concise (two words), and consistent with other articles on Chinese mythology that have a widely accepted translation (e.g., Jade Emperor, Yan Emperor, and Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, the last of which incidentally shows that China did have emperors of different colors!). If no other translation of "Huangdi" is as common as "Yellow Emperor" (and the nominator has not shown that), then "Yellow Emperor" is the common name, and we should stick to it. Madalibi (talk) 10:28, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
What about consistency with Shangdi? The text mentions that Huangdi and Shangdi may have been a pair of gods at one time. Huangdi already directs to this page, so we are not currently treating it as ambiguous. The Smart Cheetah (talk) 11:04, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
@The Smart Cheetah: I think Shangdi is a bit different, because there is no dominant or established translation for it. Sometimes it's rendered as the awkward "Lord on High", in other contexts it means "God" (see Names of God in Chinese), etc. With "Yellow Emperor", we're lucky to have an English term for our topic. (Incidentally, WP:ENGLISH is an extra reason why we should stick to that translation!) I think the hatnote on top of the Yellow Emperor article shows that we're treating "huangdi" as possibly ambiguous. We probably have a redirect from "Huangdi" to here because some editors think that "huangdi" refers to the Yellow Emperor more often than to the title of "Emperor" or to Qin Shi Huang, who created that title. Madalibi (talk) 12:08, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose as pointed out by the original poster, Yellow Emperor is the common name based on multiple reliable sources (rather than only Britannica). While Huangdi might be more correct, that is not Wikipedia policy. There are many articles on Wikipedia with technically incorrect names but they stand because of the common name policy. As for the comment above regarding Shangdi – there is no policy requiring us to be consistent. Naming is decided individually on an article by article basis. Rincewind42 (talk) 12:54, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - You might find more sources for YE but it still strikes me as antiquated, like a term used ca. 100 years ago when the number one comic strip in the US was "The Yellow Kid"... It doesn't seem to belong to our era, and I always think of this figure as "Huang Di" anyway when thinking about this period in Chinese historiography. Of course, despite everyone's best warnings, it's interesting how "Google search results numbers" have regardless become our default Urim and Thummim that we always look to for guidance like a sacred cow, and how a new art form is currently being developed on wikipedia, the art of calculating together said Google search results the most "favorably" to your desired outcome. (talk) 13:12, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

On the meaning of "Xuanyuan"[edit]

As I just pointed out here, Xuanyuan was Huangdi's name, not a title that means "Mysterious Origin". The first line of the Shiji, which is our earliest significant source for the story of the Yellow Emperor, makes this clear: "The Yellow Emperor was the son of Shaodian. His surname was Gongsun, his name Xuanyuan." (黃帝者,少典之子,姓公孫,名曰軒轅。) In later Taoist material, Laozi—not the Yellow Emperor—was sometimes referred to as "Xuanyuan huangdi" 玄元皇帝, which some reliable sources translate as "Emperor of the Mysterious Origin", but here we're talking about xuanyuan 玄元, not Xuanyuan 軒轅, and about "August Thearch" huangdi 皇帝, not "Yellow Thearch" huangdi 黃帝.

As not a single reliable source has been shown that translates Xuanyuan 軒轅 as "Mysterious Origin", and as footnotes 25 and 26 already present two possible explanations of the name Xuanyuan, I deleted all references to that translation. Madalibi (talk) 01:33, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

Madalibi and Aethelwolf Emsworth: In regard to these edits, there is a discussion at Talk:Religion in China#Principles progenitor, ancestors, dead that may interest you.
There was also a discussion of "Yellow Emperor" at Talk:Chinese folk religion#"Yellow deity" to "Yellow emperor"? that supplies some (talk) 02:57, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing these out ch, as I was not aware of these discussions. I may not have time to join in, but I am now aware of them! Madalibi (talk) 03:14, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
玄元 and 軒轅, like 皇帝 and 黃帝, are taboo characters of one another.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 15:03, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
Do you have evidence from reliable sources to support this claim? It sounds very unlikely, as taboo characters are usually replaced by characters with a similar meaning (元 with 原, for example). Madalibi (talk) 15:08, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
This is common sense in Chinese. However, in 何新 --- 诸神的起源第一卷·华夏上古日神与母神崇拜 "Origin of Ancient Chinese Sun God and Mother Goddess Worship", 中国民主法制出版社 2008, it is clearly stated <黄帝号轩辕,即“玄元”。>=<Huangdi 轩辕, that is to say "玄元"> (can't determine the page number). Laozi has the title of "Mysterious Origin" because in Huang-Lao he and the Yellow Emperor were one and the same.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 15:51, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
You have said that Xuanyuan written 軒轅 means "Chariot Axle", this is even more significant in terms of theology and cosmology. This translation of 軒轅 should be indicated in the article.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 16:26, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
The "mysterious origin" starts to be clear! According to The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China p. 117 note 11, "Xuanyuan" 軒轅 means "Axle Shaft" 軒轅, that is a metaphor for "Chariot".--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 18:15, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
@Aethelwolf Emsworth: Thank you for your response! Starting from your last message, I don't understand why the claim that Xuanyuan literally means "axle shaft" or "chariot axle" – a meaning that does seem worth mentioning in the text, by the way – would justify translating it as "Mysterious Origin" (of all things). The translators of the Huainanzi explain the term "Chariot Frame" because the Huainanzi passage they are translating mentions by name the six departments of "heaven" (Tian 天), and one of these departments is called xuanyuan 軒轅. They translate that term as "Chariot Frame" because the passage makes no mention of Huangdi. Their entire footnote states that, "'Chariot Frame," Xuanyuan 軒轅, is the personal name of the Yellow Emperor, after the name of his supposed birthplace in Henan. The compound word means "axle and shafts"—that is, the basic frame of a chariot." In other words, the footnote supports not translating Xuanyuan when it refers to Huangdi, as it is a personal name that comes from a place name. And it gives no trace of "Mysterious Origin".
Of course if some reliable sources ("reliable" being the key term") give an explicit cosmological significance to the literal meaning of Xuanyuan, then yes, it would be worth mentioning as such in the article. But we have to be careful not to overextend ourselves by translating Xuanyuan throughout as if it this name always commonsensically meant the same thing.
Speaking of which: the equivalence between Xuanyuan 軒轅 and xuanyuan 玄元 is not "common sense in Chinese". For one, the thorough and authoritative Hanyu Da Cidian 汉语大词典 [Great Dictionary of Chinese] does not include this reading: it explains that xuanyuan 玄元 sometimes refers to Laozi (no mention of Huangdi), and it does not give xuanyuan 玄元 ["mysterious origin"] as an equivalent of Xuanyuan 軒轅.
You cite one source, a book by He Xin 何新, claiming that Xuanyuan 軒轅 (which incidentally is said to have been Huangdi's name 名, not his hao) means xuanyuan 玄元 ("Mysterious Origin"). But this page from the Baidu encyclopedia claims that He Xin's book is a novel (xiaoshuo 小说). If you do find a reliable source to support your claim, then sure, the interpretation of Xuanyuan as "mysterious origin" can be mentioned — e.g.: "Historian of Chinese religion [?] Xxx Yyyy claims that Xuanyuan means 'mysterious origin' (xuanyuan 玄元)" — but even such a source would not be sufficient basis for translating "Xuanyuan" as "Mysterious Origin" throughout as if the two terms were equivalents.
Finally, in some Taoist texts, Laozi is referred to as Huang Lao Jun 黃老君, showing that in some cases Laozi may be merged with Huangdi. But this is far from being always true, and it does not justify transferring everything that is said about Laozi onto Huangdi – including the title "xuanyuan" 玄元 given to Laozi under the Tang dynasty, whose rulers saw Laozi as their ancestor – as if "Laozi" and "Huangdi" were the same god.
Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 06:26, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
@Madalibi: Regarding the first source that connects 軒轅 and 玄元, "Gods of the Origin • Volume 1: The Sun God and the Ancient Chinese Goddess Worship": it is not a novel; even the description at Baidu says "The purpose of this book is to study the Chinese ancient sun god worship, outline the main issues, but also seek to systematically explore and trace the origin of Chinese primitive mythology, religion, and some basic philosophical concepts". It is a scholarly work, even filled with graphical historical evidences, published by 中国民主法制出版社. The same description is reported at Google Books, and there there's no mention that the book is a 小说.
Huangdi is a deity of key importance associated to the Big Dipper or Great Chariot, part of the Ursa Major. The astral and cosmic connections of his name 軒轅 "Axle Shaft" is glaring. Unfortunately I have no access to databases of academic papers; maybe you could help providing good quality sources that support a translation of Xuanyuan to "Axle Shaft", at least in discourses about his religious significance.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 09:41, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
John S. Major's Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought p. 331, note 14, has: <Chariot Pole (Xuanyuan 軒轅) is an appellation of Huangdi, the Yellow Thearch.> And then describes that this titles identifies him as the main of the five departments of Heaven.--Aethelwolf Emsworth (talk) 10:32, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
@Aethelwolf Emsworth:The Google Books link did not give me access to the content of Zhushen de qiyuan 诸神的起源, but I have now found a way to search within it. It's true that it doesn't look like a novel despite what the lede of the Baidu article says! Depending on who the author is, the book may or may not be a reliable source. I see that the author He Xin glosses 玄元 as 轩辕 in this passage from the Huainanzi: “当此之时,玄元至砀而运照。” Classical commentaries say something else: 高诱 注:“玄,天也;元,气也。砀,大也。”一本作“ 玄玄 ”。
Otherwise, sure, it would be my pleasure to add more interpretations of Huangdi's name and of his cosmological significance to this article based on reliable sources! I don't think these sources will support translating "Xuanyuan" as "Chariot Axle", but these explanations are definitely worth noting. Also, the Huainanzi looks very important in the Huangdi mythology, as the discussion of Xuanyuan in He Xin, John Major, and The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in Early Han China all refer to that book. I will look more into it later this week! Cheers, Madalibi (talk) 00:32, 26 September 2016 (UTC)