In China’s early textual sources and archaeological materials, the Yellow Emperor 黄帝 appears in the following three contexts: in genealogical records, among predynastic rulers, and in sacrificial rituals. The earliest appearance of the Yellow Emperor is probably in genealogical records; then, after being an ancestral ruler, he becomes the earliest emperor and a legendary ruler. This demonstrates his shift from an ancestral context to a monarchic context and illustrates the gradual yet colossal shift in ancient Chinese political thought from a system of enfeoffment built on blood relations to a system of prefectures and counties based on regional ties. The image of the Yellow Emperor in the context of sacrifice is closely linked to the yin-yang and five elements theories beginning in the later stage of the Warring States period; as society developed, this image also became associated with a certain Daoist path, thereby acquiring a religious value.
Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology 湖北省文物考古研究所 and Department of Chinese LanguageJiu dian chu jian 九店楚簡 [The Jiudian Chu-Script Bamboo Slip Manuscripts]2000BeijingZhonghua shujuPeking University ed. 北京大学中文系.
Guo Moruo 郭沫若“Liangzhou jinwenci daxi kaoshi 兩周金文辭大系考釋,” in Guo Moruo quanji(kaogu bian) 郭沫若全集(考古編)[The Complete Works of Guo Moruo (Archaeology)] (Beijing: Kexue chubanshe 2002) 8:464. Not all the contents are from this source as other similar sources have also been consulted.
Chen Peifen 陳佩芬“Wu Wang Jianzuo 武王踐祚,” in Shanghai bowuguan cang zhanguo chu zhushu上海博物館藏戰國楚竹書 [Chu-Script Bamboo Slip Manuscripts in the Shanghai Museum Collection] vol. 7 ed. Ma Chengyuan 馬承源 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe 2008). For annotation see p. 151.