炎黄 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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Yán-Huáng 炎黄

The Fiery Emperor and the Yellow Emperor / Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang

炎帝和黄帝。是历史传说中上古的两个帝王,亦即两个部落首领。炎帝姓姜,号“神农氏”;黄帝姓公孙,号“轩辕氏”。他们居住在中原,与东方部落和南方部落逐渐融合,不断繁衍,形成华夏族主体(汉朝以后称为汉族,唐朝以后又称唐人),因而他们被尊为华夏民族的祖先。他们的部落尤其是黄帝部落,文明程度最高,上古的许多重要的文化、技术发明都是由他们两个部落创造的,因而他们又被视为华夏文明的始祖。近代以后,他们又成为整个中华民族和中华文明的一种象征。至今散居世界各地的华裔也大多认同自己是“炎黄子孙”或“黄帝子孙”。“炎黄”实际上已成为中华民族共同的文化符号。

Emperor Yan (the Fiery Emperor) and Emperor Huang (the Yellow Emperor), legendary Chinese rulers in pre-dynastic times, were actually tribal leaders. Emperor Yan, whose family name was Jiang, was known as Shennongshi while Emperor Huang, whose family name was Gongsun, was known as Xuanyuanshi. They originally lived in central China where their tribes gradually merged with those in eastern and southern China. People in these tribes proliferated and made up the main body of the Chinese nation (who were referred to as the Han people after the Han Dynasty and Tang people after the Tang Dynasty). Hence, they have been revered as the ancestors of the Chinese nation. Their tribes, and the tribe headed by the Yellow Emperor in particular, achieved the highest level of civilization. Many important cultural advancements and technical innovations in ancient China were believed to be created by these two tribes. They have therefore been seen as the forefathers of the Chinese civilization. In modern times, they have been considered as symbols of the Chinese nation and Chinese culture. Today, Chinese descendants residing in different parts of the world proudly regard themselves as “descendants of the Fiery Emperor and the Yellow Emperor” or simply “descendants of the Yellow Emperor.” In this regard,”Yan and Huang” have become cultural symbols of the Chinese nation.

引例 Citations:

◎周室既坏,至春秋末,诸侯秏尽,而炎黄唐虞之苗裔尚犹颇有存者。(《汉书·魏豹、田儋、韩王信传赞》)

(周天子的统治秩序已经崩溃,至春秋末期,诸侯国消灭殆尽,但炎黄尧舜的后代仍大有人在。)

With the collapse of the ruling order of Emperor of the Zhou Dynasty, by the end of the Spring and Autumn Period, various vassal states had been defeated, but numerous descendants of Emperors Yan, Huang, Yao, and Shun remained. (The History of the Han Dynasty)

◎我们大家都是许身革命的黄帝子孙。(国民政府《告抗战全体将士书》)

We, descendants of the Fiery Emperor and the Yellow Emperor, have devoted ourselves to the revolution. (“To All Officers and Soldiers Fighting the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression” issued by the then national government of China)

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