The term "Hsi" (which is reflected in the Chinese charcter: 伏羲; and referred to in Chinese pinyin as: fúxī), was once known as Paoxi, a term that is reflected in two simplified Chinese characters that read as: 庖牺. By the mid 29th century BCE, Paoxi was the first of the Three Sovereigns (三皇 sānhuáng) of ancient China. He is a cultural hero who is reputed to be the inventor of writing, fishing, and trapping. However, Cangjie is also said to have invented writing.
The Early Years of China's Legends
In Chinese Mythology, Fu Xi or Fu
Fu Xi was born in the lower-middle reaches of the Yellow River in a place called Chengji (possibly modern Lantian, Shaanxi province or Tianshui, Gansu province).
The Creation of A Legend
According to legend, the land was swept away by a great flood and only Fu Xi and his sister Nüwa survived. They retired to the mythological Kunlun Mountain, where they prayed for a sign from the Emperor of Heaven. The divine being approved their union and the siblings set about procreating the human race. In order to speed up the process, Fu Xi and Nüwa used clay to create human figures, and with the power from the divine entrusted to them made the clay figures come alive. Fu Xi then came to rule over his descendants, although reports of his long reign vary between sources, from 115 years (2852–2737 BCE) to 116 years (2952–2836 BCE).
On one of the columns of the Fu Xi Temple in the GanSu Province, the following couplet describes Fu Xi's importance: "Among the three primogenitors of Hua-Xia civilization, Fu Xi in Huaiyang Country ranks first." During the time of his predecessor Nüwa (who, according to some sources, was also his wife and/or sister), society was matriarchal and primitive. Childbirth was seen to be miraculous, not requiring the participation of the male, and children only knew their mothers. As the reproductive process became better understood, ancient Chinese society moved towards a patriarchal system and Fu Xi assumed primary importance.