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Title: Chiyou  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Battle of Zhuolu, Hwandan Gogi, Jiutian Xuannü, Nüba, Fei Lian
Collection: 27Th-Century Bc People, Chinese Gods, Chinese Mythology, Hwandan Gogi, War Gods
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 蚩尤
Simplified Chinese 蚩尤
Korean name
Hangul 치우
Hanja 蚩尤
Hmong (Miao) name
Hmong (Miao) Txiv Yawg

Chiyou (蚩尤) was a tribal leader of the ancient Nine Li tribe (九黎).[1] He is best known as the tyrant who fought against the then-future Yellow Emperor during the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors era in Chinese mythology.[1][2] For the Hmong people, Chiyou (RPA White Hmong: Txiv Yawg /cʰi jaɨ/) was a sagacious mythical king.[3] Chiyou has a particularly complex and controversial ancestry, as he may fall under Dongyi,[1] Miao[3] or even Man[3] depending on the source and view.


  • Description 1
    • Individual 1.1
    • Tribe 1.2
  • Epic battles 2
  • Societal influence 3
  • Controversy 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Bibliography 8



According to the Song dynasty history book Lushi (路史), Chiyou's surname was Jiang (姜), and he was a descendant of Yandi.[4]

According to legend, Chiyou had a bronze head with metal foreheads.[1] He had 4 eyes and 6 arms, wielding terrible sharp weapons in every hand.[5] In some sources, Chiyou had certain features associated with various mythological bovines: his head was that of a bull with two horns, although the body was that of a human.[5] He is said to have been unbelievably fierce, and to have had 81 brothers.[5] Historical sources often described him as 'cruel and greedy',[4] as well as 'tyrannical'.[6] Some sources have asserted that the figure 81 should rather be associated with 81 clans in his kingdom.[3]


Chiyou is regarded as a leader of the nine Li tribe (九黎) by nearly all sources.[1] However, his exact ethnic affiliations are quite complex, with multiple sources reporting him as belonging to various tribes, in addition to a number of diverse peoples supposed to have directly descended from him.

Some sources from later dynasties, such as the Guoyu book, considered Chiyou's Li tribe to be related to the ancient San miao tribe (三苗).[7] In the ancient Zhuolu Town is a statue of Chiyou commemorating him as the original ancestor of the Hmong people.[8] The place is regarded as the birthplace of the San miao / Miao people,[8] the Hmong being a subgroup of the Miao. In sources following the Hmong view, the "nine Li" tribe is called the "Jiuli" kingdom,[3] Jiuli meaning "nine Li". Modern Han Chinese scholar Weng Dujian considers Jiuli and San Miao to be Man southerners.[9] Chiyou has also been counted as part of the Dongyi.[1]

Epic battles

When the Yan emperor was leading his tribe, he met Chiyou leading his Nine Li tribes.[1] The Yan emperor stood no chance and lost the fight. He escaped, and later ended up in Zhuolu begging for help from the Yellow Emperor.[1] At this point the epic Battle of Zhuolu between Chiyou and the Yellow Emperor's forces began. According to legend, Chiyou breathed out a thick fog and obscured the sunlight.[10] The battle dragged on for days while the emperor's side was in danger.[5] Only after the Yellow Emperor invented the south-pointing chariot, did he find his way out of the battlefield.[5][10] Chiyou then conjured up a heavy storm. The Yellow Emperor then called upon the drought demon Nüba (女魃), who blew away the storm clouds and cleared the battlefield.[10] Chiyou and his army could not hold up, and were later killed by the Yellow Emperor.[1][5] After this defeat, the Yellow Emperor is said to become the ancestor of all Huaxia Chinese.[5] The Hmong were forced to live in the mountains and leave their Li kingdom.[8]

Societal influence

According to the Records of the Grand Historian, Qin Shi Huang worshiped Chiyou as the God of War, and Liu Bang worshiped at Chiyou's shrine before his decisive battle against Xiang Yu.

In one mythical episode, after Chiyou had claimed he could not be conquered,[2] the goddess Nuwa dropped a stone tablet on him from Mount Tai. Chiyou failed to crush the stone, but still managed to escape. From then on, the 5 finger-shaped, inscribed "Tai mountain stone tablets" (泰山石敢當) became a spiritual weapon to ward off evil and disasters.[2][11]

According to notes by the Qing Dynasty painter Luo Ping: "Yellow Emperor ordered his men to have Chi You beheaded... seeing that Chi You's head was separated from his body, later sages had his image engraved on sacrificial vessels as a warning to those that would covet power and wealth."[12]


According to the controversial Korean history book Hwandan Gogi, compiled by Uncho Gye Yeon-su in 1911, and later published in 1979, Chi You was also an ancestor of the Koreans.[13] He is listed there as the 14th (out of 18) head of the State of Shinshi (or 'Baedal'), with the Korean form of his name, Jaoji Hwanung of Baedal. In this account, rather than being killed or defeated in the Battle of Zhuolu, Chi You is victorious and captures the Chinese Emperor Hwang Di alive, rendering him subject to Shinshi.

A recently published Korean novel, entitled "Chi You King of Heaven" (Chinese: 蚩尤天皇; Korean: 치우천왕기), also claims that Chi You was an ancestral leader of Koreans in the so-called "old country" (Joo Shin, 주신 in Korean), and that he defeated the Yellow Emperor at the Battle of Zhuolu (탁록, Takrok in Korean).[14] Chongqing University professor Huang Zhongmo (黃中模) has said that this historical novel cannot be taken seriously, and Southwest University historian Zhao Zhenyu (趙振宇) has also rejected the novel's claims.[14]

In popular culture

  • Chi You is a name for an Aragami creature in the PlayStation Portable game, God Eater.
  • Chiwoo, also called "Chiwoo Cheonwang" (치우천왕, Hanja 蚩尤天王, meaning 'Chiwoo, King of Heaven') in Korea, is the mascot of the Red Devils, the supporters' group of the South Korean national football team.
  • The comic book Heavenly Executioner Chiwoo is partly based on the legends about Chi Woo.
  • Vaj Txiv Yawg is also the mascot for a Hmong charter school, Hmong College Prep Academy.
  • The main antagonist of the Shenmue saga, Lan Di, is the head of a mafia group called the Chi You Men, who seek to awake the power of the God Chi You.
  • Chi You appears as an antagonist in the TMNT/Ghostbusters minseries of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IDW comics continuity. Herein he is a godling or immortal creature who is engaged with others of his kind - including the Rat King and Kitsune - in a "game" for dominion over mankind.
  • There is a Mechanical Mod used in the vaping community known as the Chi You.
  • He is also a reoccurring Demon in the Megami Tensei series.
  • He is a subboss is La-Mulana.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i 戴逸, 龔書鐸. [2002] (2003) 中國通史. 史前 夏 商 西周. Intelligence press. ISBN 962-8792-80-6. p 32.
  2. ^ a b c Lee, James. [2006] (2006). James Lee Astrology guide 2006 English edition. World publishing co. ISBN 962-432-503-0. p 318.
  3. ^ a b c d e Ya Po Cha. [2010] (2010). An Introduction to Hmong Culture. McFarland, 2010. ISBN 0-7864-4951-9, ISBN 978-0-7864-4951-4. pg 8.
  4. ^ a b 宋, 罗沁 (宋代). 路史. 后记四:蚩尤传. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g 王恆偉. (2005) (2006) 中國歷史講堂 #1 遠古至春秋. 中華書局. ISBN 962-8885-24-3. p 11-13.
  6. ^ 司马, 迁 (西汉). 史记. 五帝本纪. 
  7. ^ (國語·楚語下)
  8. ^ a b c De la Cadena, Marisol. Starn, Orin. Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. [2007] (2007). Indigenous experience today. Berg Publishers, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84520-519-5. pg 239.
  9. ^ Schein, Louisa (2000). Minority rules: the Miao and the feminine in China's cultural politics. Duke University Press. p. 42.  
  10. ^ a b c "" 黃帝大戰蚩尤與指南車. Retrieved on 2010-08-22.
  11. ^ Lee, James. [2006] (2006). James Lee Astrology guide 2006 Chinese edition. World publishing co. ISBN 962-432-502-2. p 208-209.
  12. ^ Wangheng Chen; Various; (2001). Chinese Brozes: Ferocious Beauty. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd. pp. 62–63.  
  13. ^桓檀古記/三聖記
  14. ^ a b "" 韓國歷史小說認蚩尤為祖. Retrieved on 2010-09-07.


  • Michael J. Puett, The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China. 2001
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