Family tree of ancient Chinese emperors

This is a family tree of Chinese kings before the establishment of the title emperor (皇帝) by Shi Huangdi.

Chinese emperors family tree (ancient)Chinese emperors family tree (early)Chinese emperors family tree (middle)Chinese emperors family tree (late)


  • Five Emperors 1
  • Xia dynasty 2
  • Shang dynasty 3
  • Zhou dynasty 4
  • Jin 5
  • Wu 6
  • Warring States period 7
    • Qin 7.1
    • The Three Jins 7.2
      • Han 7.2.1
      • Wei 7.2.2
      • Zhao 7.2.3
    • Qi 7.3
      • House of Jiang 7.3.1
      • House of Tian 7.3.2
    • Chu 7.4
    • Yue 7.5
  • References 8

Five Emperors

The legendary Five Emperors were traditionally regarded as the founders of the Chinese state. The Records of the Grand Historian states that Shaohao did not acceded to the throne while Emperor Zhi’s ephemeral and uneventful rule disqualify him from the Five Emperors in all sources.[1] Other sources name Yu the Great, the founder of the Xia dynasty, as the last of the Five.[2] Pretenders are italicized.[3]

Xia dynasty

This is a family tree for the Xia dynasty which ruled circa 2100–1600 BC. The historicity of the dynasty has sometimes been questioned, but circumstantial archaeological evidence supports its existence.[5]

Shang dynasty

This is a family tree for the Shang dynasty, which ruled China proper between circa 1600 BC and 1046 BC.[8] The Shang rulers borne title Di(

Zhou dynasty

This is a family tree for the Zhou dynasty, descendants of Duke Wu of Zhou who overthrew the last Shang ruler, thereby establishing the dynasty. Ruling from 1046 BC to 256 BC, it is notable as the longest dynasty in Chinese history, although the actual political and military control of China by the dynasty only lasted during the Western Zhou.



The kings of Wu claimed descent from Wu Taibo, the uncle of King Wen of Zhou. Their ancestral name was Ji and their clan name was Gufa.[9]

Warring States period

In 771 BC, a coälition of feudal lords and the Western Rong tribes overthrew King You and drove the Zhou out of the Wei valley. During the following Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, the major states pursued independent policies and eventually declared full independence claiming the title borne by Zhou rulers.

All claimed descent from the Yellow Emperor through cadet lines of the royal houses above, although the historicity of such claims is usually doubted.


The kings of Qin claimed descent from the Lady Xiu, "the granddaughter" of "a remote descendant" of the Emperor Zhuanxu, the grandson of the Yellow Emperor. Similarly, in the next generation, Lady Hua was said to be descended from Shaodian,[10] the legendary figure who is sometimes the father and sometimes the foster father of the Yellow and Flame Emperors. Although Nüfang (lit. "Lady Fang") is counted as Elai's son, some scholars have claimed the figure was Elai's daughter and, along with the numerous important women in the early pedigree, indicates that early Qin was matriarchal.[12]

The surname Ying (lit. "Abundance") was said to have been bestowed by Shun upon Dafei (the husbandman Yi). If it was ever held by any of his descendants, it had fallen out of use by the time of Feizi, who was granted the name anew by King Xiao of the Zhou.[10]