Yao and Shun were two of the Five Emperors in prehistoric China. Yao, surnamed Yinqi and styled Fangxun, was also known as Tang Yao because his fief was in a region called Tang.
Yao won popular support for his superb moral standards and high prestige. A prudent and respectable man, he had been able to strengthen the solidarity of different clans and tribes. Yao also gained respect for his simple way of living.
After 70 years on the throne, the 86-year-old tribal leader felt it time to pass his responsibilities onto a younger person. So he ordered announcements posted across the country, calling on people to recommend able candidates. Shortly after, people unanimously recommended Shun to succeed the old emperor.
Shun lived with his blind father and stepmother, who later gave birth to a son called Xiang. Xiang was lazy and arrogant. However, the father was always partial to him. Despite this, Shun was filial to his parents and kind to his half-brother. Having been told what kind of person Shun was, Yao decided to put him to a test, in order to see if he was qualified enough to be his successor. He married his two daughters Ehuang and Nuying to him, and sent him to work in different parts of the country.
Shun was first sent to farm at the foot of Lishan Mountain, where disputes often rose among the residents over the use of land. As soon as Shun arrived, they stopped quarrelling to focus on their farm work. Shun was also sent to fish among the fishermen. Before this, the fishermen were constantly embroiled in bloody squabbles over houses. However, immediately after Shun arrived, they shed their selfishness and befriended with each other. Wherever Shun went, local people followed his leadership.