Fuh-he sometimes spelled Fohi, is not unfrequently confounded with Fo, the Chinese Buddha, from whom, however, he was separated by centuries, and with whose religious teachings those of Fuh-he had nothing in common. Fuh-he is the reputed founder of Chinese civilization, having "established social order, instituted marriage, and taught the use of writing" among that people. He is alleged to have been born in the province of Shenzy, and to have reigned B.C. 2952. It is not probable, however, that matters of this kind concerning him can be determined with any tolerable accuracy. According to Chinese tradition, the first man who was created was Pwanko, or Animated Chaos, who was "succeeded by three sovereigns, styled Heaven Emperor, Earth Enmperor, and Man Emperor, or Heaven, Earth, and Man, the three powers of nature, and the triplification of the Great Extreme, or Supreme Unit." This first creation was destroyed by a deluge. When this had subsided, the first man who reappeared was Fuh-he. He issued with his wife and six children from the "sacred circle." "Fuh-he," says the Chinese text, "is the first [who appears] at each opening and spreading out" [of the universe]. Thus Fuh-he is but the reappearing of Pwanko, and, as he escaped from the deluge, he has many of the characteristics of Noah.
His Writings. — The Chinese were originally worshippers of the heavenly bodies. Fuh-he reduced their religious notions to a philosophical system. He was the author of the most ancient of the Chinese canonical books, called Yih-King, "The Book of Changes," an "expanded form of ancient and recondite speculations on the nature of the universe in general, the harmonious action of the elements, and the periodic changes of creation." It is based on some eight peculiar diagrams called Kwa. In the hands of the commentators this "cosmological essay" became a "standard treatise on ethical philosophy." The following summary of the Yih-King, or Y King, is given by Faber, Origin of Pagan Idolatry, 1:246: "The Book of Y received its name from the mystery of which it treats, the mystery being hieroglyphically represented by a figure resembling the Greek Υ or Roman Y. It teaches that the heaven and the earth had a beginning, and therefore the human race; that of the heaven and earth all material things were formed, then male and female, then husband and wife. The Great Term (as they call it) is the Great Unity and the Great Y. Y has neither body nor figure, and all that has body and figure was made by that which has neither body nor figure. The Great Term, or the Great Unity, comprehends. Three, and the One is Three, and the Three One. Tao is life. The first has produced the second, and the two have produced the third, and the three have produced all things. He whom the spirit perceiveth, and whom the eye cannot see, is called Y." — Morrisson, Chinese Disc. volume 1, part 1, pages 92, 93; Du Halde, Description de I'Empire de la Chine; Journal of Asiatic Society (1856), 16:403, 404; Faber, Origin of Pagan Idolatry, 1:246; Hardwick, Christ and other Masters, 2:17, 18; Legge, Life and Teachings of Confucius (Philadelphia); Giitzlaff, Chinese History, 1:119. (J.T.G.)