Yao was a legendary ruler, one of the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors. Also known as Taotang-shi , he was born Yi Fangxun or Yi Qi as the second son to Emperor Ku and Qingdu . He is also known as Tang Yao .
Often extolled as the morally perfect sage-king, Yao's benevolence and diligence served as a model to future Chinese monarchs and emperors. Early Chinese often speak of Yao, and as historical figures, and contemporary historians believe they may represent leader-chiefs of allied tribes who established a unified and hierarchical system of government in a transition period to the patriarchal feudal society.
According to legend, Yao became the ruler at 20 and died at 119 when he passed his throne to , to whom he gave his two daughters in marriage.
Of his many contributions, Yao is said to have invented the game of , reportedly as an amusement for his slow-witted son Dan Zhu .