The Four Heavenly Ministers (Chinese: 四御; pinyin: Sì yù), also translated as the Four Sovereigns, are four of the highest sky deities of Daoism and subordinate only to the Three Pure Ones (Chinese: 三清; pinyin: Sān qīng). They assist the Three Pure Ones in administering all phenomenon of the universe.[1][2][full citation needed]

Four Sovereigns

The Four Heavenly Ministers are:[3][full citation needed]

  1. the Great Jade Emperor[a]
  2. the Great Emperor of the North Star (Polaris) in the Purple Forbidden enclosure at the center of Heaven (Tian)[b]
  3. the Great Heavenly Emperor of the Highest Palace of the Curved Array (Little Dipper)[c]
  4. the Empress of the Earth[d]

The Great Jade Emperor is the head of all sky deities and presides over the heaven. The Great Emperor of the North Star assists the Jade Emperor in managing the sun, the moon, stars, and the climate of the four seasons. The Great Emperor of the Curved Array/Little Dipper oversees all matters in heaven, earth, and the human world. The Empress of the Earth is in charge of fertility, land, rivers, and mountains.[4] The four heavenly ministers are often worshiped in Daoist temples.

Six Sovereigns

In some later Daoist accounts, this group is extended to six. The Six Heavenly Ministers (六御) include, in addition to the prior four:[5][6]

Other accounts instead add:

See also


  1. ^ Chinese: 玉皇大帝; pinyin: yù huáng dàdì.
  2. ^ Chinese: 中天紫微北極太皇大帝; pinyin: zhōngtiān zǐwēi běijí tàihuáng dàdì.
  3. ^ Chinese: 勾陈上宫天皇大帝; pinyin: gōuchén shànggōng tiānhuáng dàdì.
  4. ^ Chinese: 后土皇地祇; pinyin: hòutǔ huáng dìqí.
  5. ^ Chinese: 東王公; pinyin: dōngwánggōng.
  6. ^ Chinese: 東華帝君; pinyin: dōnghuá dìjūn.
  7. ^ Chinese: 西王母; pinyin: xīwángmǔ.
  8. ^ Chinese: 金母元君; pinyin: jīnmǔ yuánjūn.
  9. ^ Chinese: 南極長生大帝; pinyin: nánjí chángshēng dàdì.
  10. ^ Chinese: 太乙救苦天尊; pinyin: tàiyǐ jiùkǔ tiānzūn.
  11. ^ Chinese: 東極青華大帝; pinyin: dōngjí qīnghuá dàdì.


  1. ^ Richard Wolff (2007). The Popular Encyclopedia of World Religions. Harvest House Publishers. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-7369-2007-0.
  2. ^ 《道法會元卷之三》
  3. ^ 《三教源流搜神大全》
  4. ^ 《文獻通考_(四庫全書本)》  (in Chinese) – via Wikisource.
  5. ^ Gesterkamp, L. (5 March 2008). The Heavenly Court: a study on the Iconopraxis of Daoist Temple Painting (Thesis). Leiden University. p. 54. hdl:1887/12632.
  6. ^ Geng, Jipeng (2008), 金元全真道神仙體系中“六御”身份考 (in Chinese) – via China National Knowledge Infrastructure