Chinese mythology developed through a mixture of history, legend, and myth. Early emperors such as the Three August Ones, played a strategic role in the development of myth often blurring the lines between mortal and immortal. Far Eastern culture continues a tradition of three major religions: Taoism or Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Lao Zi (604 B.C.) codified the principles which are known as Daoism (Taoism). Daoism emphasized living harmoniously with the natural order.
According to legend, Buddhism was officially recognized in China during the reign of Emperor Han Ming Di (58 -75 AD). It contributed a sense of the cyclical life of the soul to Chinese culture. The teachings of Confucius (ca. 551 B.C) led to the belief in strong civil service for every citizen. Much of the art protected and preserved through the centuries was influenced by the spiritual nuances of the times. Chinese art forms reflect the myths as well as the three major religions.