Xihe (Chinese: 羲和; pinyin: Xīhé; Wade–Giles: Hsi-ho), was a solar deity in Chinese mythology.
The earliest depiction of Xihe can be found in the “Classic of Mountains and Seas: South Classic of the Great Wilderness.” It states, “In the midst of the great wilderness, there is a mountain called Mount Tiantai, where seawater flows into. Beyond the Eastern Sea, between the Gan River, lies a country named Xihe. In this place, there is a woman named Xihe, who bathes the sun in the Gan Abyss. Xihe, this woman, is the wife of Emperor Jun and has given birth to ten suns.”
In the poem Suffering from the Shortness of Days(苦晝短), Li He of the Tang dynasty is hostile and even deviant towards the legendary dragons that drew the sun chariot as a vehicle for the passage of time. The following is the relevant excerpt of that poem:
“I will cut off the dragon’s feet, chew the dragon’s flesh,
so that they can’t turn back in the morning or lie down at night.
Left to themselves the old won’t die; the young won’t cry.”
In the Huainanzi, the journey of the sun and the attendant of the sun chariot is described:
“The sun rises up from the Bright Valley, bathes in the Pool of Xian(咸), and rests in the Fusang Tree. This is called Dawn Light.
Ascending the Fusang Tree, it thereupon commences its journey. This is called Emergent Brightness.
[When the sun] reaches the Bent Slope, this is called Dawn Brilliance.
[When the sun] reaches the Steaming Spring, this is called the Morning Meal.
[When the sun] reaches the Mulberry Field, this is called the Late-Morning Meal.
[When the sun] reaches the Balance Beam of Yang, this is called within the Angle.
[When the sun] reaches Kun Wu, this is called the Exact Center.
[When the sun] reaches the Bird Roost, this is called the Lesser Return.
[When the sun] reaches the Valley of Grief, this is called the Dinner Hour.
[When the sun] reaches Woman’s Sequence, this is called the Great Return.
[When the sun] reaches the Angle of the Abyss, this is called the Raised Pestle.
[When the sun] reaches Carriage Stone, this is called the Descending Pestle.
[When the sun] reaches the Fountain of Grief, it halts; its female attendant rests her horses. This is called the Suspended Chariot.
[When the sun] reaches the Abyss of Anxiety, this is called Yellow Dusk.
[When the sun] reaches the Vale of Obscurity, this is called Definite Dusk.
The sun enters the floodwaters of the Abyss of Anxiety; sunrise emerges from the drainage stream of the Vale of Obscurity.
[The sun] travels over the nine continents, [passing through] seven resting places, [covering a distance of] 507,309 li.
The divisions [of its journey] make dawn, daylight, dusk, and night.”