According to tradition, from Tao Tangshi, the name of the emperor Yao (2357–2257 bc), first of the three model emperors, before he came to power. A branch of his descendants retained the surname Tao. Another source of this surname is the word for ‘pottery’; this is traced back to a descendant of the second of the three model emperors, Shun (2257–2205 bc). During the Zhou dynasty (1122–221 bc), this descendant was in charge of the manufacture of pottery. As the character for Tao also means ‘pottery’ and was part of his official title, his descendants adopted Tao as their surname.