Hundred Family Surnames
The Hundred Family Surnames (Chinese: 百家姓; pinyin: Bǎijiāxìng) is a classic Chinese text composed of common Chinese surnames. The book was composed in the early Song Dynasty. It originally contained 411 surnames, but was later expanded to 504. Of these, 444 are single-character surnames, and 60 are double-character surnames. About 800 names have been derived from the original ones.
The work is a rhyming poem in lines of eight characters. The surnames are not listed in order of commonality. The first four surnames listed are believed to represent the most important families in the empire at the time:
- 1st: Zhao (趙) is the family name of the Song Dynasty emperors.
- 2nd: Qian (錢) is the family name of the kings of Wuyue.
- 3rd: Sun (孫) is the family name of the queen of Wuyue.
- 4th: Li (李) is the family name of the kings of Southern Tang.
|Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- K. S. Tom.  (1989). Echoes from Old China: Life, Legends and Lore of the Middle Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1285-9.
- Chen, Janey.  (1992). A Practical English-Chinese Pronouncing Dictionary. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-1877-0
- The last line was not intended to contain surnames but was appended to signify "thus ends the Hundred Family Surnames." There are people with surnames using the characters in this line.