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A Qing Dynasty illustration of Jiang Wan
|Politician and regent of Shu Han|
|Courtesy name||Gongyan (Chinese: 公琰; pinyin: Gōngyán; Wade–Giles: Kung-yen)|
|Posthumous name||Gong (Chinese: 恭; pinyin: Gōng; Wade–Giles: Kung)|
Jiang Wan was from Lingling Commandery (零陵; in present-day northwestern Hunan), and both he and his brother-in-law Liu Min (劉敏) were known for their intelligence when they were young. It is not known how he became a subordinate under Liu Bei, but what is known is that when Liu Bei entered and conquered Yi Province (益州; covering the Sichuan Basin and Chongqing), Jiang Wan was part of his army, and after Liu Bei's success, Jiang Wan was made a county magistrate. Once, when Liu Bei visited the county, he was surprised and angered that Jiang Wan was not personally handling the county affairs and was, on that occasion, drunk. He wanted to execute Jiang Wan, but Zhuge Liang persuaded him not to—reasoning that, based on what he knew, Jiang Wan was a capable supervisor and had delegated the matters to proper personnel, and therefore on that occasion could rest. Jiang Wan, however, was still removed from his post. When Zhuge Liang became regent for Liu Bei's son Liu Shan in 223 after Liu Bei's death, he made Jiang Wan a key assistant.
During Zhuge Liang's regency
During Zhuge Liang's regency, he appreciated Jiang Wan's talents, and Jiang's role in government gradually grew more and more important. When Zhuge Liang started his Northern Expeditions against the rival state of Cao Wei in 227, Jiang Wan was one of the key officials remaining in the Shu capital of Chengdu to handle domestic matters. In 230, he became a chief assistant to Zhuge Liang, and was in charge of logistics. He made sure that the food and manpower supplies were sufficient, and Zhuge Liang praised him in this way: "Gongyan (Jiang Wan's style name) is both faithful and open-minded, and he and I will together serve the emperor in great things".
In 231, when Zhuge Liang's vice-regent Li Yan was discovered to have repeatedly lied to him and Liu Shan, Li Yan was removed from his post. Jiang Wan, while not given the same post, became even more important. When Zhuge Liang grew ill on his final campaign against Wei in 234, Liu Shan sent messengers to inquire of him as to who should succeed him. Zhuge Liang recommended Jiang Wan as his successor and Fei Yi, as Jiang's eventual successor. After Zhuge Liang's death later that year, Jiang Wan became regent.
As regent, Jiang Wan was a capable administrator, and he continued Zhuge Liang's domestic policies, leaving the government largely efficient. He was also known for his tolerance of dissension and his humility. When Yang Min (楊敏) criticized him for being ineffective and not being as good at his job as his predecessor, Jiang Wan's response was, "Indeed, I am not as good as my predecessor," and he did not punish Yang Min.
Jiang Wan, however, not having military aptitude, soon abandoned Zhuge Liang's policy of waging war against Wei, and indeed in 241 withdrew most of the troops from the important border city of Hanzhong to Fu (涪縣; in present-day Mianyang, Sichuan). From that point on, Shu was generally in a defensive posture and no longer posed a threat to Wei. This was misinterpreted by many Eastern Wu officials as a sign that Shu was abandoning the alliance and entering into a treaty with Wei, but was correctly read by Wu's emperor Sun Quan as merely a sign of weakness, not an abandonment of the alliance. At one point, he considered sending an army heading east on the Han River to attack Wei's Weixing (魏興; in present-day Ankang, Shaanxi) and Shangyong (上庸; in present-day Shiyan, Hubei), but did not actually carry out those plans.
In 243, Jiang Wan grew ill and transferred most of his authority to Fei Yi and Dong Yun. In 244, when Wei's regent Cao Shuang attacked Hanzhong, it was Fei Yi who led the troops against Cao Shuang and dealt Wei a major defeat. Jiang Wan, however, remained influential until his death in 246. He was given the posthumous name "Gong" (恭, literally, "respectful").
Appointments and titles held
- Provincial Assistant Secretary (州書佐)
- Chief of Guangdu (廣都長)
- Prefect of Shifang (什邡令)
- Gentleman of the Imperial Secretariat (尚書郎)
- East Assistant Officer in the Chancellor's Office (丞相府東曹掾)
- Maocai (茂才)
- Chief Imperial Secretary (尚書令)
- Inspector of Yi Province (益州刺史)
- General-in-Chief (大將軍)
- Imperial Secretary (錄尚書事)
- Marquis of Anyang (安陽亭侯)
- Grand Marshal (大司馬)
- Gong (恭) - granted to Jiang Wan posthumously
- Chen Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- Pei Songzhi. Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).