Yue (state)

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"Yuyue" redirects here. For other uses, see Yuyue (disambiguation).
State of Yue
Kingdom

 

?–222 BC
 

Capital Kuaiji, later Wu
Languages Proto-Wu
Religion Chinese folk religion, ancestor worship
Government Monarchy
 -  496–465 BC King Goujian
Historical era Spring and Autumn period
Warring States period
 -  Established  ?
 -  Conquered by Chu 334 BC
 -  Conquered by Qin 222 BC
Currency Chinese coin

Yue (Chinese: , pinyin Yuè), formerly romanized as Yüeh, also known as Yuyue, was a state in ancient China which existed during the first millennium BC – the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of China's Zhou dynasty – in the modern provinces of Zhejiang, Shanghai, and Jiangsu. Its original capital was a site near Mount Kuaiji (around modern Shaoxing); after its conquest of Wu, the kings of Yue moved their court north to the city of Wu (modern Suzhou).

According to Sima Qian, Yue's rulers claimed to be descended from the Xia emperor Yu.

History[edit]

A statue of a man, dating from the State of Yue era

The name "Yue" was applied indiscriminately to many southern Chinese peoples throughout classical Chinese texts. A specific kingdom under their name in modern Zhejiang is not mentioned until it began a series of wars against its northern neighbor Wu in the late 6th century BC.

With help from Wu's enemy Chu, Yue was able to be victorious after several decades of conflict. King Goujian destroyed and annexed Wu in 473 BC. Competing against the fewer, more powerful Warring States, Yue did not fare as well. During the reign of Wujiang (無彊), six generations after Goujian, Yue was destroyed and annexed by Chu in 334 BC.

During its existence, Yue was famous for the quality of its metalworking, particularly its swords. Examples include the extremely well-preserved Swords of Guojian and Zhougou.

The Yue state appears to have been a largely indigenous political development in the lower Yangtze. This region corresponds with that of the old corded-ware Neolithic, and it continued to be one that shared a number of practices, such as tooth extraction, pile building, and cliff burial, practices that continued until relatively recent times in places such as Taiwan. Austronesian speakers also still lived in the region down to its conquest and sinification beginning about 240 B.C.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

A model of a warship used by the state of Yue during the Warring States period. From the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China.
Main article: Minyue

After the fall of Yue, the ruling family moved south to what is now northern Fujian and set up the Minyue kingdom. This successor state lasted until around 150 BC, when it miscalculated an alliance with the Han Dynasty.

Mingdi, Wujiang's second son, was appointed minister of Wucheng (present-day Huzhou's Wuxing District) by the king of Chu. He was titled Marquis of Ouyang Ting, from a pavilion on the south side of Ouyu Mountain. Shi Huangdi abolished the title after his conquest of Chu in 223 BC, but descendants and subjects of its former rulers took up the surnames Ou (), Ouyang (歐陽), and Ouhou (歐侯) in remembrance.

Astronomy[edit]

In Chinese astronomy, there are two stars named for Yue:

People from Yue[edit]

  • Yuenü, swordswoman & author of the earliest-known exposition on swordplay[5]
  • Xi Shi, a famous Chinese beauty

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goodenough, Ward Hunt (1996). Prehistoric Settlement of the Pacific, Volume 86, Part 5. American philosophical society. p. 48. ISBN 9780871698650. 
  2. ^ "AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) 天文教育資訊網". 23 Jul 2006. (Chinese)
  3. ^ Allen, Richard. "Star Names – Their Lore and Meaning: Aquila".
  4. ^ Allen, Richard. "Star Names – Their Lore and Meaning: Capricornus".
  5. ^ Hong Lee and Stefanowsky. p. 91.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • Hong Lee and Stefanowsky (2007). Biographical dictionary of Chinese women: antiquity through Sui, 1600 B.C.E.-618 C.E. M.E. Sharpe, Inc. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Zhengzhang Shangfang [郑张尚芳]. 1990. "Some Kam-Tai Words in Place Names of the Ancient Wu and Yue States" [古吴越地名中的侗台语成份]. In Minzu Yuwen 6.

External links[edit]