Wuyue

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For other uses, see Wuyue (disambiguation).
Wuyue
吳越

907–978
Capital Qiantang (Main court; Capital)
Yuezhou (Eastern court)
Languages Wu Chinese
Government Monarchy
King
 -  907-932 Qian Liu
 -  932-941 Qian Yuanguan
 -  941-947 Qian Zuo
 -  947 Qian Zong
 -  947-978 Qian Chu
Historical era Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
 -  Zhenhai Military Governorate 886
 -  Fall of the Tang Dynasty 907
 -  Submitted to Song 978
 -  Extinguishment 988
Currency Chinese cash, Chinese coin

Wuyue (simplified Chinese: 吴越; traditional Chinese: 吳越; pinyin: Wúyuè; Shanghainese: [ɦuɦyɪʔ]), 907-978, was an independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Qian family, which remains widespread in the kingdom's former territory.

Founding[edit]

Temple to the Qian King in Hangzhou, one of many shrines to the kings of Wuyue which still exist in its former territory.

The Qian family had been providing military leaders to the Tang Dynasty beginning in 887. Qian Liu was named Prince of Yue in 902, with the title of Prince of Wu added two years later. In 907, when the Tang Dynasty fell and was replaced in the north by the Later Liang, military leaders in the south formed their own kingdoms. Qian Liu used his position to proclaim himself the King of Wuyue. This signaled the beginning of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period which would last until the founding of the Song Dynasty in 960.

Origin of Name[edit]

The name Wuyue comes from the combination of Wu Kingdom and Yue Kingdom, two ancient kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn Period from 770 to 476 BC.

Territorial extent[edit]

With its capital in Xifu, now known as Hangzhou, the kingdom included present-day Zhejiang, Shanghai, along with the southern portion of Jiangsu Province. It would also later absorb some of the northern part of Fujian when the Min Kingdom fell in 945. The territorial extent of Wuyue roughly corresponded to the territories of the ancient Yue, but not the ancient Wu—which led to charges by the neighboring Wu (also known as Southern Wu) that Wuyue had designs on its territory, and the name was a source of tension for years between the two states.

In the early decades of its existence, Wuyue bordered the Min Kingdom on its south and the Southern Tang Kingdom on its west and north. With the rebellion of Yin from the Min from 943 to 945, it briefly gave Wuyue a third border. However, before long, Wuyue would be completely encircled (except for the East China Sea) as both Yin and Min were absorbed by the Southern Tang.

The population was approximately 550,700 households, with many people living in commercial centers and major seaports.[1]

Administrative Divisions[edit]

Wuyue was not a large kingdom compared to many of its neighbors. Although initially 12 prefectures (州), it later consisted of 13 prefectures and 86 counties or sub-prefectures (縣). Fuzhou was incorporated into Wuyue as its 13th prefecture, after the Min court declared allegiance to it as they were besieged by Southern Tang.

Prefecture Counties
Hangzhou
(main capital)
杭州
Qiantang 錢塘
Qianjiang 錢江
Yanguan 鹽官
Yuhang 餘杭
Fuchun 富春
Tonglu 桐廬
Yuqian 於潛
Xindeng 新登
Hengshan 橫山
Wukang 武康
Yuezhou
(eastern capital; modern day Shaoxing)
越州
Kuaiji 會稽
Shanyin 山陰
Zhuji 諸暨
Yuyao 餘姚
Xiaoshan 蕭山
Shangyu 上虞
Xinchang 新昌
Zhan 瞻縣
Huzhou 湖州
Wucheng 烏程
Deqing 德清
Anji 安吉
Changxing 長興
Wenzhou 溫州
Yongjia 永嘉
Rui'an 瑞安
Pingyang 平陽
Yueqing 樂清
Taizhou 台州
Linhai 臨海
Huangyan 黃岩
Taixing 台興
Yong'an 永安
Ninghai 寧海
Mingzhou
(modern day Ningbo and Zhoushan)
明州
Yin County 鄞縣
Fenghua 奉化
Cixi 慈溪
Xiangshan 象山
Wanghai 望海
Wengshan 翁山
Chuzhou
(roughly modern day Lishui city)
處州
Lishui 麗水
Longquan 龍泉
Suichang 遂昌
Jinyun 縉雲
Qingtian 青田
Bailong 白龍
Quzhou 衢州
Xi'an
(not the capital)
西安
Jiangshan 江山
Longyou 龍游
Changshan 常山
Wuzhou
(roughly modern day Jinhua city)
婺州
Jinhua 金華
Dongyang 東陽
Yiwu 義烏
Lanxi 蘭溪
Yongkang 永康
Wuyi 武義
Pujiang 浦江
Muzhou
(roughly modern northwestern Zhejiang province)
睦州
Jiande 建德
Shouchang 壽昌
Sui'an 遂安
Fenshui 分水
Qingxi 青溪
Xiuzhou
(roughly modern Shanghai and its surrounding environs,
along with Jiaxing prefecture in Zhejiang province)
秀州
Jiaxing 嘉興
Haiyan 海鹽
Huating 華亭
Chongde 崇德
Suzhou 蘇州
Wu County 吳縣
Jinzhou 晉洲
Kunshan 崑山
Changshu 常熟
Wujiang 吳江
Fuzhou
(acquired after the fall of Min)
福州
Min County 閩縣
Houguan 侯官
Changle 長樂
Lianjiang 連江
Changxi 長溪
Fuqing 福清
Gutian 古田
Yongtai 永泰
Minqing 閩清
Yongzhen 永貞
Ningde 寧德
Anguo Yijin Military Prefecture
(once called Yijin military prefecture)
安國衣錦軍
(衣錦軍)
Lin'an 臨安

Former Administrative Divisions

Reign of Qian Liu[edit]

Under Qian Liu's reign, Wuyue prospered economically and freely developed its own regional culture that continues to this day. He developed the coastal kingdom's agriculture, built seawalls, expanded Hangzhou, dredged rivers and lakes, and encouraged sea transport and trade. On his death-bed he urged a benign administration of state affairs and his words were strictly followed by four succeeding kings.

Foreign diplomacy[edit]

In 935, Wuyue established official diplomatic relations with Japan. The kingdom also took advantage of its maritime location to maintain diplomatic contacts with north China, the Khitans, and the Korean states of Balhae, Later Baekje, Goryeo, and Silla. Buddhism played a large role in the diplomatic relations with Japan and Goryeo. Japanese and Korean monks traveled to Wuyue, while monks from Wuyue went to Japan and Korea as well. The rulers of Wuyue also tried to find sutras that had been lost during the turbulent final years of the Tang. In 947, Qian Zuo sent gifts to Japan and offering to buy any sutras, however none were available. In 961, Qian Chu sent fifty precious objects and a letter to Goryeo inquiring about the missing sutras, and Gwangjong sent the monk Jegwan (諦觀) with a complete set of Tiantai sutras.[2]

Fall of the Kingdom[edit]

In 978, in the face of certain annihilation from northern imperial Chinese troops, the last king of Wuyue, Qian Chu, pledged allegiance to the Song Dynasty, saving his people from war and economic destruction. While Qian Chu nominally remained king, Wuyue was absorbed into the Song Dynasty, effectively ending the kingdom. The last king died in 988.

Legacy[edit]

Cultural Legacy[edit]

A section of the West Lake with the pavilion on the left that is said to mark the spot of an archery range in the Wuyue period.

The Wuyue Kingdom cemented the cultural and economic dominance of the Wuyue region in China for centuries to come, as well as creating a lasting regional cultural tradition distinctive from the rest of China. The leaders of the kingdom were noted patrons of Buddhism, and architecture, temple decoration, and religious sculptures related to Buddhism. The cultural distinctiveness that began developing over this period persists to this day as the Wuyue region speaks a dialect called Wu (the most famous variant of which is Shanghainese), has distinctive cuisine and other cultural traits. The Baochu Pagoda, constructed during the reign of Qian Chu, was one of many temples and pagodas built under the patronage of the Wuyue kings.

Infrastructure[edit]

The physical legacy of the Wuyue Kingdom was the creation of the system of canals and dikes which allowed the region to become the most agriculturally rich region of China for many centuries. As a result, shrines to Qian Liu sprang up all across the region, and many can still be found today.

Personal legacy[edit]

Qian Liu was often known as the "Dragon King" or the "Sea Dragon King" because of his extensive hydro-engineering schemes which "tamed" the seas. The kings of Wuyue continue to enjoy positive treatment in orthodox history. They were popularly revered because of the hydro-engineering works, ensuring the economic prosperity of the region, and for finally surrendering to the Song Dynasty, which ensured both a unified Chinese nation and that the region would not be ravaged by war.

During the early Song Dynasty, the Qian royal family were treated as second only to the ruling Zhao imperial family, as reflected in the Hundred Family Surnames. Subsequently, many shrines were erected across the Wuyue region where the kings of Wuyue were memorialised, and sometimes, worshipped as dictating weather and agriculture. Many of these shrines, known as "Shrine of the Qian King" or "Temple to the Qian King", remain today, the most popularly visited example being that near West Lake in Hangzhou.

Qian Liu reputedly had more than a hundred sons born to many different wives and concubines. His progeny were posted to various parts of the kingdom. The Qian family remains very widely spread throughout the region. Several branches are considered "prominent families" (望族) in their local areas.[3]

Rulers[edit]

Sovereigns in Kingdom of Wuyue 907-978
Temple Names Posthumous Names Personal Names Period of Reigns Era Names and respective range of years
Chinese Pinyin Shanghainese Chinese Pinyin Shanghainese Chinese Pinyin Shanghainese
太祖 Tài Zǔ Tha Tsu 武肅王 Wǔ Sù Wáng Vu Soh Waon 錢鏐 Qián Liú Zi Leu 907-932 Tianyou (天祐):907

Tianbao (天寶):908-912
Fengli (鳳歷):913
Qianhua (乾化):913-915
Zhenming (貞明):915-921
Longde (龍德):921-923
Baoda (寶大):924-925
Baozheng (寶正):926-931

世宗 Shì Zōng Sy Tson 文穆王 Wén Mù Wáng Ven Moh Waon 錢元瓘
(錢傳瓘)
Qián Yuánguàn
(Qián Chuánguàn)
Zi Nyoe Cioe
(Zi Zoe Cioe)
932-941 Changxing (長興):932-933


Yingshun (應順):934
Qingtai (清泰):934-936
Tianfu (天福):936-941

成宗 Chéng Zōng Zen Tson 忠獻王 Zhōng Xiàn Wáng Tson Shie Waon 錢佐
(錢弘佐)
Qián Zuǒ
(Qián Hóng Zuǒ)
Zi Tsu
(Zi Ghon Tsu)
941-947 Tianfu (天福):941-944


Kaiyun (開運):944-946

Did not exist N/A N/A 忠遜王 Zhōng Xùn Wáng Tson Sen Waon 錢倧
(錢弘倧)
Qián Zōng
(Qián Hóng Zōng)
Zi Tson
(Zi Ghon Tson)
947 Tianfu (天福):947
Did not exist N/A N/A 忠懿王 Zhōng Yì Wáng Tson I Waon 錢俶
(錢弘俶)
Qián Chù
(Qián Hóng Chù)
Zi Tsoh
(Zi Ghon Tsoh)
947-978 Qianyou (乾祐):948-950


Guangshun (廣順):951-953
Xiande (顯德):954-960
Jianlong (建隆):960-963
Qiande (乾德):963-968
Kaibao (開寶):968-976
Taiping Xingguo (太平興國):976-978

Qian Chu submitted to the Song Dynasty in 978 and continued to reign nominally as King of Wuyue until his death in 988.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Worthy 1983, p. 19.
  2. ^ Worthy 1983, p. 36.
  3. ^ Pan (1937)

Sources[edit]

  • Chavannes, Edouard. "Le royaume de Wou et de Yue", T'oung Pao 17: 129-264 (1916).
  • Mote, F.W. (1999). Imperial China (900-1800). Harvard University Press. pp. 11, 15, 22–23. ISBN 0-674-01212-7. 
  • Pan, Guangdan (1937). Prominent Families of Jiaxing in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Shanghai: The Commercial Press. 
  • Worthy, Edmund H. (1983). "Diplomacy for Survival: Domestic and Foreign Relations of Wü Yueh, 907-978". In Rossabi, Morris. China among Equals: the Middle Kingdom and its Neighbors, 10th-14th centuries. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 17–44.