Zhong Yao

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Zhong Yao
Zhong yao.jpg
Portrait of Zhong Yao in Sancai Tuhui
Politician of Cao Wei
Born 151[citation needed]
Died 230[1] (aged 79)
Traditional Chinese 鍾繇
Simplified Chinese 钟繇
Pinyin Zhōng Yáo
Wade–Giles Chung Yao
Courtesy name Yuanchang (Chinese: 元常; pinyin: Yuáncháng; Wade–Giles: Yüan-ch'ang)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhong.

Zhong Yao[2] (151–230)[1][3] courtesy name Yuanchang, was a calligrapher and politician who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. He served in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. Born in modern Xuchang, Henan, he was at one time the Grand Administrator of Chang'an.

Following Cao Pi's death and Cao Rui taking the throne, Zhong Yao was appointed as a Grand Tutor of Wei in 226. As a student of Cai Yong, a famous calligrapher, he also contributed to the development of standard script (kaishu), and is known as the "father of standard script". His famous works include the Xuanshi Biao (Chinese: 宣示表; pinyin: Xuānshì Biǎo), Jianjizhi Biao (simplified Chinese: 荐季直表; traditional Chinese: 薦季直表; pinyin: Jiànjìzhí Biǎo), and Liming Biao (Chinese: 力命表; pinyin: Lìmìng Biǎo), which survive through handwritten copies, including by Wang Xizhi. Qiu Xigui (2000, p. 143) describes the script in Zhong's Xuanshi Biao as:

"…clearly emerging from the womb of early period semi-cursive script. If one were to write the tidily written variety of early period semi-cursive script in a more dignified fashion and were to use consistently the pause technique (dùn, used to reinforce the beginning or ending of a stroke) when ending horizontal strokes, a practice which already appears in early period semi-cursive script, and further were to make use of right-falling strokes with thick feet, the result would be a style of calligraphy like that in the "Xuanshi Biao"".


  • Grandfather: Zhong Hao (鍾皓), a scholar of the late Eastern Han Dynasty.
  • Brothers:
    • Zhong Yan (鍾演), received the title of a marquis.
  • Sisters:
    • Mother of Guo Yuan (郭援).
  • Spouses:
    • Madam Sun (孫氏), Zhong Yao's first wife. Zhong divorced her in 224 after he believed that she was responsible for the death of his concubine Zhang Changpu. In 249, after her death, she was posthumously restored her to the Zhong family by Zhong Yao's son Zhong Yu.
    • Madam Jia (賈氏), Zhong Yao's second wife. She married Zhong after he divorced Madam Sun.
    • Zhang Changpu (張昌蒲), Zhong Yao's concubine, a native of Zishi, Taiyuan. She was the birth mother of Zhong Hui (鍾會). She died of illness in 257 at the age of 59.
  • Sons:
    • Zhong Yu (鍾毓), served as Minister of Justice (廷尉) and General of Chariots and Cavalry (車騎將軍) in Wei.
    • Zhong Shao (鍾劭)
    • Zhong Hui (鍾會), served as General Who Pacifies the West (鎮西將軍) and Excellency over the Masses (司徒) in Wei. He was one of the commanders in the Wei campaign that led to the fall of Shu.
  • Grandsons:
    • Zhong Jun (鍾駿), Zhong Yu's son.
    • Zhong Chan (鍾辿), Zhong Yu's son.
    • Zhong Yu (鍾豫), received the title of a marquis.
    • Zhong Hui (鍾徽), served as a Gentleman of the Yellow Gate (黃門侍郎).
    • Zhong Yong (鍾邕), Zhong Yu's son, killed in Zhong Hui's Rebellion, and his sons were executed for Zhong Hui's Rebellion.
    • Zhong Yi (鍾毅), Zhong Yu's son adopted by Zhong Hui, executed for Zhong Hui's Rebellion.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Zhong Yao's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms stated that he died in the 4th year of the Taihe era (227-233) in Cao Rui's reign. (太和四年,繇薨。)
  2. ^ The name is also sometimes rendered Zhōng Yóu in pinyin, because the 2nd character has historically had several pronunciations. In the Norman & Mattos translation of Qiu Xigui (2000), for instance, Zhōng Yóu is given. However, according to the Hanyu Da Zidian's entry on the character (p.1436), it is pronounced yáo when used as a name.
  3. ^ de Crespigny, pg. 1134
  • Chen Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 13, Biography of Zhong Yao.
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0. 
  • 漢語大字典. Hànyǔ Dàzìdiǎn, 1992. 湖北辭書出版社和四川辭書出版社 Húbĕi Cishu Chūbǎnshè and Sìchuān Cishu Chūbǎnshè; The Taiwanese edition (traditional characters) cited here is from 建宏出版社 Jiànhóng Publ. in Taipei; ISBN 957-813-478-9.
  • Qiu Xigui (2000). Chinese Writing. Translation of 文字學概論 by Mattos and Norman. Early China Special Monograph Series No. 4. Berkeley: The Society for the Study of Early China and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. ISBN 1-55729-071-7.
  • Wang, Yuchi, "Zhong Yao". Encyclopedia of China (Arts Edition), 1st ed.