Duke Ling of Wei

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Duke Ling of Wei
Duke Ling of Wey (衞靈公). Lacquer painting over wood, Northern Wei.jpg
Duke Ling of Wey (left at the bottom) with his wife.
Duke of Wei
Successor Duke Chu of Wei
Spouse Nanzi
Issue Prince Kuai Kui, father of Duke Chu
Father Duke Xiang of Wei
Mother Concubine of Duke Xiang of Wei

Duke Ling of Wei (衛靈公) (c. 534 — 492 BC) was a ruler of the ancient Chinese state of Wei, the son of Duke Xiang of Wei. He was the subject of Chapter 15 of the Analects of Confucius. His given name was Yuan.


Duke Ling was a son of Duke Xiang of Wei and his low-ranking concubine. Duke Ling’s wife was Duchess Nanzi,[1][2] whilst his son was Prince Kuai Kui (蒯聵).[3] Duke Ling was succeeded by his grandson Duke Chu of Wei, son of Kuai Kui.

Duke Ling and Mizi Xia[edit]

Duke Ling was one of the most famous representatives of the homosexual tradition in China, as portrayed in the philosophic work Han Fei Zi by Han Fei. In that tale, Duke Ling favors a courtier named Mizi Xia, whom he allows to use the ducal carriage without permission, and whom he admires for handing over the remainder of an especially delicious peach.[4] Han Fei records that once Mizi Xia's looks faded, however, the Duke turned against his former lover, accusing him of stealing the carriage and of degrading the Duke by giving him a half-eaten peach. This story was so widespread amongst the literati of China that the phrase "the bitten peach" became a byword for homosexuality.[5]

In media[edit]

Duke Ling is played by Bi Yanjun in the biographical fantasy adventure drama film Confucius.


  1. ^ Lily Xiao Hong Lee, A. D. Stefanowska, Sue Wiles. Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Antiquity through Sui, 1600 B.C.E. - 618 C.E., p. 53, at Google Books 2007.
  2. ^ The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics by Annping Chin
  3. ^ Page 69, Analects
  4. ^ The Homosexual Tradition in China: Selections from Chinese Homosexual Literature
  5. ^ Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. Published by the University of California Press. Pages 20-21.