He Qia

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He Qia
Official of Cao Wei
Born (Unknown)
Died after 228[1]
Traditional Chinese 和洽
Simplified Chinese 和洽
Pinyin Hé Qià
Wade–Giles Ho Ch'ia
Courtesy name Yangshi (traditional Chinese: 陽士; simplified Chinese: 阳士; pinyin: Yángshì; Wade–Giles: Yang-shih)
Posthumous name Marquis Jian (traditional Chinese: 簡侯; simplified Chinese: 简侯; pinyin: Jiǎn Hóu; Wade–Giles: Chien Hou)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is He.

He Qia (died after 228), courtesy name Yangshi, was a high-ranking court and civil official of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period. He was known for his austere lifestyle.

Early life[edit]

He Qia was born in Xiping (西平), of the Runan (汝南) commandery, Yuzhou (present-day Xiping County, Zhumadian, Henan). In the 190s, the warlord Yuan Shao sent ambassadors to Runan inviting the gentry and nobility to join his cause. Yuzhou was an area of contention between Yuan Shao and his half-brother Yuan Shu, so He Qia feared staying, but he did not want to serve under a man such as Yuan Shao, whose ambition He Qia felt exceeded his capability.[2]

Instead, He Qia brought his family south to Jing province to serve Liu Biao, whom He Qia considered to be a kind lord without higher ambition. Crossing the Yangtze river, he settled in at Wuling (武陵), in present-day Changde, Hunan.

Service under Cao Cao[edit]

In the late 190s, Cao Cao gained control over parts of Jing province, and He Qia found employment in his chancellery.[2] In this early stage of his career, he spoke out against the elevation of officers based on their following an ascetic, deliberately impoverished lifestyle, and against seeing these men as more pure than officers who displayed their salary outwardly.[3]

Cao Cao was created Duke of Wei (魏公) in 213, and He Qia served as an attendant member of his entourage. He unsuccessfully defended Mao Jie against rumours that Mao slandered Cao Cao. Correspondence on the matter between He Qia and Cao Cao survives and is carried by Records of the Three Kingdoms.[4] Due to these rumours, Mao Jie was forced to commit suicide in 216.

Later career[edit]

He Qia received successive promotions under Cao Cao and Cao Pi, rising to the position of Minister of the Household, the most important personnel manager of the Wei court. Under Cao Rui, he was granted the two hundred households of Xiling village (西陵鄉).

Late in life, He Qia reversed his position on asceticism and began living a greatly curtailed lifestyle. After he was promoted to the prestigious position of Minister of Ceremonies under Cao Rui, he gave so freely of his salary that he was forced to liquidate his real estate in order to support himself.[1] Cao Rui granted him grain and silks so He Qia could avoid total insolvency. His modest lifestyle is reflected in his posthumous name, the Austere Lord of Xiling Village (西陵鄉簡侯).


  • He Li (和离), successor
  • He You (和逌), Minister of Justice (廷尉) and Imperial Secretary of the Ministry of Personnel (吏部尚書) of Cao Wei
    • He Qiao (和嶠), d. 292, Junior Protector of the Crown Prince (太子少保) for Sima Yu of the Eastern Jin dynasty; son-in-law to Xiahou Xuan[1]
    • He Yu (和郁), Director of the Imperial Secretariat (尚書令) of Eastern Jin[5]
      • He Ji (和濟), Palace Writer Attendant (中書郎)[6]

Titles and appointments held[edit]

  • Palace Attendant (侍中)[7]
  • Chamberlain for Attendants (郎中令)
  • Minister of the Household (光祿勳)
  • Local Marquess of Ancheng (安城亭侯), no fief
  • Township Marquess of Xiling (西陵鄉侯)
  • Minister of Ceremonies (太常)[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.657
  2. ^ a b Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.655
  3. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.655-6
  4. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.656-7
  5. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.658
  6. ^ Book of Jin, 45.1284
  7. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.656