Li (surname 栗)

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Li (栗)
Pronunciation Lì (Mandarin)
Leut (Cantonese)
Language(s) Chinese
Language(s) Old Chinese
Word/Name Lilu, Li state
Meaning Chestnut

is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese surname written in Chinese character. It is also spelled Leut according to the Cantonese pronunciation. Relatively uncommon, it is not listed in the Song Dynasty classic Hundred Family Surnames.[1][2]

Li 栗 is the 249th most common surname in China, with a total population of about 300,000, half of whom live in Henan province.


According to traditional accounts, the surname Li 栗 originates from the legendary tribe or state called Lilu (栗陆氏), and the historical state of Li, which has been linked to Lilu.[3]

In the third-century text Records of Emperors and Kings (帝王世纪), Huangfu Mi records the legend that goddess Nüwa enfeoffed thirteen tribes or states, all having the Feng (风) surname. Lilu was ranked the fourth among the thirteen.[4][5][6] Professor Li Yujie of Henan University believes that Lilu was likely the first people in China to cultivate chestnuts (the character li 栗 also means chestnut).[4]

During the Shang Dynasty, the state of Li (栗) existed in what is now Xiayi County, Shangqiu, Henan province. After the state was conquered by the Zhou Dynasty, its people adopted the name of their former state as their surname. The surname thus has a history of approximately 3,100 years.[5][6] The Li capital (called Licheng or Li City), now submerged under the Tianlong Lake southwest of the county seat of Xiayi, is a protected site of Shangqiu.[3]


With a total population of approximately 300,000, Li is the 249th most common name in China. Henan province has the highest concentration of people with the surname, accounting for half of the total, followed by Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, and Shaanxi provinces.[5][6] 80% of all the people with surname live in two provinces: Henan and Hebei.[2]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "百家姓" [Hundred Family Surnames] (in Chinese). Guoxue. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  2. ^ a b Wang, Dalang (王大良) (2001). 当代百家姓 [A Contemporary Hundred Family Surnames] (in Chinese). ISBN 9787502930523. 栗姓相传是远古时期部落首领栗陆氏的后代, 至战国时有燕国相栗腹知名于世, 此后便有多人以栗为姓。栗姓历史上以长安、江陵为郡望, 名人除栗腹外, 又有西汉人栗丰等。当代, 栗姓是一个汉、满等民族共同使用的姓氏, 主要分布在河南、河北两省, 两省人口约占全国栗姓总人口的 4/5 。 
  3. ^ a b Zhu, Jinzhong (2013-01-17). "上古栗陆氏曾在这里建都" [The ancient Lilu tribe established its capital here] (in Chinese). Dahe News. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  4. ^ a b Li Yujie (2013-08-14). "远古帝王栗陆氏考论" [The Lilu people] (in Chinese). Government of Xiayi. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  5. ^ a b c "栗姓的来源" [Origins of the Li surname] (in Chinese). Government of Henan. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  6. ^ a b c "栗姓的来源" [Origins of the Li surname] (in Chinese). Pingdingshan Daily. 2012-03-23. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-20.