The Mǐ (芈) were the royal house of the states of Chu and Kui (夔) during the later Zhou dynasty. They claimed descent from Zhuanxu via his grandson Jilian, whom they credited with founding their dynasty. The Chu Lexicon at the University of Massachusetts conjectures that it was a native Chu word whose meaning was "bear", explaining the cadet members of the family recorded with the surname Xiong (Chinese: "bear").
Chu had a long history of dividing its royal family into numerous cadet branches. Two of the earliest branches of Mi were Dou (鬬) and Cheng (成), together they were known as the Ruo'ao clan. Jing clan (景), Zhao clan (昭), and Qu (屈) clan were later formed by descendants of different Chu kings. Sanlü (三閭) was the unified clan name for Jings, Zhaos and Qus. Minor branches include Ye (葉, originally Shenyin 沈尹), Xiang (項), Lan (蘭), Zha (查) among others.
Notable people with the surname
- Kings of Chu
- Mi Bazi (羋八子, the Queen of Qin's King Huiwen.)
- Qu Yuan (屈原, clan name Qu, author of Chu Ci)
- Xiang Yu (項羽, clan name Xiang, Chinese historical hero who was famous for his rivalry with Liu Bang)
- Duke of Ye (Prime minister of Chu during the late Spring and Autumn period. Clan name Ye, the first Ye.)
- Ban Gu, Ban Chao and Ban Jieyu (three siblings from Ruo'ao clan)
- Mi Zhu (糜竺; died c. 221) – Official under warlord Liu Bei in the Late Han Dynasty
- Mi Fang (糜芳) General under Liu Bei then military general of Eastern Wu
- University of Massachusetts. "Chu Lexicon". 2001. Accessed 3 November 2013.
- 通志二十略. Zhonghua Book Company. 1995. ISBN 9787101010077.
- 元和姓纂. Zhonghua Book Company. 2008. ISBN 9787101010480.
- 史记三家注-(全二册). Guangling Shushe. 2014. ISBN 9787555401049.
- Wang, Liqi (2010). 风俗通义校注. Zhonghua Book Company. ISBN 9787101073850.
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