Nangong Kuo (Western Zhou)

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Nangong Kuo (Chinese: 南宮适; pinyin: Nángōng Kuò; fl. 11th century BC) was a top official of King Wen of Zhou during the late Shang and early Western Zhou dynasties. In the "Jun Shi" (君奭) chapter of the Classic of History, the Duke of Zhou names him as one of the five key advisers of King Wen,[1] together with Guo Shu, Hong Yao, Tai Dian, and San Yisheng. After King Wen's death, Nangong Kuo became a key adviser of his son King Wu.[2]

Bronze inscriptions[edit]

Nangong Kuo was the founder of a major aristocratic lineage of the Western Zhou.[1] His eldest son probably died early, and his second son Nangong Mao (南宫毛) inherited his title.[2] The famous Da Yu ding, now a national treasure of China, was cast by Nangong Kuo's grandson Yu (盂), and dedicated to him. The bronze inscription on the vessel traces Yu's lineage back to Nangong (南公, Duke of Nan), who is identified by scholars, including Li Xueqin and Li Feng, with Nangong Kuo.[1] Inscriptions on other unearthed bronze vessels indicate that during the late Western Zhou period, the Nangong lineage continued to produce important military leaders like Nangong Liu, and civil administrators such as Nangong Hu, Supervisor of Land.[1]

Inscriptions on excavated bronzes from the tombs of the marquises of Zeng in Hubei Province indicate that Kang (犺) of the Nangong clan was enfeoffed with the Zeng state by either King Cheng or King Kang of Zhou. Kang, the first Marquis of Zeng, was either Nangong Kuo's son or great-grandson (Yu's son).[2]

In fiction[edit]

Nangong Kuo is a character in the Ming dynasty classic novel Fengshen Yanyi. In this novel, Nangong Kuo is a renowned general that had loyally served under Ji Chang (King Wen of Zhou) of Mount Singing Phoenix. Nangong generally seems to be more of an aggressive individual, and will rush to rather impulsive conclusions at times. Following the death of Ji Chang's first son, Bo Yikao, Nangong would swear eternal revenge against King Zhou. Due to Nangong's continuous lust to attack Zhaoge at any possible moment, San Yisheng develops a negative liking towards him.[3]

Following King Wen's attack upon Tiger Town, the capital of Chong Houhu, Nangong is the first to charge the gates of the capital. When General Huang Yuanji stands before him, Nangong yells, "Huang Yuanji, you small potato, get out of my way! I only want to fight the real Chong Houhu himself!" With these words, Nangong, with his great knife, cuts Huang Yuanji down with relative ease. Later on following General Zhang Guifang's attack upon Phoenix City during the Huang Feihu retrieval arc, Nangong duels it out against Vanguard Feng Lin. After defeating Feng with great ease, he is captured by Feng's magic technique; only later due to Nezha's assistance would he be saved.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Li, Feng (2006). Landscape and Power in Early China: The Crisis and Fall of the Western Zhou 1045–771 BC. Cambridge University Press. pp. 127–8. ISBN 978-1-139-45688-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Wang Entian (王恩田) (11 February 2015). 曾侯與编钟与周初南公和曾侯世系 (in Chinese). Fudan University. 
  3. ^ a b Fengshen Yanyi chapter 28