Chu (state)

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* S-r̥aʔ
c. 1030 BCE  223 BCE
Zhan Guo Xing Shi Tu (Qian 350Nian )(Jian ).png
  Chu (楚)
c. 350 BCE
  • Viscounty (before 704 BCE)
  • Kingdom (704–223 BCE)
Government Monarchy
Historical era Zhou dynasty
 Founded by Xiong Yi
c. 1030 BCE 
  Xiong Tong proclaimed king
706 or 703 BCE
 Conquered by Qin
 223 BCE
Currency Ancient Chinese coinage
Succeeded by
Qin dynasty Blank.png

The Chu people are soft and weak. Their lands stretch far and wide, and the government cannot effectively administer the expanse. Their troops are weary and although their formations are well-ordered, they do not have the resources to maintain their positions for long. To defeat them, we must strike swiftly, unexpectedly and retreat quickly before they can counter-attack. This will create unease in their weary soldiers and reduce their fighting spirit. Thus, with persistence, their army can be defeated.

Wu Qi, Wuzi

During the late Warring States period, Chu was increasingly pressured by Qin to its west, especially after Qin enacted and preserved the Legalistic reforms of Shang Yang. In 241 BCE, five of the seven major warring states–Chu, Zhao, Wei, Yan and Han–formed an alliance to fight the rising power of Qin. King Kaolie of Chu was named the leader of the alliance and Lord Chunshen the military commander. According to historian Yang Kuan, the Zhao general Pang Nuan (庞煖) was the actual commander in the battle. The allies attacked Qin at the strategic Hangu Pass but were defeated. King Kaolie blamed Lord Chunshen for the loss and began to mistrust him. Afterwards, Chu moved its capital east to Shouchun, farther away from the threat of Qin.

As Qin expanded into Chu's territory, Chu was forced to expand southwards and eastwards, absorbing local cultural influences along the way. Lu was conquered by King Kaolie in 223 BCE. By the late 4th century BCE, however, Chu's prominent status had fallen into decay. As a result of several invasions headed by Zhao and Qin, Chu was eventually completely wiped out by Qin.


The Chu state was completely eradicated by the Qin dynasty.

Bronze bells from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, dated 433 BCE, State of Chu. Bianzhong.jpg
Bronze bells from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, dated 433 BCE, State of Chu.

According to the Records of the Warring States , a debate between the Diplomat strategist Zhang Yi and the Qin general Sima Cuo led to two conclusions concerning the unification of China. Zhang Yi argued in favor of conquering Han and seizing the Mandate of Heaven from the powerless Zhou king would be wise. Sima Cuo, however, considered that the primary difficulty was not legitimacy but the strength of Qin's opponents; he argued that "conquering Shu is conquering Chu" and, "once Chu is eliminated, the country will be united".

The importance of Shu in the Sichuan Basin was its great agricultural output and its control over the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, leading directly into the Chu heartland. King Huiwen of Qin opted to support Sima Cuo. In 316 BCE, Qin invaded and conquered Shu and nearby Ba, expanding downriver in the following decades. In 278 BCE, the Qin general Bai Qi finally conquered Chu's capital at Ying. Following the fall of Ying, the Chu government moved to various locations in the east until settling in Shouchun in 241 BCE. After a massive two-year struggle, Bai Qi lured the main Zhao force of 400,000 men onto the field, surrounding them and forcing their surrender at Changping in 260 BCE. The Qin army massacred their prisoners, removing the last major obstacle to Qin dominance over the Chinese states.

By 225 BCE, only four kingdoms remained: Qin, Chu, Yan, and Qi. Chu had recovered sufficiently to mount serious resistance. Despite its size, resources, and manpower, though, Chu's corrupt government worked against it. In 224 BCE, Ying Zheng called for a meeting with his subjects to discuss his plans for the invasion of Chu. Wang Jian said that the invasion force needed to be at least 600,000 strong, while Li Xin thought that less than 200,000 men would be sufficient. Ying Zheng ordered Li Xin and Meng Wu to lead the army against Chu.[ citation needed ]

The Chu army, led by Xiang Yan secretly followed Li Xin's army for three days and three nights, before launching a surprise offensive and destroying Li Xin army. Upon learning of Li's defeat, Ying Zheng replaced Li with Wang Jian, putting Wang in command of the 600,000-strong army he had requested earlier and placing Meng Wu beneath him as a deputy. Worried that the Qin tyrant might fear the power he now possessed and order him executed upon some pretense, Wang Jian constantly sent messengers back to the king in order to remain in contact and reduce the king's suspicion.

Wang Jian's army passed through southern Chen (; present-day Huaiyang in Henan) and made camp at Pingyu. The Chu armies under Xiang Yan used their full strength against the camp but failed. Wang Jian ordered his troops to defend their positions firmly but avoid advancing further into Chu territory. After failing to lure the Qin army into an attack, Xiang Yan ordered a retreat; Wang Jian seized this opportunity to launch a swift assault. The Qin forces pursued the retreating Chu forces to Qinan (蕲南; northwest of present-day Qichun in Hubei) and Xiang Yan was either killed in the action or committed suicide following his defeat.[ citation needed ]

The next year, in 223 BCE, Qin launched another campaign and captured the Chu capital Shouchun. King Fuchu was captured and his state annexed. [15] The following year, Wang Jian and Meng Wu led the Qin army against Wuyue around the mouth of the Yangtze, capturing the descendants of the royal family of Yue. [15] These conquered territories became the Kuaiji Prefecture of the Qin Empire.

At their peak, Chu and Qin together fielded over 1,000,000 troops, more than the massive Battle of Changping between Qin and Zhao 35 years before. The excavated personal letters of two regular Qin soldiers, Hei Fu (黑夫) and Jing (), tell of a protracted campaign in Huaiyang under Wang Jian. Both soldiers wrote letters requesting supplies of clothing and money from home to sustain the long waiting campaign. [16]

Qin and Han dynasties

Spearhead from the state of Chu Spring & Autumn Bronze Spear, Chu State.jpg
Spearhead from the state of Chu

The Chu populace in areas conquered by Qin openly ignored the stringent Qin laws and governance, as recorded in the excavated bamboo slips of a Qin administrator in Hubei. Chu aspired to overthrow the painful yoke of Qin rule and re-establishing a separate state. The attitude was captured in a Chinese expression about implacable hostility: "Though Chu have but three clans, [17] Qin surely be perished by none other but Chu" (楚雖三戶, 亡秦必楚). [18]

After Ying Zheng declared himself the First Emperor (Shi Huangdi) and reigned briefly, the people of Chu and its former ruling house organized the first violent insurrections against the new Qin administration. They were especially resentful of the Qin corvée; folk poems record the mournful sadness of Chu families whose men worked in the frigid north to construct the Great Wall of China.

The Dazexiang Uprising occurred in 209 BCE under the leadership of a Chu peasant, Chen Sheng, who proclaimed himself "King of Rising Chu" (Zhangchu). This uprising was crushed by the Qin army but it inspired a new wave of other rebellions. One of the leaders, Jing Ju of Chu, proclaimed himself the new king of Chu. Jing Ju was defeated by another rebel force under Xiang Liang. Xiang installed Xiong Xin, a scion of Chu's traditional royal family, on the throne of Chu under the regnal name King Huai II. In 206 BCE, after the fall of the Qin Empire, Xiang Yu, Xiang Liang's nephew, proclaimed himself the "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" and promoted King Huai II to "Emperor Yi". He subsequently had Yi assassinated. Xiang Yu then engaged with Liu Bang, another prominent anti-Qin rebel, in a long struggle for supremacy over the lands of the former Qin Empire, which became known as the Chu–Han Contention. The conflict ended in victory for Liu Bang: he proclaimed the Han dynasty and was later honored with the temple name Gaozu, while Xiang Yu committed suicide in defeat.

Liu Bang immediately enacted a more traditional and less intrusive administration than the Qin before him, made peace with the Xiongnu through heqin intermarriages, rewarded his allies with large fiefdoms, and allowed the population to rest from centuries of warfare. The core Chu territories centered in Pengcheng was granted first to general Han Xin and then to Liu Bang's brother Liu Jiao as the Kingdom of Chu. By the time of Emperor Wu of Han, the southern folk culture and aesthetics were mixed with the Han-sponsored Confucian tradition and Qin-influenced central governance to create a distinct "Chinese" culture.


Tomb guardian. Zhenmushou.JPG
Tomb guardian.
Bronze ladle from the state of Chu Spring & Autumn Bronze Ladle, Chu State.jpg
Bronze ladle from the state of Chu

Based on the archaeological finds, Chu's culture was initially quite similar to that of the other Zhou states of the Yellow River basin. However, subsequently, Chu absorbed indigenous elements from the Baiyue lands that it conquered to the south and east, developing a blended culture compared to the northern plains.

During the Western Zhou period, the difference between the culture of Chu and the Central Plains states to the north was negligible. Only in the late Spring and Autumn Period does Chu culture begin to diverge, preserving some older aspects of the culture and developing new phenomena. It also absorbed some elements from annexed areas. The culture of Chu had significant internal diversity from locality to locality. [19] Chu, like Qin and Yan, was often described as being not as cultured by people in the Central plains. However, this image originated with the later development of Chu relative to the Central plains, and the stereotype was retrospectively cultivated by Confucian scholars in the Qin dynasty, to indirectly criticise the ruling regime, and the Han dynasty as a means of curbing their ideological opponents who were associated with such cultural practices. [20] As the founder of the Han dynasty was from the state, Chu culture would later become a basis of the culture of the later Han dynasty, along with that of the Qin dynasty's and other preceding states' from the Warring States period. [21]

Early Chu burial offerings consisted primarily of bronze vessels in the Zhou style. The bronze wares of the state of Chu also have their own characteristics. For example, the bronze Jin (altar table) unearthed from the Chu tomb in Xichuan, Henan Province are complex in shape. Dated to the mid sixth century BCE, it was one of the early confirmed lost-wax cast artifacts discovered in China proper. [22] Later Chu burials, especially during the Warring States, featured distinct burial objects, such as colorful lacquerware, iron, and silk, accompanied by a reduction in bronze vessel offerings.

A common Chu motif was the vivid depiction of wildlife, mystical animals, and natural imagery, such as snakes, dragons, phoenixes, tigers, and free-flowing clouds and serpent-like beings. Some archaeologists speculate that Chu may have had cultural connections to the previous Shang dynasty, since many motifs used by Chu appeared earlier at Shang sites such as serpent-tailed gods.

Another common Chu idea was the worship of gibbons and other animals perceived to have auspicious amounts of qi. [23]

Later Chu culture was known for its affinity for shamans. The Chu culture and government supported Taoism [23] and native shamanism supplemented with some Confucian glosses on Zhou ritual. Chu people affiliated themselves with the god of fire Zhurong in Chinese mythology. For this reason, fire worshiping and red coloring were practiced by Chu people. [24]

The naturalistic and flowing art, the Songs of Chu , historical records, excavated bamboo documents such as the Guodian slips, and other artifacts reveal heavy Taoist and native folk influence in Chu culture. The disposition to a spiritual, often pleasurable and decadent lifestyle, and the confidence in the size of the Chu realm led to the inefficiency and eventual destruction of the Chu state by the ruthless Legalist state of Qin. Even though the Qin realm lacked the vast natural resources and waterways of Chu, the Qin government maximized its output under the efficient minister Shang Yang, installing a meritocracy focused solely on agricultural and military might.

Archaeological evidence shows that Chu music was annotated differently from Zhou. Chu music also showed an inclination for using different performance ensembles, as well as unique instruments. In Chu, the se was preferred over the zither, while both instruments were equally preferred in the northern Zhou states.

Chu came into frequent contact with other peoples in the south, most notably the Ba, Yue, and the Baiyue. Numerous burials and burial objects in the Ba and Yue styles have been discovered throughout the territory of Chu, co-existing with Chu-style burials and burial objects.

Some archaeological records of the Chu appear at Mawangdui. After the Han dynasty, some Confucian scholars considered Chu culture with distaste, criticizing the "lewd" music and shamanistic rituals associated with Chu culture.

Chu artisanship includes color, especially the lacquer woodworks. Red and black pigmented lacquer were most used. Silk-weaving also attained a high level of craftsmanship, creating lightweight robes with flowing designs. These examples (as at Mawangdui) were preserved in waterlogged tombs where the lacquer did not peel off over time and in tombs sealed with coal or white clay.

Chu used the calligraphic script called "Birds and Worms" style, which was borrowed by the Wu and Yue states. It has a design that embellishes the characters with motifs of animals, snakes, birds, and insects. This is another representation of the natural world and its liveliness. Chu produced broad bronze swords that were similar to Wuyue swords but not as intricate.

Chu created a riverine transport system of boats augmented by wagons. These are detailed in bronze tallies with gold inlay regarding trade along the river systems connecting with those of the Chu capital at Ying.

Linguistic influences

Although bronze inscriptions from the ancient state of Chu show little linguistic differences from the "Elegant Speech" (yǎyán 雅言) during the Eastern Zhou period, [25] the variety of Old Chinese spoken in Chu has long been assumed to reflect lexical borrowings and syntactical interferences from non-Sinitic substrates, which the Chu may have acquired as a result of its southern migration into what Tian Jizhou believed to be a Kra–Dai or (para-) Hmong–Mien area in southern China. [26] [27] Recent excavated texts, corroborated by dialect words recorded in the Fangyan , further demonstrated substrate influences, but there are competing hypotheses on their genealogical affiliation. [28] [29]

Noticing that both 荆 Jīng and 楚 Chǔ refer to the thorny chaste tree (genus Vitex), Schuessler (2007) proposes two Austroasiatic comparanda: [32]


The Mo'ao (莫敖) and the Lingyin (令尹) were the top government officials of Chu. Sima was the military commander of Chu's army. Lingyin, Mo'ao and Sima were the San Gong (三公) of Chu. In the Spring and Autumn period, Zuoyin (左尹) and Youyin (右尹) were added as the undersecretaries of Lingyin. Likewise, Sima (司馬) was assisted by Zuosima (左司馬) and Yousima (右司馬) respectively. Mo'ao's status was gradually lowered while Lingyin and Sima became more powerful posts in the Chu court. [34]

Ministers whose functions vary according to their titles were called Yin (). For example: Lingyin (Prime minister), Gongyin (Minister of works), and Zhenyin were all suffixed by the word "Yin". [35] Shenyin (沈尹) was the minister of religious duties or the high priest of Chu, multiple entries in Zuo Zhuan indicated their role as oracles. [36] Other Yins recorded by history were: Yuyin, Lianyin, Jiaoyin, Gongjiyin, Lingyin, Huanlie Zhi Yin (Commander of Palace guards) and Yueyin (Minister of Music). In counties and commanderies, Gong (), also known as Xianyin (minister of county) was the chief administrator. [37]

In many cases, positions in Chu's bureaucracy were hereditarily held by members of a cadet branch of Chu's royal house of Mi. Mo'ao, one of the three chancellors of Chu, was exclusively chosen from Qu () clan. During the early spring and autumn period and before the Ruo'ao rebellion, Lingyin was a position held by Ruo'aos, namely Dou () and Cheng (). [13]


Progenitors of Chu such as viscount Xiong Yi were said to originate from the Jing Mountains; a chain of mountains located in today's Hubei province. Rulers of Chu systematically migrated states annexed by Chu to the Jing mountains in order to control them more efficiently. East of Jing mountains are the Tu () mountains. In the north-east part of Chu are the Dabie mountains; the drainage divide of Huai river and Yangtse river. The first capital of Chu, Danyang (丹陽) was located in today's Zhijiang, Hubei province. Ying (), one of the later capitals of Chu, is known by its contemporary name Jingzhou. In Chu's northern border lies the Fangcheng mountain. Strategically, Fangcheng is an ideal defense against states of central plain. Due to its strategic value, numerous castles were built on the Fangcheng mountain. [13]

Yunmeng Ze in Jianghan Plain was an immense freshwater lake that historically existed in Chu's realm, It was crossed by Yanzi river, the northern Yunmeng was named Meng (), the southern Yunmeng was known as Yun (). The lake's body covers parts of today's Zhijiang, Jianli, Shishou, Macheng, Huanggang, and Anlu. [13]

Shaoxi Pass was an important outpost in the mountainous western border of Chu. It was located in today's Wuguan town of Danfeng County, Shaanxi. Any forces that marched from the west, mainly from Qin, to Chu's realm would have to pass Shaoxi. [13]

List of states later became part of the Chu


Early rulers [8] [40]
  1. Jilian (季連), married Bi Zhui (妣隹), granddaughter of Shang Dynasty king Pangeng; adopted Mi () as ancestral name
  2. Yingbo (𦀚伯) or Fuju (附沮), son of Jilian
  3. Yuxiong (鬻熊), ruled 11th century BCE: also called Xuexiong (穴熊), teacher of King Wen of Zhou
  4. Xiong Li (熊麗), ruled 11th century BCE: son of Yuxiong, first use of clan name Yan (), later written as Xiong ()
  5. Xiong Kuang (熊狂), ruled 11th century BCE: son of Xiong Li
  1. Xiong Yi (熊繹), ruled 11th century BCE: son of Xiong Kuang, enfeoffed by King Cheng of Zhou
  2. Xiong Ai (熊艾), ruled c.977 BCE: son of Xiong Yi, defeated and killed King Zhao of Zhou
  3. Xiong Dan (熊䵣), ruled c.941 BCE: son of Xiong Ai, defeated King Mu of Zhou
  4. Xiong Sheng (熊勝), son of Xiong Dan
  5. Xiong Yang (熊楊), younger brother of Xiong Sheng
  6. Xiong Qu (熊渠), son of Xiong Yang, gave the title king to his three sons
  7. Xiong Kang (熊康), son of Xiong Qu. Shiji says Xiong Kang died early without ascending the throne, but the Tsinghua Bamboo Slips recorded him as the successor of Xiong Qu. [41]
  8. Xiong Zhi (熊摯), son of Xiong Kang, abdicated due to illness [41] [42]
  9. Xiong Yan (elder) (熊延), ruled ?–848 BCE: younger brother of Xiong Zhi
  10. Xiong Yong (熊勇), ruled 847–838 BCE: son of Xiong Yan
  11. Xiong Yan (younger) (熊嚴), ruled 837–828 BCE: brother of Xiong Yong
  12. Xiong Shuang (熊霜), ruled 827–822 BCE: son of Xiong Yan
  13. Xiong Xun (熊徇), ruled 821–800 BCE: youngest brother of Xiong Shuang
  14. Xiong E (熊咢), ruled 799–791 BCE: son of Xiong Xun
  15. Ruo'ao (若敖) (Xiong Yi 熊儀), ruled 790–764 BCE: son of Xiong E
  16. Xiao'ao (霄敖) (Xiong Kan 熊坎), ruled 763–758 BCE: son of Ruo'ao
  17. Fenmao (蚡冒) (Xiong Xuan 熊眴) ruled 757–741 BCE: son of Xiao'ao
  1. King Wu of Chu (楚武王) (Xiong Da 熊達), ruled 740–690 BCE: either younger brother or younger son of Fenmao, murdered son of Fenmao and usurped the throne. Declared himself first king of Chu.
  2. King Wen of Chu (楚文王) (Xiong Zi 熊貲), ruled 689–677 BCE: son of King Wu, moved the capital to Ying
  3. Du'ao (堵敖) or Zhuang'ao (莊敖) (Xiong Jian 熊艱), ruled 676–672 BCE: son of King Wen, killed by younger brother, the future King Cheng
  4. King Cheng of Chu (楚成王) (Xiong Yun 熊惲), ruled 671–626 BCE: brother of Du'ao, defeated by the state of Jin at the Battle of Chengpu. Husband to Zheng Mao. He was murdered by his son, the future King Mu
  5. King Mu of Chu (楚穆王) (Xiong Shangchen 熊商臣) ruled 625–614 BCE: son of King Cheng
  6. King Zhuang of Chu (楚莊王) (Xiong Lü 熊侶) ruled 613–591 BCE: son of King Mu. Defeated the State of Jin at the Battle of Bi, and was recognized as a Hegemon.
  7. King Gong of Chu (楚共王) (Xiong Shen 熊審) ruled 590–560 BCE: son of King Zhuang. Defeated by Jin at the Battle of Yanling.
  8. King Kang of Chu (楚康王) (Xiong Zhao 熊招) ruled 559–545 BCE: son of King Gong
  9. Jia'ao (郟敖) (Xiong Yuan 熊員) ruled 544–541 BCE: son of King Kang, murdered by his uncle, the future King Ling.
  10. King Ling of Chu (楚靈王) (Xiong Wei 熊圍, changed to Xiong Qian 熊虔) ruled 540–529 BCE: uncle of Jia'ao and younger brother of King Kang, overthrown by his younger brothers and committed suicide.
  11. Zi'ao (訾敖) (Xiong Bi 熊比) ruled 529 BCE (less than 20 days): younger brother of King Ling, committed suicide.
  12. King Ping of Chu (楚平王) (Xiong Qiji 熊弃疾, changed to Xiong Ju 熊居) ruled 528–516 BCE: younger brother of Zi'ao, tricked Zi'ao into committing suicide.
  13. King Zhao of Chu (楚昭王) (Xiong Zhen 熊珍) ruled 515–489 BCE: son of King Ping. The State of Wu captured the capital Ying and he fled to the State of Sui.
  14. King Hui of Chu (楚惠王) (Xiong Zhang 熊章) ruled 488–432 BCE: son of King Zhao. He conquered the states of Cai and Chen. The year before he died, Marquis Yi of Zeng died, so he made a commemorative bell and attended the Marquis's funeral at Suizhou.
  15. King Jian of Chu (楚簡王) (Xiong Zhong 熊中) ruled 431–408 BCE: son of King Hui
  16. King Sheng of Chu (楚聲王) (Xiong Dang 熊當) ruled 407–402 BCE: son of King Jian
  17. King Dao of Chu (楚悼王) (Xiong Yi 熊疑) ruled 401–381 BCE: son of King Sheng. He made Wu Qi chancellor and reformed the Chu government and army.
  18. King Su of Chu (楚肅王) (Xiong Zang 熊臧) ruled 380–370 BCE: son of King Dao
  19. King Xuan of Chu (楚宣王) (Xiong Liangfu 熊良夫) ruled 369–340 BCE: brother of King Su. Defeated and annexed the Zuo state around 348 BCE.
  20. King Wei of Chu (楚威王) (Xiong Shang 熊商) ruled 339–329 BCE: son of King Xuan. Defeated and partitioned the Yue state with Qi state.
  21. King Huai of Chu (楚懷王) (Xiong Huai 熊槐) ruled 328–299 BCE: son of King Wei, was tricked and held hostage by the State of Qin until death in 296 BC
  22. King Qingxiang of Chu (楚頃襄王) (Xiong Heng 熊橫) ruled 298–263 BCE: son of King Huai. As a prince, one of his elderly tutors was buried at the site of the Guodian Chu Slips in Hubei. The Chu capital of Ying was captured and sacked by Qin.
  23. King Kaolie of Chu (楚考烈王) (Xiong Yuan 熊元) ruled 262–238 BCE: son of King Qingxiang. Moved capital to Shouchun.
  24. King You of Chu (楚幽王) (Xiong Han 熊悍) ruled 237–228 BCE: son of King Kaolie.
  25. King Ai of Chu (楚哀王) (Xiong You 熊猶 or Xiong Hao 熊郝) ruled 228 BCE: brother of King You, killed by Fuchu
  26. Fuchu (楚王負芻) (熊負芻 Xiong Fuchu) ruled 227–223 BCE: brother of King Ai. Captured by Qin troops and deposed
  27. Lord Changping (昌平君) ruled 223 BCE (Chu conquered by Qin): brother of Fuchu, killed in battle against Qin



In traditional Chinese astronomy, Chu is represented by a star in the "Twelve States" asterism, part of the "Girl" lunar mansion in the "Black Turtle" symbol. Opinions differ, however, as to whether that star is Phi [43] or 24 Capricorni. [44] It is also represented by the star Epsilon Ophiuchi in the "Right Wall" asterism in the "Heavenly Market" enclosure. [45] [46]


The virus taxa Chuviridae and Jingchuvirales are named after Chǔ. [47]

See also

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Emperor Yi of Chu, also known as King Huai II of Chu before receiving his de jure emperor title, personal name Xiong Xin, was the ruler of the revived Chu state in the late Qin dynasty. He was a grandson of King Huai of Chu. In 223 BC, during the Warring States period, the Chu state was conquered by the Qin state, which unified the various Chinese feudal states in a series of wars and established the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. In 209 BC, when rebellions broke out throughout China to overthrow the Qin dynasty, the Chu state was revived as an insurgent state against Qin imperial rule. Xiong Xin was discovered by Xiang Liang, a rebel leader who descended from a famous Chu general, Xiang Yan, and installed on the Chu throne as "King Huai II of Chu". However, Xiong Xin was merely a puppet ruler because power was concentrated in Xiang Liang's hands, and was later passed on to Xiang Liang's nephew, Xiang Yu, after Xiang Liang was killed in battle. In 206 BC, the Qin dynasty was overthrown by the rebels, after which Xiang Yu, who was the de facto leader of all the rebel forces, divided the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms. He promoted King Huai II to a more "honourable" title – Emperor Yi of Chu – and made him the nominal sovereign ruler over all the Eighteen Kingdoms. Xiang Yu then had Emperor Yi relocated to Chen County and secretly ordered Ying Bu to assassinate the emperor during the journey.

The Grand Chancellor, also translated as counselor-in-chief, chancellor, chief councillor, chief minister, imperial chancellor, lieutenant chancellor and prime minister, was the highest-ranking executive official in the imperial Chinese government. The term was known by many different names throughout Chinese history, and the exact extent of the powers associated with the position fluctuated greatly, even during a particular dynasty. During the Six Dynasties period, the term denoted a number of power-holders serving as chief administrators, including zhongshun jian, zhongshu ling, shizhong, shangshu ling and puye.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wang Jian (Qin)</span> 3rd century BC Chinese military general

Wang Jian was a distinguished Chinese military General from the State of Qin during the Warring States period. Under his command, the Qin army conquered the states of Zhao, Yan, and Chu. He is regarded by Chinese modern folklore as one of the four Greatest Generals of the Late Warring States period, along with Bai Qi, Lian Po and Li Mu.

King Zhaoxiang of Qin, or King Zhao of Qin (秦昭王), born Ying Ji (Chinese: 嬴稷, was the king of Qin from 306 BC to 251 BC. He was the son of King Huiwen and younger brother of King Wu.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Qin's wars of unification</span> Military campaigns by Qin state against other Chinese states (230-221 BC)

Qin's wars of unification were a series of military campaigns launched in the late 3rd century BC by the Qin state against the other six major Chinese states — Han, Zhao, Yan, Wei, Chu and Qi.

<i>The Story of Han Dynasty</i> Chinese TV series or program

The Story of Han Dynasty is a Chinese television series based on the events in the Chu–Han Contention, an interregnum between the fall of the Qin dynasty and the founding of the Han dynasty in Chinese history. The series was first broadcast on CCTV in China in 2003. Directed by Wei Handao, the series starred Hu Jun, Xiao Rongsheng, Jacklyn Wu, Kristy Yang, Wang Gang and Li Li-chun.

Ying was a capital city of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of Chinese history.

King Zhao of Chu was from 515 to 489 BC the king of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. He was born Xiong Zhen (熊珍) and King Zhao was his posthumous title. Documents unearthed in the former state also show his title as King Shao (卲王). King Zhao was the son of King Ping of Chu.

Ying Bu was a warlord and vassal king who lived in the early Han dynasty. He was a native of Lu County. In his early life under the Qin dynasty, Ying Bu was convicted and sentenced to qing, so he was also called Qing Bu (黥布). He was then sent to Mount Li to perform hard labour by constructing Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. He later escaped with some men and became the leader of a bandit gang. Ying Bu participated in the insurrection against the Qin dynasty after the Dazexiang Uprising broke out in 209 BC. After the uprising failed, he became part of a rebel force led by Xiang Liang. He assisted Xiang Liang's nephew and successor Xiang Yu in overthrowing the Qin dynasty. After the fall of Qin, he initially fought on Xiang Yu's side in the Chu–Han Contention, a power struggle for supremacy over China between Xiang Yu and Liu Bang. However, later, he defected to Liu Bang's side and helped Liu defeat Xiang Yu and become the emperor. During this period of time, Ying Bu held the title "King of Jiujiang". In c.August 203, Liu Bang appointed Ying Bu as a vassal king and granted him the title "King of Huainan". In 196 BC, Ying Bu rebelled against the Han dynasty but was defeated and killed.

Duke Ai of Qin was from 536 to 501 BC the nineteenth ruler of the Zhou Dynasty state of Qin that eventually united China to become the Qin Dynasty. His ancestral name was Ying, and Duke Ai was his posthumous title. Duke Ai succeeded his father Duke Jing of Qin, who died in 537 BC, as ruler of Qin.

<i>The Legend of Mi Yue</i> Chinese TV series or program

The Legend of Mi Yue (Chinese: 羋月傳; pinyin: Mǐ Yuè Zhuàn; Wade–Giles: Mi3 Yüeh4 Chuan4) is a 2015 Chinese television series directed by Zheng Xiaolong and based on Jiang Shengnan's eponymous historical novel. It stars Sun Li in the title role of Mi Yue. The series aired 2 episodes daily on Beijing TV and Dragon TV from 30 November 2015 to 9 January 2016.

Li Xin (李信), courtesy name Youcheng (有成), was a Chinese military general of Qin during the Warring States era. Alongside Wang Jian, Wang Ben and other generals, Li Xin served under Qin Shi Huang in his conquest of the six Warring States. He is also the great-great-grandfather of Li Guang, a Han dynasty general.

<i>The Qin Empire II: Alliance</i> Chinese TV series or program

The Qin Empire II: Alliance is a 2012 Chinese television series adapted from Sun Haohui's novel of the same Chinese title, which romanticises the events in China during the Warring States period primarily from the perspective of the Qin state during the reigns of King Huiwen and King Wu.

<i>The Qin Empire III</i> Chinese TV series or program

The Qin Empire III is a 2017 Chinese television series based on Sun Haohui's novel of the same Chinese title, which romanticizes the events in China during the Warring States period primarily from the perspective of the Qin state under King Zhaoxiang. It was first aired on CCTV-1 in mainland China in 2017. It was preceded by The Qin Empire (2009) and The Qin Empire II: Alliance (2012) and followed by The Qin Empire IV (2019), which were also based on Sun Haohui's novels.


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  40. See also, the Tsinghua Bamboo Slips.
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  42. Note: Shiji calls him Xiong Zhihong (熊摯紅), and says his younger Xiong Yan killed him and usurped the throne. However, Zuo Zhuan and Guoyu both say that Xiong Zhi abdicated due to illness and was succeeded by brother Xiong Yan. Shiji also says he was the younger brother of Xiong Kang, but historians generally agree that he was the son of Xiong Kang.
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Further reading

Chu (Chinese characters).svg
"Chu" in seal script (top) and regular (bottom) Chinese characters