Lin Yanyu

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Lin Yanyu (林延遇) (d. April 15, 956 [1] [2] ) was a powerful eunuch of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Southern Han.

Eunuch castrated male human

The term eunuch generally refers to a man, typically from antiquity, who had been castrated in order to serve a specific social function. In Latin, the words eunuchus, spado, and castratus were used to denote eunuchs.

History of China Account of past events in the Chinese civilisation

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

Southern Han former country

Southern Han, originally Great Yue, was one of the ten kingdoms that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It was located on China's southern coast, controlling modern Guangdong and Guangxi. The kingdom greatly expanded its capital Xingwang Fu (Chinese: 興王府; pinyin: Xìngwángfǔ,. It attempted but failed to annex the Tang province of Annam.

Contents

Background and initial arrival in Southern Han

It is not known when Lin Yanyu was born, and other than the fact that he was from Minqing (閩清, in modern Fuzhou, Fujian), nothing was recorded about his family background or how he became an eunuch. It was said that he had a treacherous personality and was a deep thinker. [3]

Fuzhou Prefecture-level city in Fujian, Peoples Republic of China

Fuzhou, formerly romanized as Foochow, is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian province, China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong linguistic and cultural area.

Fujian Province

Fujian, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, Guangdong to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the east. The name Fujian came from the combination of Fuzhou and Jianzhou, two cities in Fujian, during the Tang dynasty. While its population is chiefly of Han origin, it is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse provinces in China.

At some point, Lin became a eunuch attendant to Wang Yanjun, who would have then been an officer under his father Wang Shenzhi, the founding Prince of Min. [3] In 917, during Wang Shenzhi's reign, Wang Yanjun married Liu Hua, the niece of then-Southern Han emperor Liu Yan. [4] [5] Min thus established a liaison office at the Southern Han capital Xingwang (興王, in modern Guangzhou, Guangdong). Lin was sent to Xingwang to head the office, and was in charge of the communications between the two states. Liu Yan gave Lin a large mansion and much gifts. He often tried to ask Lin about the Min state. Lin refused to respond, but told others, "How would it be proper, for someone who is deep in the palace, to be talking of Min once he left Min and talking of Yue [(i.e., Southern Han, whose territory was also known as the Yue region)] once he left Yue?" When Liu Yan heard of this, he became more respectful of Lin. He gave Lin the title of Neichangshi (內常侍) and put Lin in charge of his own palace. [6]

Wang Yanjun (王延鈞), known as Wang Lin from 933 to 935, formally Emperor Huizong of Min (閩惠宗), used the name of Xuanxi (玄錫) while briefly being a Taoist monk, was the third ruler of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms state Min, and the first ruler of Min to use the title of emperor.

Wang Shenzhi Chinese prince

Wang Shenzhi, courtesy name Xintong (信通) or Xiangqing (詳卿), formally Prince Zhongyi of Min (閩忠懿王) and later further posthumously honored as Emperor Taizu of Min (閩太祖), was the founder of Min Kingdoms on the southeast coastal province of Fujian province in China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He was from Gushi in modern-day Henan.

Liu Hua, courtesy name Dexiu (德秀), formally Lady Minghui of Yan (燕國明惠夫人), known in Southern Han as Princess Qingyuan (清遠公主), was the first (known) wife of Wang Yanjun, who carried the title of Prince of Min during her lifetime and claimed the title of emperor. Her father was Liu Yin, the older brother of Southern Han's founding emperor Liu Yan.

Service at Southern Han court

In 935, Wang Yanjun, who was then the emperor of Min, was assassinated by his own son Wang Jipeng, who took the throne. When Lin Yanyu heard of this, he requested that Liu Yan allow him to return to Min. Liu refused. Lin then changed into mourning clothes and wept for three days in Min's direction. [6]

Wang Jipeng (王繼鵬), used the name Wang Chang (王昶) from 935 to 939, formally Emperor Kangzong of Min (閩康宗), was an emperor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Min. He inherited the throne after his father Wang Yanjun was assassinated, possibly at his instigation. He himself was in turn killed in a coup headed by his uncle Wang Yanxi, who succeeded him.

During the subsequent reign of Liu Yan's son Liu Sheng, Liu Sheng made Lin the director of Ganquan Palace (甘泉宮), and trusted him deeply. [1] It was said that Liu Sheng's frequent killings of his own brothers (under Liu Sheng's theory, to safeguard the throne for his son and heir Liu Jixing) [7] was encouraged by and planned with Lin. [1] This included Liu Hongmiao (劉弘邈) the Prince of Gao, whose suicide Liu Sheng sent Lin to force, in 954. [8]

Liu Sheng, born Liu Hongxi (劉弘熙), may be nicknamed Jun (雋), formally Emperor Zhongzong of (Southern) Han ( 漢中宗), was the third emperor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Southern Han. He succeeded his brother, Liu Bin, whom he had ordered assassinated to allow himself to take the throne.

Lin fell ill in 956. He recommended another eunuch, Gong Chengshu, to succeed him, and then died. It was said that the people of the realm all rejoiced when they heard of Lin's death. [1]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 4 Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 293.
  2. Academia Sinica Chinese-Western Calendar Converter.
  3. 1 2 Spring and Autumn Annals of the Ten Kingdoms , vol. 66.
  4. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 270.
  5. The traditional histories indicated that Lady Liu Hua was Liu Yan's daughter; however, her tombstone, since discovered, indicated that she was the daughter of Liu Yan's older brother Liu Yan. See Chen Hongjun, Study on and Examination of the Tombstone of Tang's Late Lady Minghui of Yan, Lady Liu of Pengcheng, Excavated in Fujian, Journal of Ningbo University (Liberal Arts Edition), vol. 23, no. 5 (Sept. 2010)..
  6. 1 2 Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 279.
  7. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 287.
  8. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 291.

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