Liu Bowen

Last updated
Liu Ji
劉基
Liu Ji.jpg
A portrait of Liu Ji
BornJuly 1, 1311
DiedMay 16, 1375(1375-05-16) (aged 63)
Other names
  • Liu Bowen (劉伯溫)
  • Wencheng (文成)
OccupationPolitician, military strategist, philosopher, poet
Children
  • Liu Lian
  • Liu Jing

Liu Ji (July 1, 1311 — May 16, 1375), [1] [2] courtesy name Bowen, better known as Liu Bowen, was a Chinese military strategist, philosopher, politician, and poet who lived in the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties. He was born in Qingtian County (present-day Wencheng County, Wenzhou, Zhejiang). He served as a key advisor to Zhu Yuanzhang (the Hongwu Emperor), the founder of the Ming dynasty, in the latter's struggle to overthrow the Yuan dynasty and unify China under his rule. [3] Liu is also known for his prophecies and has been described as the "Divine Chinese Nostradamus". [3] He and Jiao Yu co-edited the military treatise known as the Huolongjing (Fire Dragon Manual).

Contents

Career

Liu served under Zhu Yuanzhang's rebellion against the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in China, which had ruled since the conquest of the Southern Song dynasty in 1279. He dabbled in many fields of statecraft, philosophy, scholarly works, and technology. His philosophical outlook was that of a skeptical naturalist, and he became interested in astronomy, calendrical science, magnetism, and fengshui. He was known to be a friendly associate of the mathematician and alchemist Zhao Yuqin, and collaborated with the contemporary general and scholar Jiao Yu to edit and compile the military-technology treatise of the Huolongjing , which outlined the use of various gunpowder weapons. He was very interested in the latter, and once said that "thunder is like fire shot from a cannon". [4]

Early service under the Yuan dynasty

Liu sat for the imperial examination and obtained the position of a jinshi (successful candidate) in the final years of the Yuan dynasty. He spent much of his early career attempting to save the Yuan dynasty from collapse. He served the Yuan dynasty as an official for 25 years, gaining a reputation for integrity and honesty, and became known as a distinguished scholar and strategist. [5] In 1348, he was appointed to a military position and assigned to put down a southern rebellion against the dynasty. The leader of the rebellion attempted to save himself by offering Liu a bribe. When Liu refused, the rebel went to Beijing and succeeded in bribing his way into favour there. [6]

Once the secessionist had bribed his way into the regime's favour, he was given a public office and a salary. Liu's relationship with the Yuan government deteriorated after this event. He attempted to resign twice, in 1349 and 1352. He was demoted in 1358, and finally left service to retire in his ancestral homeland. In 1360, Liu was introduced to Zhu Yuanzhang, a former leader of a radical White Lotus rebellion who was then the leader of a broad anti-Yuan rebellion. [5] [7]

Service to Zhu Yuanzhang

Liu served not only in the administration of Zhu Yuanzhang, but also in many battles as a commanding officer on land and water, leading the early Ming naval forces. Zhu Yuanzhang placed Liu in charge of the campaign to conquer all of Zhejiang from Yuan forces. [8] Liu was also responsible for military ventures against opposing Chinese rebel groups, as well as the wokou . [8] His forces owed much of their success to the use of the medieval Chinese firearm known as the fire lance. [8] It was during this period that he wrote the books Extraordinary Strategies of a Hundred Battles (百戰奇略) and Eighteen Strategies and Affairs (時務十八策). [9] Later in the rebellion, Zhu Yuanzhang only rarely relied on Liu to personally command his armies in the field, as he acquired other capable generals, including Xu Da, Deng Yu and Chang Yuchun. Liu was most often consulted for his strategic advice during this period. [1]

In 1368, after eight years of Liu's service, Zhu Yuanzhang unified China. When Zhu founded the Ming dynasty and became historically known as the Hongwu Emperor, Liu was one of his most trusted advisors, but the relationship between Liu and the emperor eventually deteriorated in a manner similar to the way that Liu had become estranged from the Yuan government. In 1375, Liu rejected a man, Hu Weiyong, for appointment to high office. Hu Weiyong later obtained an audience with the Hongwu Emperor and slandered Liu by telling the emperor that Liu was plotting to establish his own power. After convincing the emperor of Liu's treachery, Liu was ejected from office, and Hu Weiyong was promoted. [10]

Death

The shock and shame of being groundlessly dismissed from office destroyed Liu's health, and he quickly died. Within five years of Liu's death, the man who had slandered Liu to achieve office (Hu Weiyong) was himself suspected of plotting against the Hongwu Emperor. In the subsequent orgy of the emperor's paranoid efforts to root out conspiracy, 30,000–40,000 people were executed. [11]

The precise cause of Liu's death is considered uncertain by modern scholars. In late January of Hongwu's eighth year(1375), Liu was infected with cold. After Zhu Yuanzhang knew this, he sent Hu Weiyong to find an imperial doctor for Liu. However, after Liu had doctor's medicines, he felt as if some uneven stones were squeezed together in his stomach, which made him even more painful. Liu gently told Zhu Yuanzhang that he felt more pain after having Hu Weiyong's doctor's medicines. After Zhu Yuanzhang listened to this, he only gave some comforting words to Liu, which made Liu feel upset. In late March, Liu had already been unable to move freely. Therefore, he decided to return home. After he got home, he refused all the medicines and just tried to maintain a normal diet as much as possible. Eventually, Liu died in April. Some scholars believe that Liu was poisoned by the Hongwu Emperor himself, not because Liu failed his duty, but because the emperor was envious and even fearful of his knowledge and influence. [3] Other sources have pointed out that the Hongwu Emperor did kill many people shortly after Liu lost his official position, but they are uncertain about whether Liu was part of this group. [12]

Prophecy

Liu's most famous prophecy to Zhu Yuanzhang, written down in a lyrical style, is called the Shaobing Song (燒餅歌). [3] [13] [14] The poem is written in cryptic verse and is difficult to understand. Some people believe that the Shaobing Song has predicted future events in China, including the 1449 Mongol invasion, and the 1911 founding of the Republic of China. [3]

Biographical works

Liu's official biography is found in the 128th volume of the History of Ming , which was written by Zhang Tingyu and others in the Qing dynasty. The author Chong Tai also wrote a biography on him. [4]

Shenji Miaosuan Liu Bowen (simplified Chinese :神机妙算刘伯温; traditional Chinese :神機妙算劉伯溫; pinyin :Shénjī Miàosuàn Líu Bówēn; lit. : 'The Divine Witted and Marvelous Predictor Liu Bowen'), a 404 episodes long television drama about Liu, was aired in Taiwan on TTV from 23 August 2006 to 12 March 2008, starring Taiwanese actor Huang Shaoqi (黃少祺) as Liu. [15] [16]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 Jiang, Yonglin. Jiang Yonglin. [2005] (2005). The Great Ming Code: 大明律. University of Washington Press. ISBN   0-295-98449-X, 9780295984490. Page xxxv. The source is used to cover the year only.
  2. Pioneer of the Chinese Revolution: Zhang Binglin and Confucianism. Stanford University Press. pp. 44–. ISBN   978-0-8047-6664-7.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Windridge, Charles. [1999] (2003) Tong Sing The Chinese Book of Wisdom. Kyle Cathie Limited. ISBN   0-7607-4535-8. pg 124–125.
  4. 1 2 Needham, Volume 5, Part 7, 25.
  5. 1 2 "Xinhuanet.com." 劉伯溫是被神化了嗎?. Page 2. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  6. Cleary, Thomas. (2005) Mastering the Art of War, Shambhala Publications, Inc. pp. 101–102. ISBN   1-59030-264-8.
  7. Cleary, Thomas. (2005) Mastering the Art of War, Shambhala Publications, Inc. p. 102. ISBN   1-59030-264-8.
  8. 1 2 3 Needham, Volume 5, Part 7, 232.
  9. "Xinhuanet.com." 劉伯溫是被神化了嗎?. Page 1. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  10. Cleary, Thomas. (2005) Mastering the Art of War, Shambhala Publications, Inc. p. 103. ISBN   1-59030-264-8.
  11. Cleary, Thomas. (2005) Mastering the Art of War, Shambhala Publications, Inc. pp. 103–104. ISBN   1-59030-264-8.
  12. "Xinhuanet.com." 劉伯溫是被神化了嗎?. Page 3. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  13. Ji, Liu. [2004] (2004) 燒餅歌與推背圖. Bai Shan Shu Fang Publishing Company. ISBN   986-7769-00-7
  14. HK geocities. "HK geocities." 燒餅歌. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
  15. TTV. "Taiwan Television." 神機妙算劉伯溫. Retrieved on 2008-09-20.
  16. (in Chinese) Shenji Miaosuan Liu Bowen on Baidu Baike

Related Research Articles

Hongwu Emperor founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty

The Hongwu EmperorZhu Yuanzhang, was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning from 1368 to 1398.

Uskhal Khan Tögüs Temür Emperor of the Northern Yuan Dynasty

Uskhal Khan or the Last Emperor of Northern Yuan (北元末主), born Tögüs Temür, was a Mongol Emperor of the Northern Yuan dynasty based in Mongolia. He was the last powerful khan of the Mongols until the reign of Dayan Khan.

Lan Yu was a Chinese general who contributed to the founding of the Ming Dynasty. His ancestral home was in present-day Dingyuan County, Anhui. In 1393 Lan was accused of plotting a rebellion and put to death by the Hongwu Emperor. About 15,000 people were implicated in the case and executed.

Xu Da Ming Dynasty General

Xu Da (1332–1385), courtesy name Tiande, was a Chinese military general who lived in the late Yuan dynasty and early Ming dynasty. He was a friend of Hongwu Emperor, the founder and first ruler of the Ming dynasty, and assisted him in overthrowing the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty and establishing the Ming dynasty. He was also the father of Empress Xu, who married the third Ming ruler, the Yongle Emperor.

Red Turban Rebellion 1351–1368 uprising in the Yuan dynasty

The Red Turban Rebellion was an uprising influenced by White Lotus members that, between 1351 and 1368, targeted the ruling Mongol-led Yuan dynasty, eventually leading to the overthrow of Mongol rule in China.

Hu Dahai Chinese general

Hu Dahai, courtesy name Tongfu (通甫), was a Chinese military general who lived in the 14th century. He is best known for helping Zhu Yuanzhang establish the Ming dynasty in China.

Jiao Yu Chinese philosopher

Jiao Yu was a Chinese military officer, philosopher, and writer of the Ming dynasty under Zhu Yuanzhang, who founded the dynasty and became known as the Hongwu Emperor. He was entrusted by Zhu as a leading artillery officer for the rebel army that overthrew the Mongol Yuan dynasty, and established the Ming Dynasty. As a senior adviser and general, he was later appointed to the venerable and noble status of the Count of Dongning. He edited and wrote a famous military treatise that outlined the use of Chinese military technology during the mid 14th century based on his military campaign of 1355 AD. However, descriptions of some gunpowder weapons in his treatise derive from Song Dynasty materials on battles against the Khitans, Jurchens and Mongols. His Huolongjing, translated as the Fire Drake Manual, contains descriptions of fire arrows, fire lances, grenades, firearms, bombards, cannons, exploding cannonballs, land mines, naval mines, rockets, rocket launchers, two-stage rockets, and various gunpowder solutions including poisonous concoctions.

Legend of Emperors Hong Kong manhua drawn and written by Wong Yuk-long

Legend of Emperors is a Hong Kong manhua series drawn and written by Wong Yuk-long. It was first published in 1993. It features fictionalised stories of various ancient Chinese rulers, incorporating elements of wuxia and Chinese mythology as well. In Malaysia, the series' title is renamed Alam Perwira, which means World of Warriors.

Yeheidieerding Chinese architect

Yeheidie'erding, also known as Amir al-Din, was a Muslim architect who helped design and led the construction of the capital of the Yuan Dynasty, Khanbaliq, located in present-day Beijing, the current capital of the People's Republic of China.

Han Shantong, born in Yingzhou, Henan, was one of the early Red Turban rebellion leaders. He claimed to be the descendant of Emperor Huizong of Song (1082–1135), the penultimate emperor of the Northern Song dynasty, and rebelled against the Mongol Yuan dynasty.

Hu Weiyong was the first chancellor of the Ming dynasty, from 1373 to 1380. Hu was a main member of Huaixi meritorious group. He was well known as the central character of the case which named after himself, it caused about thirty thousand of deaths. Besides, his biography topped the Biographies of the Treacherous Courtiers, History of Ming.

Yang Xian was a Chinese official who lived in the early Ming dynasty. He served as the Governor of Yangzhou from 1368–70 and later became the Chief of the Central Secretariat in 1370 during the reign of the Hongwu Emperor.

<i>Founding Emperor of Ming Dynasty</i> television series

Founding Emperor of Ming Dynasty is a Chinese television series based on the life of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty. Directed by Feng Xiaoning and starring Hu Jun as the emperor, the series was first aired on CCTV in China in 2006.

<i>Chuanqi Huangdi Zhu Yuanzhang</i>

Chuanqi Huangdi Zhu Yuanzhang is a Chinese television series based on the life of Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty. Starring Chen Baoguo as the emperor, the series was first broadcast on CCTV in mainland China in 2006.

House of Zhu, also known as House of Chu, was the imperial family of the Ming dynasty of China. Zhu was the family name of the emperors of the Ming dynasty. The House of Zhu ruled China from 1368 until the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644, followed by the rule as the Southern Ming dynasty until 1662, and the last Ming princes, the Prince of Ningjing Zhu Shugui and Prince Zhu Honghuan (朱弘桓) held out until the annexation of the Kingdom of Tungning in 1683.

Empress Ma (Hongwu) Ming Dynasty empress, died 1382

Empress Ma, formally Empress Xiaocigao, was a Chinese Empress Consort of the Ming Dynasty, married to the Hongwu Emperor and acting as his political adviser and secretary, exerting a large amount of influence during his reign.

Athena Lee Yen is a Taiwanese actress who graduated from the New Taipei Municipal Jui-Fang Industrial High School.

Li Shanchang Ming dynasty politician

Li Shanchang was the founding chancellor of the Ming dynasty. Deemed the recognized leader of the West Huai (Huaixi) faction, and given first rank among the six dukes in 1370, it is said that Li was the Emperor Hongwu's closest comrade during the war, and greatest contributor to his ultimate victory and thus establishment of the Ming Dynasty. Deeply trusted by the Emperor, Hongwu consulted Li on institutional matters, but became "bored with Li's arrogance" in old age.

Events from the year 1368 in China.

Hongwu Tongbao First cash coin to bear the name of a Ming Emperor

The Hongwu Tongbao was the first cash coin to bear the reign name of a reigning Ming dynasty Emperor bearing the reign title of the Hongwu Emperor. Hongwu Tongbao cash coins officially replaced the earlier Dazhong Tongbao coins, however the production of the latter did not cease after the Hongwu Tongbao was introduced. The government of the Ming dynasty placed a greater reliance on copper cash coins than the Yuan dynasty ever did, but despite this reliance a nationwide copper shortage caused the production of Hongwu Tongbao cash coins to cease several times eventually leading to their discontinuation in 1393 when they were completely phased out in favour of paper money. In the year 1393 there were a total of 325 furnaces in operation in all provincial mints of China which had an annual output of 189,000 strings of cash coins which was merely 3% of the average annual production during the Northern Song dynasty.

References