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China during the early Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. A prefix of "F." indicates a city suffixed with "-fu", a prefix of "Z." indicates a city suffixed with "-zhou".
Status Tributary state of Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Liao, Later Han, Later Zhou and Song
Capital Qiantang (Main court; Capital)
Yuezhou (Eastern court)
Common languages Wu Chinese
Qian Liu
Qian Yuanguan
Qian Hongzuo
Qian Hongzong
Qian Chu (Qian Hongchu)
Historical era Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
 Fall of the Tang Dynasty
 Submitted to Song
Currency Chinese cash, Chinese coin
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Tang Dynasty
Song Dynasty Blank.png
Today part ofFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  People's Republic of China

Wuyue (simplified Chinese :吴越; traditional Chinese :吳越; pinyin :Wúyuè; Shanghainese: Wu Chinese pronunciation:  [ɦuɦyɪʔ] ), 907–978, was an independent coastal kingdom founded during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907–960) of Chinese history. It was ruled by the Qian family, whose family name remains widespread in the kingdom's former territory.

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Pinyin Chinese romanization scheme for Mandarin

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.



Temple to the Qian King in Hangzhou, one of many shrines to the kings of Wuyue which still exist in its former territory. Qian king Temple.JPG
Temple to the Qian King in Hangzhou, one of many shrines to the kings of Wuyue which still exist in its former territory.
Qian Liu, the founder of Wuyue. QIAN Liu (aka TSIEN Liu), King of Wuyue.jpg
Qian Liu, the founder of Wuyue.

Beginning in 887, the Qian family provided military leaders to the Tang Dynasty. Qian Liu was named Prince of Yue in 902, with the title of Prince of Wu added two years later. In 907, when the Tang Dynasty fell and was replaced in the north by the Later Liang, military leaders in the south formed their own kingdoms. Qian Liu used his position to proclaim himself the King of Wuyue. This signaled the beginning of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period which would last until the founding of the Song Dynasty in 960.

Qian (surname) Surname list

Qian, also spelt Chin, Chien, Tsien, or rarely Zee, is a common Chinese family name. The name literally means "money". Qian is listed at the second place in the Song Dynasty text Hundred Family Surnames. As the royal surname of the kingdom of Wuyue, Qian was regarded as second only to Zhao, the imperial surname of the Song. As of 2008, Qian is the 96th most common surname in China, shared by 2.2 million people.

Qian Liu King of Wuyue

Qian Liu, known as Qian Poliu during his childhood, was a warlord of the late Tang dynasty who founded the Wuyue kingdom.

Zhejiang Province in China

Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of China. Zhejiang is bordered by Jiangsu and Shanghai to the north, Anhui to the northwest, Jiangxi to the west, and Fujian to the south. To the east is the East China Sea, beyond which lie the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

Origin of name

The name Wuyue comes from the combination of Wu Kingdom and Yue Kingdom, two ancient kingdoms during the Spring and Autumn period from 770 to 476 BC.

Wu (state) ancient state in China, during the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn Period

Wu was one of the states during the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn period. It was also known as Gouwu (勾吳) or Gongwu (工吳) from the pronunciation of the local language.

Spring and Autumn period period of ancient Chinese history

The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history from approximately 771 to 476 BC which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period's name derives from the Spring and Autumn Annals, a chronicle of the state of Lu between 722 and 479 BC, which tradition associates with Confucius.

Territorial extent

With its capital in Hangzhou, also called "Xifu", the kingdom included present-day Zhejiang, Shanghai, along with the southern portion of Jiangsu Province. It also later absorbed some of the northern part of Fujian when the Min Kingdom fell in 945. The territorial extent of Wuyue roughly corresponded to the territories of the ancient Yue, but not the ancient Wu—which led to charges by the neighboring Wu (also known as Southern Wu) that Wuyue had designs on its territory, and the name was a source of tension for years between the two states.

Hangzhou Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city in Zhejiang, Peoples Republic of China

Hangzhou formerly romanized as Hangchow, is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in East China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for much of the last millennium. The city's West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site immediately west of the city, is among its best-known attractions. A study conducted by PwC and China Development Research Foundation saw Hangzhou ranked first among "Chinese Cities of Opportunity". Hangzhou is also considered a World City with a "Beta+" classification according to GaWC.

Shanghai Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People's Republic of China, the largest city in China by population, and the largest city proper in the world, with a population of 26.3 million as of 2019. It is a global financial center and transport hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Eastern China coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the south, east and west, and is bound to the east by the East China Sea.

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.

In the early decades of its existence, Wuyue bordered the Min Kingdom on its south and the Southern Tang Kingdom on its west and north. With the rebellion of Yin from the Min from 943 to 945, Wuyue briefly had a third border. However, before long, Wuyue was completely encircled (except for the East China Sea) as both Yin and Min were absorbed by the Southern Tang.

Southern Tang Former country in Chinas 5 dynasties and 10 kingdoms period

Southern Tang, later known as Jiangnan (江南), was an empire in Southern China and one of the so-called Ten Kingdoms between the fall of the Tang in 907 and the start of the Song dynasty in 960. Southern Tang replaced the Wu empire when Li Bian deposed the emperor Yang Pu.

East China Sea A marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean between the south of Korea, the south of Kyushu, Japan, the Ryukyu islands and mainland China

The East China Sea is a marginal sea east of China. The East China Sea is a part of the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of roughly 1,249,000 square kilometres (482,000 sq mi). To the east lies the Japanese island of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands, to the south, lies the South China Sea, and to the west by the Asian continent. The sea connects with the Sea of Japan through the Korea Strait and opens to the north into the Yellow Sea. The states which border the sea include Japan, Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.

The population was approximately 550,700 households, with many people living in commercial centers and major seaports. [1]

Administrative divisions

West Lake in Hangzhou West Lake - Hangzhou, China.jpg
West Lake in Hangzhou

Wuyue was not a large kingdom compared to many of its neighbors. Although initially 12 prefectures (州), it later consisted of 13 prefectures and 86 counties or sub-prefectures (縣). Fuzhou was incorporated into Wuyue as its 13th prefecture, after the Min court declared allegiance to it as they were besieged by Southern Tang.

Hangzhou (Xifu)
(main capital or western capital)
Qiantang 錢塘
Qianjiang 錢江
Yanguan 鹽官
Yuhang 餘杭
Fuchun 富春
Tonglu 桐廬
Yuqian 於潛
Xindeng 新登
Hengshan 橫山
Wukang 武康
(eastern capital; modern day Shaoxing)
Kuaiji 會稽
Shanyin 山陰
Zhuji 諸暨
Yuyao 餘姚
Xiaoshan 蕭山
Shangyu 上虞
Xinchang 新昌
Zhan 瞻縣
Huzhou 湖州
Wucheng 烏程
Deqing 德清
Anji 安吉
Changxing 長興
Wenzhou 溫州
Yongjia 永嘉
Rui'an 瑞安
Pingyang 平陽
Yueqing 樂清
Taizhou 台州
Linhai 臨海
Huangyan 黃岩
Taixing 台興
Yong'an 永安
Ninghai 寧海
(modern day Ningbo and Zhoushan)
Yin County 鄞縣
Fenghua 奉化
Cixi 慈溪
Xiangshan 象山
Wanghai 望海
Wengshan 翁山
(roughly modern day Lishui city)
Lishui 麗水
Longquan 龍泉
Suichang 遂昌
Jinyun 縉雲
Qingtian 青田
Bailong 白龍
Quzhou 衢州
(not the capital)
Jiangshan 江山
Longyou 龍游
Changshan 常山
(roughly modern day Jinhua city)
Jinhua 金華
Dongyang 東陽
Yiwu 義烏
Lanxi 蘭溪
Yongkang 永康
Wuyi 武義
Pujiang 浦江
(roughly modern northwestern Zhejiang province)
Jiande 建德
Shouchang 壽昌
Sui'an 遂安
(roughly modern Shanghai and its surrounding environs,
along with Jiaxing prefecture in Zhejiang province)
Jiaxing 嘉興
Haiyan 海鹽
Huating 華亭
Chongde 崇德
Suzhou 蘇州
Wu County 吳縣
Jinzhou 晉洲
Kunshan 崑山
Changshu 常熟
Wujiang 吳江
(acquired after the fall of Min)
Min County 閩縣
Houguan 侯官
Changle 長樂
Lianjiang 連江
Changxi 長溪
Fuqing 福清
Gutian 古田
Yongtai 永泰
Minqing 閩清
Yongzhen 永貞
Ningde 寧德
Anguo Yijin Military Prefecture
(once called Yijin military prefecture)
Lin'an 臨安

Former Administrative Divisions

Reign of Qian Liu

Under Qian Liu's reign, Wuyue prospered economically and freely developed its own regional culture that continues to this day. He developed the coastal kingdom's agriculture, built seawalls, expanded Hangzhou, dredged rivers and lakes, and encouraged sea transport and trade. On his death-bed he urged a benign administration of state affairs and his words were strictly followed by four succeeding kings.

Foreign diplomacy

In 935, Wuyue established official diplomatic relations with Japan. The kingdom also took advantage of its maritime location to maintain diplomatic contacts with north China, the Khitans, Bohai, and the Korean states of Later Baekje, Goryeo, and Silla. Buddhism played a large role in the diplomatic relations with Japan and Goryeo. Japanese and Korean monks traveled to Wuyue, while monks from Wuyue went to Japan and Korea as well. The rulers of Wuyue also tried to find sutras that had been lost during the turbulent final years of the Tang. In 947, Qian Zuo sent gifts to Japan and offering to buy any sutras, however none were available. In 961, Qian Chu sent fifty precious objects and a letter to Goryeo inquiring about the missing sutras, and Gwangjong sent the monk Jegwan (Chinese :諦觀) with a complete set of Tiantai sutras. [2]

Fall of the kingdom

In 978, in the face of certain annihilation from northern imperial Chinese troops, the last king of Wuyue, Qian Chu, pledged allegiance to the Song Dynasty, saving his people from war and economic destruction. While Qian Chu nominally remained king, Wuyue was absorbed into the Song Dynasty, effectively ending the kingdom. The last king died in 988.


Cultural legacy

A section of the West Lake with the pavilion on the left that is said to mark the spot of an archery range in the Wuyue period. West Lake.JPG
A section of the West Lake with the pavilion on the left that is said to mark the spot of an archery range in the Wuyue period.

The Wuyue Kingdom cemented the cultural and economic dominance of the Wuyue region in China for centuries to come, as well as creating a lasting regional cultural tradition distinctive from the rest of China. The leaders of the kingdom were noted patrons of Buddhism, and architecture, temple decoration, and religious sculptures related to Buddhism. The cultural distinctiveness that began developing over this period persists to this day as the Wuyue region speaks a dialect called Wu (the most famous variant of which is Shanghainese), has distinctive cuisine and other cultural traits. The Baochu Pagoda, constructed during the reign of Qian Chu, was one of many temples and pagodas built under the patronage of the Wuyue kings.


The physical legacy of the Wuyue Kingdom was the creation of the system of canals and dikes which allowed the region to become the most agriculturally rich region of China for many centuries. As a result, shrines to Qian Liu sprang up all across the region, and many can still be found today.

Personal legacy

Qian Liu was often known as the "Dragon King" or the "Sea Dragon King" because of his extensive hydro-engineering schemes which "tamed" the seas. The kings of Wuyue continue to enjoy positive treatment in orthodox history. They were popularly revered because of the hydro-engineering works, ensuring the economic prosperity of the region, and for finally surrendering to the Song Dynasty, which ensured both a unified Chinese nation and that the region would not be ravaged by war.

During the early Song Dynasty, the Qian royal family were treated as second only to the ruling Zhao imperial family, as reflected in the Hundred Family Surnames . Subsequently, many shrines were erected across the Wuyue region where the kings of Wuyue were memorialised, and sometimes, worshipped as dictating weather and agriculture. Many of these shrines, known as "Shrine of the Qian King" or "Temple to the Qian King", remain today, the most popularly visited example being that near West Lake in Hangzhou.

Qian Liu reputedly had more than a hundred sons born to many different wives and concubines. His progeny were posted to various parts of the kingdom. The Qian family remains very widely spread throughout the region. Several branches are considered "prominent families" (望族) in their local areas. [3]


Sovereigns in Kingdom of Wuyue 907–978
Temple Names Posthumous Names Personal NamesPeriod of Reigns Era Names and respective range of years
太祖Tài ZǔTha Tsu武肅王Wǔ Sù WángVu Soh Waon錢鏐 Qián Liú Zi Leu907–932Tianyou (天祐):907

Tianbao (天寶):908–912
Fengli (鳳歷):913
Qianhua (乾化):913–915
Zhenming (貞明):915–921
Longde (龍德):921–923
Baoda (寶大):924–925
Baozheng (寶正):926–931

世宗Shì ZōngSy Tson文穆王Wén Mù WángVen Moh Waon錢元瓘
Qián Yuánguàn
(Qián Chuánguàn)
Zi Nyoe Cioe
(Zi Zoe Cioe)
932–941Changxing (長興):932–933

Yingshun (應順):934
Qingtai (清泰):934–936
Tianfu (天福):936–941

成宗Chéng ZōngZen Tson忠獻王Zhōng Xiàn WángTson Shie Waon錢佐
Qián Zuǒ
(Qián Hóng Zuǒ)
Zi Tsu
(Zi Ghon Tsu)
941–947Tianfu (天福):941–944

Kaiyun (開運):944–946

Did not existN/AN/A忠遜王Zhōng Xùn WángTson Sen Waon錢倧
Qián Zōng
(Qián Hóng Zōng)
Zi Tson
(Zi Ghon Tson)
947Tianfu (天福):947
Did not existN/AN/A忠懿王Zhōng Yì WángTson I Waon錢俶
Qián Chù
(Qián Hóng Chù)
Zi Tsoh
(Zi Ghon Tsoh)
947–978Qianyou (乾祐):948–950

Guangshun (廣順):951–953
Xiande (顯德):954–960
Jianlong (建隆):960–963
Qiande (乾德):963–968
Kaibao (開寶):968–976
Taiping Xingguo (太平興國):976–978

Qian Chu submitted to the Song Dynasty in 978 and continued to reign nominally, successively as King of Huaihai, King of Hannan, King of Hanyang and Prince of Xu, and finally Prince of Deng, until his death in 988. After his death he was also posthumously created King of Qin.

Rulers family tree

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Pi Guangye, courtesy name Wentong (文通), was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Wuyue, serving as a chancellor during the reign of its second king Qian Yuanguan.

Yuan Dezhao (元德昭), probably né Wei Dezhao (危德昭), courtesy name Mingyuan (名遠), was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Wuyue, serving as a chancellor during the rule of Qian Hongzong and Qian Chu.

Wu Cheng (吳程), courtesy name Zhengchen (正臣), was a politician of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Wuyue, serving as a chancellor during the reign of its last two kings, Qian Hongzong and Qian Chu.

Military history of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms

The military history of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms covers the period of Chinese history from the collapse of the Tang dynasty in 907 to the demise of Northern Han in 979. This period of Chinese history is noteworthy for the introduction of gunpowder weapons and as a transitional phase from the aristocratic imperial system to the Confucian bureaucracy which characterized the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties.



  1. Worthy 1983 , p. 19.
  2. Worthy 1983 , p. 36.
  3. Pan (1937)


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