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Persons in Chinese History - Wang Rong 王戎

Periods of Chinese History
Wang Rong 王戎 (234-305), courtesy name Wang Junchong 王濬沖, was a scholar of the Western Jin period 西晉 (265-316). He was one of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove ((zhulin qixian 竹林七賢). Wang Rong hailed from Linyi 臨沂 (modern Linyi, Shandong 臨沂) and occupied the offices of gentleman of the palace gate (huangmenlang 黃門郎), cavalier attendant-in-ordinary (sanji changshi 散騎常侍), regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of the province of Yuzhou 豫州, then he returned to the central government as Chamberlain for attendants (guangluxun 光祿勳), Minister of Personnel (libu shangshu 吏部尚書), Minister of Education (situ 司徒, see Three Dukes), and finally Director of the Imperial Secretariat (shangshuling 尚書令). Of all his friends with which he engaged in "pure discussions" (qingtan 清談) he was the most successful regarding official career, at least nominally, because Wang Rong preferred to discuss philosophical matters with his colleages rather than doing administrative work. Wang Rong once discussed with Ruan Zhan 阮瞻 about the differences of Confucianism and Daoism. They came to the conclusion that their aim was the same, but the Confucians relied on the method of instruction, while the Daoists preferred to follow the way of nature. Wang Rong was known for his expertise in rating prose and poetry work, especially that of contemporaries like Shan Tao 山濤, Wang Yan 王衍 or Pei Wei 裴頠. From his character, Wang Rong was very avaricous and accumulated large tracts of land and an immense fortune. Story goes that the only sold the fruits of his plum trees after cutting out the kernels, in fear that anyone might raise trees with similarly tasty fruits. Of his writings, nothing has survived, and many statements about his themes in discussion are unreliable.

Sources: Li Zhonghua 李中華 (1992), "Zhulin xiqian 竹林七賢", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 3, p. 1613. ● Gao Riguang 高日光 (1996). "Wang Rong 王戎", in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升 (ed.), Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), p. 80.

February 27, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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