An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Tao Qian 陶謙

Mar 8, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Tao Qian 陶謙 (132-194), courtesy name Gongzu 恭祖, was a high local official during the last years of the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220). He was a member of the local gentry of Danyang 丹陽 (modern Dangtu 當涂, Anhui).

His first office was that of a district magistrate (ling 令), before he was promoted to regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of Youzhou and court gentleman for consultation (yilang 議郎). He entered the army of Chariot-and-horse general (cheji jiangjun 車騎將軍) Zhang Wen 張溫 as a commander (sima 司馬) and took part in the campaign against the rebellion of Bian Zhang 邊章 and Han Sui 韓遂 in the west.

When the campaign was over, the rebellion of the Yellow Turbans 黃巾起義 disturbed the eastern regions, and Tao Qian was appointed regional inspector of Xuzhou 徐州 and suppressed the rebellion in that province as General appeasing the east (andong jiangjun 安東將軍). When Dong Zhuo 董卓 usurped the central government, Tao Qian joined the warlord Yuan Shao 袁紹 and raised weapons against Dong Zhuo.

After Dong's death Tao Qian was appointed regional governor (mu 牧) of Xuzhou and given the title of Marquis of Liyang 溧陽侯. He virtually governed independently from the central government. In 193 he was attacked by the mighty warlord Cao Cao 曹操 and suffered defeat. He died from a disease in the following year.

Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽, ed. (1992). Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 473.