An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Wuqiu Shouwang 吾丘壽王

Jan 24, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Wuqiu Shouwang (Yuqiu Shouwang) 吾丘壽王, courtesy name Zigan 子贛, was an official and scholar of the mid-Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE).

He hailed from the region of Zhao 趙 (modern Shanxi) and was in his youth a famous chess (boyi 博奕) player. The Confucian scholar Dong Zhongshu 董仲舒 was one of his often-seen guests, and Wuqiu Shouwang once asked Dong to instruct him in the Confucian Classic Chunqiu 春秋 "Spring and Autumn Annals". He was appointed palace attendant (shizhong zhonglang 侍中中郎) but soon demoted because of some offense.

Only when he suggested an excellent plan to attack the steppe federation of the Xiongnu 匈奴 he was again bestowed the title of court gentleman (lang 郎), but soon rose to the office of Commandant-in-chief (duwei 都尉) of the commandery (jun 郡) of Dongjun 東郡. Because of his literary profession he even climbed the ladder until the post of Superior Grand Master of the Palace (taizhong dafu 太中大夫) and Grand Master of Splendid Happiness (guanglu dafu 光祿大夫).

In 138 the emperor ordered him to enlarge the imperial hunting park. Shortly after, he was accused of a crime and executed. Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE) deeply regretted his death.

Wuqiu's rhaposdies and poems filled 15 juan of books. There is a 6-juan long book with the title of Wuqiu Shouwang 吾丘壽王 listed among the Confucian writings in the imperial bibliography Yiwen zhi 藝文志 of the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書. Only a few fragments of this book have survived, collected by the Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰 in his Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1996). Hanshu cidian 漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 301.
On the family name, see Murong Yi 慕蓉翊, ed. (1985). Zhongguo gujin xingshi cidian 中國古今姓氏辭典 (Ha'erbin: Heilongjiang renmin chubanshe), 212.
Chen Mingyuan 陳明遠, Wang Zonghu 汪宗虎, ed. (1987). Zhongguo xingshi daquan 中國姓氏大全 (Beijing: Beijing chubanshe), 331.
Wang Wanbang 王萬邦, ed. (1991). Xingshi cidian 姓氏詞典 (Zhengzhou: Henan renmin chubanshe), 461: This author says, the name is read Yuqiu.