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Lord Chunshen 春申君

Dec 2, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Lord Chunshen (Chunshen Jun 春申君, d. 238 BCE), personal name Huang Xie 黃歇, was a high minister in the state of Chu 楚 during the late Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent-221 BCE).

Huang Xie was a very good disputer. He originally served king Qingxiang 楚頃襄王 (r. 298-263) as Counsellor-to-the-Left (zuoxi 左徙). In the service of the state of Qi 齊, he was able to convince the ruler of Qin to set free Prince Wan 完, who was a royal hostage of Chu at the court of Qin. He was furthermore able to stop the king of Qin campaigning against Chu.

When Prince Wan succeeded to the throne (known as King Kaolie 楚考烈王, r. 262-238), he rewarded Huang Xie with the post of Counsellor-in-chief, and enfeoffed him with the territory of Chunshen. In 248 he was enfeoffed with the fiefdom of Wu 吳. In his position as Counsellor, Huang Xie dominated the court politics of a whole generation. He invited numerous scholars, philosophers and worthies and had thus the loyalty of 3,000 retainers. After the battle of Changping 長平, in which Qin destroyed the joint armies of Zhao 趙 and Wei 魏, Lord Chunshen commanded a force of relief and smashed the Qin troops.

He was also able to conquer the small state of Lu 魯, the home of Confucius 孔子. Lord Chunshen's military activities contributed to the northward expansion of the state of Chu and made it a last stronghold against Qin. But his attempt at unifying the six feudal states against the powerful Qin was not crowned by success. Qin defeated the allies' army.

After the death of King Kaolie, the successor's uncle, Li Yuan 李園, was able to grasp the central power. He had Lord Chunshen assassinated.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1991). Shiji cidian 史記辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 456.