An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Ziyou 子有

Jan 12, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Ran Qiu 冉求 (522-489 BCE), courtesy name Ziyou 子有, also called Ran You 冉有, was one of the ten wise disciples of Confucius (Kong men shi zhe 孔門十哲).

He grew up under poor conditions and therefore probably developed the right sense for financial matters. Confucius said, Qiu might be employed as a "governor" (zai 宰), and that he was a man of various ability. He accompanied his Master on his travels from court to court, and managed his finances.

When Confucius left his home state of Lu 魯, Ran Qiu stayed and became the counsellor (zai) of the regent Ji Kangzi 季康子, in which position he was able to ameliorate the economical situation of Lu. In 484, he even lead an army defending Lu against the invading troops of the state of Qi 齊. At that moment, he suggested to the regent that, after 14 years of travelling abroad from country to country, it might be appropriate to invite Confucius to come back.

Ran Qiu's economic management of the field tax (tianfu 田賦) so successful that Ji Kangzi was a rich man, and Ran Qiu himself made a fortune. Confucius was angry that he had such a disciple and ordered his other disciples to "beat the drum and assail him". The Master also criticized him for his involvement in the domestic campaign against Zhuan Yu 顓臾.

During the Tang period 唐 (618-907), Ran Qiu was granted the title of Marquis of Xu 徐侯, and during the Song period 宋 (960-1279) as Duke of Pengcheng 彭城公.

Chen Ying 陳瑛, Xu Qixian 許啟賢, ed. (1989). Zhongguo lunli da cidian 中國倫理大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 223.
Jia Chongji 賈崇吉, Yang Zhiwu 楊致武, ed. (1992). Zhonghua lilun daode cidian 中華倫理道德辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 148.
Sheng Guangzhi 盛廣智 (1996). "Youzi 有子", 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), 15.
Yin Yongqian 殷永千 (1988). "Ran Qiu 冉求", in Zhao Jihui 趙吉惠, Guo Hou'an 郭厚安, ed. Zhongguo ruxue cidian 中國儒學辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 6.