An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Huan Jie 桓階

Jun 2, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Huan Jie 桓階, courtesy name Boxu 伯緒, was a high official of the early Wei period 曹魏 (220-265).

He hailed from Linxiang 臨湘 in the commandery of Changsha 長沙 (today in Hunan) and was originally a follower of the southern warlord Sun Jian 孫堅. The latter died on the battlefield, and Huan Jie personally asked the new lord of the region, Liu Biao 劉表, for allowance to prepare the mourning ceremony for Sun. Later on he conspired with Zhang Xian 張羨 and other generals to rebel against Liu Biao and to join Cao Cao 曹操, but the rebellion was not carried out. Huan was then by Liu Biao offered the post of retainer of the chancellor (congshi jijiu 從事祭酒), but he declined.

When Cao Cao conquered the region of Jingzhou 荊州, Huan Jie offered the new master his services and loyalty, and became clerk of the Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang yuan zhubu 丞相掾主簿), later governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Zhaojun 趙郡, leader of court gentleman brave as tigers (huben zhonglangjiang 虎賁中郎將), palace attendant (shizhong 侍中) and chief steward for writing (shangshu 尚書).

Emperor Wen 魏文帝 (r. 220-226) promoted him to the post of Director of the Imperial Secretariat (shangshu ling 尚書令) and gave him the title of Neighbourhood Marquis of Gaoxiang 高鄉亭侯, later as Township Marquis of Anle 安樂鄉侯. Holding the office of Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang 太常), he died. His posthumous title was Marquis Zhen 貞侯. Huan Jie was a highly trusted advisor to Cao Cao and his son, Emperor Wen. When he fell ill, the emperor visited his sickbed, and weeped when Huan died.

Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽, ed. (1992). Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 337.