An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Wang Lang 王朗

Jan 5, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Wang Lang 王朗 (d. 228 CE), courtesy name Jingxing 景興, was a high minister and Confucian scholar of the early years of the Wei period.

He came from Tan 郯 in the commandery of Donghai 東海 (today's Tancheng 郯城, Shandong) and was, as proficient in the Confucian Classics, appointed gentleman of the interior (langzhong 郎中), then magistrate of Ziqiu 菑丘. In the turmoils of the Yellow Turban rebellion 黃巾起義 he became a follower of the warlord Tao Qian 陶謙, who promoted his appointment as governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Guiji 會稽.

This region was contested, and Wang Lang had to ward off the warlord Sun Ce 孫策. The warlord Cao Cao 曹操 therefore decided to offer him the post of Grand Master of Remonstrance (jianyi dafu 諫議大夫), and made him concurrently military administrator of the Ministry of Works (can sikong junshi 參司空軍事). When Cao Cao, as factual regent of the empire, was made king of Wei 魏, Wang Lang was made governor of Weijun 魏郡 and "military libationer" (? jun jijiu 軍祭酒), later promoted to Chamberlain for the Palace Revenues (shaofu 少府), Chamberlain for Ceremonials (fengchang 奉常) and Chamberlain for Law Enforcement (dali 大理).

When Cao Pi 曹丕 (Emperor Wen of Wei 魏文帝, r. 220-226) assumed the title of emperor, Wang Lang was appointed Censor-in-chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫) and given the title of neighbourhood marquis of Anling 安陵亭侯. Somewhat later he was made Minister of Works (sikong 司空) and promoted to Marquis of Leping Village 樂平鄉侯. Emperor Ming 魏明帝 (r. 226-239 CE) conferreup upon him the title of Marquis of Lanling 蘭陵侯 and appointed him Minister of Education (situ 司徒).

His posthumous title was Marquis Cheng 蘭陵成侯.

Wang Lang wrote commentaries on the Classics Chunqiu 春秋, Xiaojing 孝經 and Zhouguan 周官 (Zhouli 周禮), and wrote numerous memorials to the throne. Most of his writings are lost.

Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽, ed. (1992). Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 36.