An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Luan Bu 欒布

Jul 14, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Luan Bu 欒布 (died 145) was a high minister in the first decades of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BC-8 CE).

He hailed from Liang 梁 (modern Shangqiu 商丘, Henan) and lived a poor life as servant in a wineshop. When the rebellion broke out against the Qin dynasty 秦 (221-206 BCE), Luan Bu became a follower of the rebel leader Peng Yue 彭越. During a battle he was seized and sold to the northwest, where he attracted the attention of the local warlord Zang Tu 臧荼. When the latter made himself king of Yan 燕, Luan Bu was made general.

After the foundation of the Han dynasty, Zang Tu rebelled and was executed. Luan Bu, again sold as a slave, was bought free by his old friend Peng Yue, meanwhile king of Liang, who made him his minister. When Peng Yue rebelled against Liu Bang 劉邦, emperor of the Han dynasty, Luan Bu experienced flight, captivity and release for a third time.

He was pardoned by the emperor himself who made him Defender (duwei 都尉) in the royal army of Ying Bu 英布.

Long thereafter, during the reign of Emperor Wen 漢文帝 (r. 180-157), he was made counsellor and administrator (neishi 內史) to the Prince of Yan.

In 166 he was appointed general with the order to drive out the flocks of the steppe federation of the Xiongnu 匈奴 who regularly invaded Chinese territory.

Emperor Jing 漢景帝 (r. 157-141) again used him as a general for the suppression of the rebellion of the princes of Qi 齊 and Chu 楚. For his successful pacification of the empire, Luan Bu was given the title of Marquis of Yu 俞侯 (also written 鄃).

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1996). Hanshu cidian 漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 1140.