An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Zhu Maichen 朱買臣

Jan 24, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhu Maichen 朱買臣 (d. 115 BCE), courtesy name Wengzi 翁子 Was an official of the mid-Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE).

He hailed from the region of Wu 吳 (modern Jiangsu) and suffered bad times in his youth, earning his money from selling firewood. Later on he was recommended to Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE) who appointed him ordinary grand master (zhong dafu 中大夫). When the king of the Eastery Yue 東越 rebelled against the Han dynasty, he recommended some plans to put down the uprising. He was appointed governor of Guiji 會稽 (modern Shaoxing 紹興, Zhejiang) and, together with general Han Yue 韓說, defeated the unruly natives of the southeast. Emperor Wu promoted him to Commandant-in-chief (duwei 都尉), later to aide to the Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang zhangshi 丞相長史).

Zhu Maichen was at odds with the Censor-in-chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫), Zhang Tang 張湯, and slandered the latter so that Zhang Tang committed sucide. Zhu on his own part was likewise accused and executed.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1996). Hanshu cidian 漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 251.