An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Han Xianzi 韓獻子 Han Jue 韓厥

Nov 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Han Jue 韓厥, personal name Ji Que 姬厥, posthumous title Han Xianzi 韓獻子, was a nobleman in the state of Jin 晉 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE), and a member of the house of Han 韓.

He was a descendant of Han Wan 韓萬 (Bi Wan 畢萬) and served Duke Dao of Jin 晉悼公 (r. 573-558) as a high minister. Han Jue was famous for his brave rescue of the single surviving member of the house of Zhao, Zhao Wu 趙武 (Zhao Wenzi 趙文子).

Jue's career began as a cavalry commander (sima 司馬) under Duke Jing 晉景公 (r. 600-581). He participated in the battle of Bi 邲 in 597 against Chu 楚. In the battle of An 鞍 against the state of Qi 齊 he was even able to capture the Duke of Qi.

In 588 Duke Jing of Jin created the six armies (liujun 六軍) and entrusted Han Jue with the post of general with the rank of a minister commander (qing 卿). As an advisor of Duke Jing he suggested moving the capital from Jiang 絳 (or Ji 翼, near modern Jicheng 翼城, Shanxi) to Xintian 新田 (modern Xinyi 新繹).

In 583 Duke Jing allowed that Tu'an Gu 屠岸賈 assassinated Zhao Tong 趙同 and Zhao Kuo 趙括, members of the powerful noble house of Zhao 趙. Yet Han Jue reminded the Duke of the meritorious services of Zhao Shuai 趙衰 (Zhao Chengzi 趙成子) and Zhao Dun 趙盾 (Zhao Xuanzi 趙宣子) in former times. Duke Jing was won over and agreed to name Zhao Wu, who had been raised as a commoner, head of the house of Zhao and made grand master (dafu 大夫) of the territory formerly possessed by his fathers.

Under the reign of Duke Li 晉厲公 (r. 581-573), Han Jue participated in several military campaigns, and in 573 he succeeded Luan Shu 欒書 in the office of chief minister. Han Jue is known as a honest and thoughtful regent who lowered taxes and was nevertheless able to make Jin a prospering and strong state.

When the army of Chu attacked the state of Song 宋, Han Jue took over command of the army to help Song. He also assembled several regional rulers (zhuhou 諸侯) in a campaign against Zheng 鄭 in 572. The army of Zheng was defeated on the banks of River Wei 洧水.

Han Jue also attacked the towns of Jiao 焦 and Yi 夷 that belonged to the territory of Chu. In 566 he retreated from office, and Zhi Ying 知罃 was made chief minister.

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