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Liang Huiwang 梁惠王, King Hui of Liang

Oct 20, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Liang Huiwang 梁惠王, or Wei Huiwang 魏惠王 (r. 371-335), was a ruler of the feudal state of Wei 魏 during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE). His personal name was Wei Ying 魏罃, and he was a son of Marquis Wu of Wei 魏武侯 (r. 386-371).

Shortly after his succession to the throne he transferred the capital seat from Anyi 安邑 (modern Xiaxian 夏縣, Shanxi) to Daliang 大梁 (modern Kaifeng 開封, Henan). He is therefore called Liang Huiwang "King Hui of Liang", although the name of his state was Wei.

His most important economical project was the Honggou Canal 鴻溝 that connected the Yellow River with the River Huai 淮 (see Grand Canal). The chief minister of King Hui was Hui Shi 惠施, Bai Gui 白圭 managed financial matters, and Pang Juan 龐涓 commanded the army.

In 344, Ying assembled the feudal lords of Qin 秦, Han 韓, Song 宋 and Wei 衛 in Fengze 逢澤 and adopted the title of king as "leader" of the twelve greater feudal lords. In this function he still paid homage to the king of the venerated Zhou dynasty 周 (11th. cent.-221 BCE) at Mengjin 孟津.

In 342 a war with the state of Han erupted, in which Han called the state of Qi 齊 for help. The military expert Sun Bin 孫臏 developed a plan in which the army of Wei was deceived and defeated at Maling 馬陵 (modern Puxian 濮縣, Shandong). The generals Prince Shen 申 and Pang Juan died during the battle. This defeat critically weakened the state of Wei, so that the state of Qin several times attacked from the west and occupied the territories of Shaoliang 少梁 (modern Hancheng 韓城, Shaanxi) and Anyi, depriving Wei of its "western shield" against Qin, in spite of the fortification wall that had been erected there by Long Jia 龍賈. The counsellor of Qin, Shang Yang 商鞅 also lead a campaign against Wei and captured Prince Ang 卬.

In 334 King Hui of Liang/Wei and King Wei of Qi 齊威王 (r. 379-343) met in Xuzhou 徐州 (modern Tengxian 滕縣, Shandong) and mutually accepted as kings that ruled over different spheres of China. King Hui patronized a lot of philosophers like Zou Yan 鄒衍, the military strategist Wei Liao 尉繚, Chunyu Kun 淳于髡 and the famous Confucian thinker Meng Ke 孟軻 (Mengzi 孟子), but unfortunately, no one was willing to support him politically.

Sources:
Chen Quanli 陳全力, Hou Xinyi 侯欣一, ed. (1988). Diwang cidian 帝王辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), 24.
Huang Banghe 黃邦和, Pi Mingxiu 皮明庥, ed. (1987). Zhong-wai lishi renwu cidian 中外歷史人物詞典 (Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe), 513.
Yi Xingguo 衣興國, ed. (1988). Shiyong Zhongguo renming cidian 實用中國名人辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 74.