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The Seven Houses of Zheng (Qimu 七穆)

Mar 16, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

The Seven Houses of Zheng (Qimu 七穆 "Seven [sons] of Duke Mu") were descendants of Duke Mu 鄭穆公 (r. 628-606) of the regional state of Zheng 鄭 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE). The princes of these houses occupied important political positions and influended the fate of Zheng over more than a century.

Duke Mu had no less than thirteen sons. Two of them, Prince Yi (Gongzi Yi 公子夷), and Prince Jian (Gongzi Jian 公子堅) succeeded him to the throne as Duke Ling 鄭靈公 (r. 606-605), and Duke Xiang 鄭襄公 (r. 605-587), respectively. His son Zikong 子孔 (Gongzi Jia 公子嘉), son of consort Songzi 宋子, was killed in 554. Ziran 子然 (d. 567), and Shi Zikong 士子孔 (d. 565, founder of the family Daji 大季), son of consort Gui Gui 圭嬀, left the country. The youngest son, Ziyu 子羽 (d. 578), was not appointed minister (qing 卿), and his sons had therefore no office. Remained the seven princes Sizi 子駟 (Gongzi Fei 公子騑), Zihan 子罕 (Gongzi Xi 公子喜), Ziguo 子國 (Gongzi Fa 公子發), Ziliang 子良 (Gongzi Quji 公子去疾), Ziyin 子印 (Gongsun Shu 公孫舒), Ziyou 子游 (Gongzi Yan 公子偃), and Zifeng 子豐.

Table 1. The Seven Houses of Zheng (Qimu 七穆)
Si 駟 Liang 良 Feng 豐
Han 罕 Yin 印
Guo 國 You 游

The house of Han was in the beginning the strongest one. Zizhan 子展 killed in 554 Chief Minister Zikong and took over his office. In 547, the nobleman Shu Xiang 叔向 predicted that the house of Han would be the longest surviving of the Seven Houses. A similar statement was made by Zhao Wu 趙武 (Zhao Wenzi 趙文子) from the state of Jin 晉. In 544, after Zizhan's death, his son Zipi 子皮 took over the office of Chief Minister. At that time, Zheng was afflicted by famine, and Zipi decided to open the state granaries and gave each family grain to survive.

Apart from the Hans, the most eminent person was Zichan 子產 from the house of Guo who acted as counsellor and initiated some moderate reforms to strengthen the small state of Zheng. His most famous project was the proclamation of a penal code inscribed into a tripod (see Zichan xingding 子產刑鼎).

Table 1. Genealogy of the house of Si 駟
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Zisi 子駟 (Gongzi Fei 公子騑) (d. 563)
Zixi 子西 (Gongsun Xia 公孫夏) (d. 544) Zixi 子晳 (Gongsun Hei 公孫黑) (d. 540)
Zishang 子上 (Si Dai 駟帶) (d. 536) Zixia 子瑕 (Si Qi 駟乞) Yin 印
Ziyou 子游 (Si Yan 駟偃) (d. 523) Ziran 子然 (Si Chuan 駟歂)
Si 絲 Ziban 子般 (Si Hong 駟弘) affiliation unknown: Si Qin 駟秦
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 36b. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 50b.
Table 2. Genealogy of the house of Han 罕
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Zihan 子罕 (Gongzi Xi 公子喜)
Zizhan 子展 (Gongsun Shezhi 公孫舍之) (d. 544) Gongsun Chu 公孫鉏
Zipi 子皮 (Han Hu 罕虎) (d. 529) Han Tui 罕魋 (d. 535) Han Shuo 罕朔
Zici 子齹 (Ying Qi 嬰齊, Ruzi 孺子)
Ziyao 子姚 (Han Da 罕達, Zisheng 子賸, Wuzi Sheng 武子賸)
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 36a. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 50a.
Table 3. Genealogy of the house of Guo 國
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Ziguo 子國 (Gongzi Fa 公子發, Ji Guo 姬國, Ji Fa 姬發) (d. 563)
Zichan 子產 (Zimei 子美, Gongsun Qiao 公孫僑) (d. 522)
Zisi 子思 (Guo Can 國參, Huanzi Si 桓子思)
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 37b. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 51a.
Table 4. Genealogy of the house of Liang 良
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Ziliang 子良 (Gongzi Quji 公子去疾)
Zi'er 子耳 (Gongsun Zhe 公孫輒) (d. 563)
Bo You 伯有 (Liang Xiao 良霄) (d. 543)
Liang Zhi 良止
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 37b. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 51a.
Table 5. Genealogy of the house of Yin 印
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Ziyin 子印 (Gongsun Shu 公孫舒) (d. 578)
Zizhang 子張 (Bo Zhang 伯張, Gongsun Heigong 公孫黑肱) (d. 551)
Zishi 子石 (Duan 段, Yin Duan 印段)
Ziliu 子柳 (Yin Kui 印癸)
affiliation unknown: Yin Jinfu 印堇父)
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 37a. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 51b.
Table 6. Genealogy of the house of You 游
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Ziyou 子游 (Gongzi Yan 公子偃)
Zijiao 子蟜 (Gongsun Chai 公孫蠆) (d. 554) Zinan 子南 (Gongsun Chu 公孫楚, You Chu 游楚)
Ziming 子明 (You Fan 游販) (d. 551) Zi Taishu 子太叔 (Taishu 太叔, You Ji 游吉) (d. 506)
Liang 良 Zikuan 子寬 (You Su 游速)
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 37a. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 51a.
Table 7. Genealogy of the house of Feng 豐
Duke Mu of Zheng 鄭穆公
Zifeng 子豐
Bo Shi 伯石 (Zibo 子伯, Gongsun Duan 公孫段) (d. 535) Zinan 子南 (Gongsun Chu 公孫楚)
Ziqi 子旗 (Feng Shi 豐施) Zizhang 子張 (Feng Juan 豐卷)
Sources: Chunqiu shizu pu, juan 1, fol. 36b. Chunqiu shizu jilüe, juan 1, fol. 51b.
Sources:
Chen Houyao 陳厚耀 (1800). Chunqiu shizu pu 春秋世族譜 (Lianghu Shuyuan Zhengxuetang edition 兩湖書院正學堂本, 1899).
Wang Wenyuan 王文源 (1845). Chunqiu shizu jilüe 春秋世族輯略 (Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書. 124).