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Zang Wenzhong 臧文仲 Zangsun Chen 臧孫辰 and the House Zang 臧

Oct 20, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Zang Wenzhong 臧文仲, personal name Zangsun Chen 臧孫辰, was a high minister in the state of Lu 魯 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE). He was a grandson of Prince Da 達, a son of Zang Kou 臧彄, and grandson of Duke Xiao 魯孝公 (r. 796-769).

Zangsun Chen served the dukes Zhuang 魯莊公 (r. 694-662), Min 魯閔公 (r. 662-660), Xi 魯僖公 (r. 660-627) and Wen 魯文公 (r. 627-609). Zang Wenzhong is known for his economic politics of discarding the transit tax in order to promote trade. He praised the duke of Song 宋 for his cautious planning to avoid famine during natural disasters. He said that in ancient times the rulers Yu the Great 大禹 and Tang the Perfect 成湯 had sought reasons for failures in themselves, while bad rulers as Jie of Xia 夏桀 and Zhou of Shang 商紂 accused others, and therefore were doomed to ruin.

In 576 XXX, when Lu was beset by a draught, he asked the state of Qi 齊 for grain to bring relief to the population. During the reign of Duke Xi he suggested presenting jewellery to the king of Zhou 周 and the duke of Jin 晉, in order to have the marquis of Wei 衛 released. He also represented the state of Lu when part of the the territory of Cao 曹 was redistributed to other states.

In 622, when the state of Chu 楚 conquered the small vassal states of Liu 六 and Jiao 蓼 he lamented the missing virtue of the rulers of the present age. He served for sixty years as a high minister to the dukes of Lu. When he died, Zang Wenzhong was praised as a honest, yet conservative minister who had, in the words of Confucius 孔子, three points where humankindness were missing, and three points where wisdom was missing.

Zangwen 臧文 later became a family name.

Table 1. Genealogy of the house of Zang 臧
Lu Xiaogong 魯孝公
Zang Xibo 臧僖伯 (Gongzi Qu 公子軀, Ji Zizang 姬子臧)
Zang Aibo 臧哀伯 (Zangsun Da 臧孫達)
Boshi Ping 伯氏缾
Zang Wenzhong 臧文仲 (Zangsun Chen 臧孫辰)
Zang Xuanshu 臧宣叔 (Zangsun Xu 臧孫許) Affiliation unknown:
Zang Wuzhong 臧武仲 (Zangsun He 臧孫紇) Zang Gu 臧賈 Zang Wei 臧為 Zang Chou 臧疇
Zang Hui 臧會 Zang Zhaobo 臧昭伯 (Zang Ci 臧賜) Zang Jian 臧堅
Zang Binru 臧賓如
Zang Shi 臧石
Sources: Chen Houyao 陳厚耀, Chunqiu Shizu pu 春秋世族譜 (Lianghu Shuyuan edition 兩湖書院正學堂本). Wang Wenyuan 王文源, Chunqiu shizu jilüe 春秋世族輯略.
Sources:
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), 488.
Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮, ed. (1994). Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 381.