Duke of Zhou 鲁周公

A Chinese culture hero who establish the Rites of Zhou, create the Classic of Music, set up various institutions and systems


Chinese Name: 鲁周公, 姬旦

English Name: Duke of Zhou 周公

Other Names: Dan 旦, Duke Wen of Zhou 周文公, Shudan 叔旦, Jidan 姬旦


Establish the Rites of Zhou and create the Classic of Music 制礼作乐

Rule the mature Zhou Dynasty 经营成周

Crusade against rebellion 讨伐叛乱

Main Works:

Parts of the Book of Songs 诗经 and Shangshu 尚书《诗经》、《尚书》的部分篇目

The Rites of Zhou 周礼

Duke of Zhou 鲁周公
Duke of Zhou 周公

Brief Biography of Duke of Zhou 鲁周公

Duke of Zhou 周公, the founding father of the Western Zhou Dynasty 西周, was an outstanding politician, militarist, thinker, educator, “Yuan Sheng 元圣”, a pioneer of Confucianism 儒学, the fourth son of King Wen Jichang 姬昌 of Zhou Dynasty, and the younger brother of King Wu Jifa 姬发 of Zhou Dynasty. His manor is in Zhou, so he is called the Duke of Zhou.

Duke of Zhou (the year of birth and death is unknown), also known as Jidan 姬旦, Shudan 叔旦 was arranged to take charge of Qufu 曲阜 but he stayed in power in the dynasty. On the contrary, his eldest son, Boqin 伯禽 took his place to manage Qufu. When King Wu 武王 died, King Cheng 成王 was young and the Duke of Zhou took control of the country.

Duke of Zhou 鲁周公
Qufu 曲阜

Shu Xian of Guan 管叔, Shu Du of Cai 蔡叔, Uncle Huo 霍叔 refused to accept and united with Wu Geng 武庚, an aristocrat of Yin 殷, and Dongyi 东夷 to rebel. The Duke of Zhou led his army to the east and subdued the rebellion. After destroying the Yan 奄 (now Qufu East, Shandong Province 山东省), he divided the country into several parts and built Luoyi 洛邑 (now Luoyang 洛阳, Henan Province 河南省).

The Duke of Zhou also established the Rites of Zhou and created the Classic of Music and became the main creator of the Western Zhou Dynasty 西周‘s laws and regulations. He advocated that “the rule of virtue should be clear and the punishment should be cautious 明德慎罚”, and that “the rule of Rites” should be used to govern the country, which laid the foundation for “the rule of Chengkang 成康之治”.

The achievements of the Duke of Zhou 周公 are summarized in the biography of the book of history 尚书大传: “he spent one year to save the chaos, two years to conquer the Yin 殷, three years to destroy the Yan 奄, four years to build the Houwei 侯卫, five years to build the Zhou 周, six years to establish the Rites and Classic of Music, and seven years to become the King.” His comments can be found in the books such as Da Gao 《大诰》, Kang Gao《康诰》, Duo Shi 《多士》, Wu Yi, 《无逸》 and Li Zheng 《立政》.

Personal Life and Major Contributions

Perish the Shang Dynasty and establish the Zhou Dynasty 克殷建周

King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty 商纣王 didn’t realize the penetration of Zhou into the east. He still frequently attacked the eastern barbarians 东夷, rejected proposals, and disguised his wrongdoings, which made domestic politics chaotic. After the death of King Wen of Zhou 周文王, King Wu of Zhou 周武王 ascended the throne. With the help of the Duke of Zhou 周公 and the Duke Bi 毕公, he reviewed the military in Mengjin 孟津 and gathered the princes of the world. This was a general exercise and a test before the final attack.

Duke of Zhou 鲁周公
King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty 商纣王

In the 11th year of King Wu 武王, the second year after the military parade, with the help of Duke Zhou and others, King Wu together with 300 chariots, 3000 Huben 虎贲, and 45000 troops crossed Mengjin 孟津 to the pastoral area of the capital of King Zhou of Shang Dynasty 商纣王. In the early morning of Jiazi 甲子 in February 1046 BC, the King of Wu gathered people to take vows in the suburb of the Shang Dynasty.

King Zhou 纣 sent troops to resist but the Zhou 纣 army turned its spearhead and rushed back. The Zhou 纣 army was defeated. King Zhou 纣王 ascended the Lutai 鹿台 and burned himself to death. On the next day, the Duke of Zhou 周公 and the Duke of Zhao 召公 took the big Yue and the small Yue around the King of Wu 武王. They announced the guilt of King Zhou 纣王 to heaven and the people of Yin, and officially declared the death of the Yin Dynasty 殷朝. The Zhou Dynasty has established and King Wu was the King. The big Yue held by the Duke of Zhou was a symbol of power.

Protect the Zhou Dynasty with vassal states 以藩屏周

After the Duke of Zhou 周公 countered the rebellion, in order to strengthen the control over the East, he formally suggested that King Cheng of Zhou 周成王 move the capital to Luoyi 洛邑 (now Luoyang). At the same time, a large number of nobles of the Shang Dynasty captured in the war were moved to Luoyi. How to rule the conquered areas is a big problem after the victory of the war.

Duke of Zhou 鲁周公
Protect the Zhou Dynasty with vassal states 以藩屏周

After establishing the capital Luoyi, the Duke of Zhou 周公 began to implement the policy of establishing states. He successively established 71 feudal states and granted 15 brothers and 16 meritorious officials of King Wu to the feudal states as vassals to defend the royal family. In addition, the well-field system was widely implemented, which unified the land and consolidated and strengthened the economic foundation of the Zhou Dynasty.

Establish the Rites of Zhou and create the Classic of Music 制礼作乐

The Duke of Zhou 周公’s ritual is one of the most important achievements. The word “Li 礼” has already appeared in the oracle bone inscriptions of the Yin and Shang Dynasties 殷商时期. The initial ritual is only a specific ceremony for people to pray for ghosts and gods. In order to meet the needs of arranging the sacrificial, the Duke of Zhou 周公 formulated different codes of conduct between respect and inferiority, elders and children, and relatives according to blood relationship and rank status. The Duke of Zhou’s “Rites” set out the etiquette that people with different identities should follow, and finally became the basis and standard of the patriarchal hierarchy.

Duke of Zhou 鲁周公
Establish the Rites of Zhou and create the Classic of Music 制礼作乐

Duke of Zhou’s music not only transforms the sacrificial ceremony and replaces the ceremony music of the Yin people but also involves all aspects of ideology and social system. Wang Guowei 王国维 said: “The Zhou People’s system is strongly different from that of the Shang Dynasty. It is the system of establishing descendants, the system of patriarchal clan and funeral clothes, the system of feudal children.” These social systems, which were different from those of the Yin people, were not only formulated by the Duke of Zhou himself but also gradually formed in practice. However, what the Duke of Zhou 周公 did during the Regency period laid the foundation for the social system of the Zhou Dynasty 周朝.

Video: Zhou Gong – The Perfect Regent 周公辅政 | Chinese History – The Western Zhou Dynasty E14

You may also be interested in:

Sun Quan 孙权

Cao Cao 曹操

Top 100 Celebrities in China

Wen Tianxiang 文天祥

2022-8-24 14:48:52

Top 100 Celebrities in China

Zhuge Liang 诸葛亮

2022-8-24 16:05:14

0 comment A文章作者 M管理员
    No Comments Yet. Be the first to share what you think!
Message Message