Wang Anshi 王安石

A financial-first political reformer


Chinese Name: 王安石

English Name: Wang Anshi

Other Names: Duke Jing of Wang 王荆公, Duke Wen of Wang 王文公

Born: December 19, 1021

Died: May 21, 1086


Carrying out political reform to change the situation of poverty and weakness in the Northern Song 推行变法,改变北宋积贫、积弱的局面

Recover five states 收复五州

Main Works:

Linchuan Collection 《临川集》

Wang Anshi 王安石
Wang Anshi 王安石

Brief Biography of Wang Anshi

Wang Anshi was a politician, writer, thinker, and reformer in the Northern Song Dynasty of China.

Wang Anshi (December 19, 1021 – May 21, 1086), courtesy name Jiefu 介甫, art name Banshan 半山 comes from Linchuan 临川, Fuzhou 抚州 (now Fuzhou City 抚州市, Jiangxi Province 江西省).

In the second year of Qingli 庆历 (1042), Wang Anshi was admitted as a scholar. He has successively held the posts of Yangzhou judge signing, Yin County magistrate, and Shuzhou general judge, with remarkable achievements. In the second year of Xining 熙宁 (1069), he was promoted by the Emperor Shenzong of the Song Dynasty to be a political adviser. The next year, he was promoted to Prime Minister and presided over the reform. Because of the opposition of the conservative group, he resigned in the seventh year of Xining (1074).

Wang Anshi 王安石
The statue of Wang Anshi 王安石塑像

One year later, he was used again by the Emperor Shenzong of the Song Dynasty, and then he quit his job and retired to Jiangning 江宁. In the first year of Yuanyou 元祐(1086), the conservatives gained power and the new laws were abolished. Wang Anshi died of illness in Zhongshan 钟山 at the age of 66. He was called Duke Wen of Wang 王文公, with the posthumous title of “Wen 文”.

Personal Life and Major Contributions

Young talents

Wang Anshi has been intelligent since he was young. He loves reading and never forgets anything. When he grows up, he followed his father to travel around the country, to contact reality and experience folk suffering. The article is profound and beautiful, with extensive references, and has the ambition to change the customs.

In the fourth year of Jingyou 景祐, Emperor Renzong of the Song 宋仁宗 (1037), Wang Anshi went to the Capital with his father. He made friends with Zeng Gong 曾巩 in writing. Zeng Gong recommended his writing to Ouyang Xiu 欧阳修 and was greatly appreciated.

Wang Anshi 王安石
The memorial hall of Wang Anshi 王安石纪念馆

In the second year of Qingli (1042), Wang Anshi went to Kaifeng 开封 to participate in the joint examination and was admitted as a scholar. Later, Wang Anshi was awarded the title of Huainan abstinence judge. After his term of office, he gave up the opportunity of capital to try to enter the pavilion and was transferred to be the magistrate of Yin County 鄞县. During his four years in office, Wang Anshi has made initial achievements in building water conservancy projects and expanding schools.

Xining Reform

In the second year of Xining (1069), Emperor Shenzong of Song 宋神宗 appointed Wang Anshi as a political adviser and became one of the rulers. Wang Anshi proposed that the top priority was to change customs, establish laws, and propose reform, which was approved by Shenzong. In order to guide the implementation of the reform, a three-department regulation department was established, which was jointly managed by Wang Anshi and Chen Shengzhi 陈升之. Wang Anshi appointed Lv Huiqing 吕惠卿 to undertake the daily affairs of the Department of Regulations and dispatched more than 40 promoters to enact the new law.

Wang Anshi 王安石
The former residence of Wang Anshi 王安石故居

In the third year of Xining (1070), Wang Anshi was appointed as the leader of Tongzhong Shumen. He introduced the new law throughout the country and began a large-scale reform movement. In terms of finance, the new laws adopted include the Equal Income Tax Law, the Young Crops Law, the City Exchange Law, the Exemption Law, the Tax Law on Farmland and Farmland, and the Water Conservancy Law; In terms of military affairs, there are general purchase law, armor protection law, horse protection law, etc.

In the fourth year of Xining (1071), Wang Anshi issued a decree to reform the imperial examination system, abolishing the old system of selecting scholars from poetry, prose, and chapters, and restoring the system of selecting scholars from the Spring and Autumn Annals and the Three Classics of the Ming Dynasty. In the autumn of the same year, the Taixue three-house system was implemented.

Ideological and literary achievements

Wang Anshi devoted himself to the study of Confucian classics, wrote books, and created a “new study of Jinggong 荆公新学”, which promoted the formation of a style of learning that doubted Confucian classics and changed from ancient ones in the Song Dynasty. In philosophy, he used the “Five Elements Theory” to explain the generation of the universe, enriching and developing the ancient Chinese simple materialism; His philosophical proposition “division of new causes” pushed ancient Chinese dialectics to a new height.

Wang Anshi 王安石
Linchuan Collection 临川集

In literature, Wang Anshi has outstanding achievements. His prose is concise, rigorous, short, and pithy, with clear arguments, strict logic, and strong persuasion. It gives full play to the practical functions of the ancient prose, and ranks among the “Eight Masters of Tang and Song Dynasties 唐宋八大家”; His poetry is “thin and hard like Du”, good at reasoning and rhetoric.

In his later years, his poetry style was implicit and deep, deep and gentle, but not forced. He became a poet in the Northern Song 北宋 with the style of rich spirit and far rhyme, and was known as “Wang Jinggong style 王荆公体”; His poems are written with nostalgia for the past, with a vast artistic conception and a simple image. Linchuan Collection and other works have survived.

Video: Chinese Literature Podcast – Wang Anshi

You may also be interested in:

Sima Qian 司马迁

Guo Moruo 郭沫若

Top 100 Celebrities in China

Zhu Xi 朱熹

2022-11-9 20:48:50

Top 100 Celebrities in China

Dong Zhongshu 董仲舒

2022-11-9 20:48:54

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