Top 10 Major Chinese Surnames – Liu (4)
At present, the surname of Liu ranks fourth in terms of population.
The surname of Liu is the imperial surname of one of the most powerful dynasties in China’s history, the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), founded by the forefather Liu Bang, Emperor Gaozu of Han. The most prolific surname for emperors in history is Liu. At the end of the Jin Dynasty (265-420), the Liu clansmen began to travel to the south in order to escape the war. During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the population with the surname of Liu was primarily distributed across Hebei, Shandong, and Jiangxi. Today, the population with the surname of Liu is located mainly in Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Liaoning,
Sichuan, Anhui, Hunan, and Hubei.
Origin of Liu
There are three main origins for the surname of Liu. The first is from the surname Yiqi, the second is from the surname of Ji, and the third is a surname conferred by the emperor or a changed surname.
Originated from the surname of Yiqi: Yao was a leader of the tribal alliance in ancient times. Born in Yiqi Mountain. Yao was surnamed after the mountain as the initiator of the Yiqis.Yao conferred his ninth son. Yuan Ming, with the State of Liu (now Tang County in Hebei). After the fall of the Liu State, the descendants took on the nation’s name as their surname, and thus began the surname Liu.
Originated from the surname Ji: During the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 B.C.-256 B.C.), King Ding of Zhou bestowed the manor of Liu upon his brother Ji Jizi. Since then, the surname based on the name of a manor granted by a monarch became one of the earliest branches of the Lius.
Originated from an emperor’s conferment or a changed surname: During the late Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-206 B.C), people in various areas revolted against the tyrannical Qin Dynasty in succession. Among them, Liu Bang and Xiang Yu were the most outstanding representatives. Liu Bang eventually defeated Xiang Yu and established the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). In order to show gratitude for Xiang Bo’s help in the Hongmen Banquet, Liu Bang conferred the imperial surname on Xiang Bo, which was passed down from generation to generation.
In the process of the ethnic minority’s integration into the Han culture, many ethnic minorities converted their surnames into Han surnames. Liu was one of them.
Famous Personages Surnamed Liu
Liu Bang (256 B.C. or 247 B.C. -195 B.C.), courtesy name Ji, was the founding emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-25 A.D.). He was an outstanding statesman and strategist in Chinese history. At first, Liu Bang was a minor official in the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C. – 206 B.C.). During the first year of the second generation of Qin Emperor (209 B.C.) when Chen Sheng and Wu Guang waged their uprisings in the township of Daze, Liu Bang gathered hundreds of people and slew the magistrate to echo the revolt. Liu Bang was affiliated to Xiang Liang. With Xiang Liang killed on the battlefield. Liu Bang and Xiang Yu carried on the revolt against Qin. Later, in order to compete for the political power against Xiang Yu, the King of Western Chu, Liu Bang waged a large-scale war known as the War of Chu and Han. After defeating Xiang Yu, Li Bang unified the country and established the Han Dynasty. He ascended to the throne as the emperor in 202 B.C., and established the capital in Chang’an (now Xi’an). After his ascension. Liu Bang successively eliminated the separates force of feudal kings and vassals with different surnames, consolidated the centralization of state power, established systems and institutions, and adopted an easygoing policy for recuperation in his governance. This not only appeased the people but also quickly restored production and furthered the development of the economy.
Liu Yuxi (772-842) was a famous literary writer and poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), known as the Poet Master, Liu Yuxi was a stout and resolute character with an air of straight forwardness and fieriness. His poems, whether long or short, were mostly simple and neat, tinged with the wisdom of a philosopher and the deep feelings of a poet. He was particularly famed for his historical poems, which are implicated with the poet’s deep emotions. Among them, Wuyi Lane stands out as his masterpiece, “Wild flowers growing by the Rosefinch Bridge, the sun setting low at the corner of Wuyi Lane; sparrows nestled at the Wang’s and the Xie’s mansions, now fly to the commoner’s houses.” The poem makes use of a metonymic approach to describe the rise and fall of noble families. The last couplet of the poem is recited repetitively through the ages.