Top 10 Major Chinese Surnames – Wang (2)
At present, Wang ranks second among Chinese surnames in terms of population size.
The surname of Wang was first populated in Shanxi, Shandong, Henan and other regions. Due to the ongoing war at the end of the Western Jin Dynasty (265-317), the Wang clansmen began south-bound mass migrations and spread across regions including Hubei, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. During the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Wangs were also among the major migration clans in the Great Migration of the Great Pagoda Tree of Hongtong in Shanxi, and mostly relocated in Henan, Hebei, Shandong, Zhejiang, and Gansu provinces, Nowadays, the Wang population is located mainly in Henan, Sichuan, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.
Origin of Wang
There are three main origins for the surname of Wang. The first is from the surname of Zi. the second is from the surname of Ji, and the third is either a conferred surname or a changed surname.
Originating from the surname of Zi: In the late Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C. ) when King Zhou ruled with tyranny and fatuity, the people had no means to live. Bigan, King Zhou’s uncle, and the prime minister, risked his own life by remonstrating and ended up being executed and had his heart ripped out by King Zhou. Bigan, surnamed Zi, the descendant of the Shang ancestor Zi Qi, was himself a prince (Wangzi) of the Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C.). In order to commemorate him, his children and grandchildren then took on the surname Wang (prince).
Originating from the surname of Ji: During the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770 B.C.-256 B.C.), the two rivers, River Gu and River Luo, which flowed through Luoyi, the imperial city (currently Luoyang, Henan Province), often caused flooding. Prince Ji Jin remonstrated and advocated to make the best of the circumstances to improve water management.He was instead stripped of his title by King Ling of Zhou in the name of disobedience, and thus became a commoner. Ji Jin relocated his entire family from the capital of Luoyi to Langya in Shandong (currently Linyi of Shandong Province). Later, his son assumed a local position as the minister of personnel (Situ). Witnessing the decline of the imperial family of the Zhou Dynasty, he resigned from his post and led a hermit life in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Since he came from the king’s family, many local people called them the Wang’s (king) Family.Thence on, Ji Jin’s offspring took on the surname of Wang.
Conferred or changed surname: Dan, surnamed Ji, was the prince of the State Yan during the Warring States Period (475 B.C.-221 B.C.). He was killed after his assassin, Jing Ke, failed the assassination targeting the king of the State Qin, Ying Zheng, By the time of the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-25 A.D.) when Wang Mang, a maternal relative of the emperor, usurped the throne and established the Xin Dynasty (9-23), he conferred his own surname on Dan’s great-great-grandson, Jia. At the same time, he also gave his surname Wang to 32 followers surnamed Liu for their assistance in usurping the throne of the Han Dynasty.
In addition to the change of surname of the Han people, some ethnic minorities also changed their surnames to the ones of Han people in an effort to integrate with the Han’s culture. Wang was a typical one, which was mostly adopted by ethnic minorities included the Huns in the Han Dynasty and the Khitan Tribe of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
Famous Personages Surnamed Wang
Wang Xizhi (303-361), with the courtesy name of Yishao, was also known as Wang Youjun for his position as the general of the right army. He was a celebrated calligrapher in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), and enjoyed the reputable title of Sage of Calligraphy. In his childhood. Wang Xizhi studied calligraphy under calligrapher Wei Shuo. Later, he learned the cursive script from calligrapher Zhang Zhi, and the regular script (i.e. regular script in small characters) from calligrapher Zhong Yao. Wang Xizhi’s skills were mainly seen in regular, running and cursive scripts with his unique rounded and fluent calligraphy style. His major works include Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion and the calligraphy model Clear Day After Brief Snow written in running script, In the First Month in cursive script, as well as Yellow Court Classic and On Yue Yi in regular script.
Wang Zhaojun, given name Qiang, title name Zhaojun, was a maid in the imperial court during the time of Emperor Yuan of the Han Dynasty. Despite being in the palace for many years, she never met Emperor Yuan of Han and was totally neglected. At the time, the conflict between the Han Dynasty and the northern Huns Tribe occurred so frequently that the borders never saw peace. In 33 B.C., the Huns leader, Huhanye Chanyu, took the initiative to request a marriage for peace in submission to the Han Dynasty. Wang Zhaojun accepted the task of marriage, and was escorted by the Hun’s peacemaking team to travel north to the tribe. It is known in history as Zhaojun’s Departure from the Frontier. When she arrived at the territory of the Huns, Wang Zhaojun was greatly welcomed by the local people, and was later dubbed by Huhanye Chanyu as the Ninghu Yanzhi (Yanzhi means the wife to the king).