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He Qia

He Qia
Minister of Ceremonies (太常)
In office
? (?) – ? (?)
MonarchCao Rui
Minister of the Household (光祿勳)
In office
220 (220) – 226 (226)
MonarchCao Pi
Prefect of the Gentlemen of the Palace
In office
219 (219) – 220 (220)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
ChancellorCao Cao
Personal details
Xiping County, Henan
DiedAfter 228[1]
  • He Li
  • He You
Courtesy nameYangshi (陽士)
Posthumous nameMarquis Jian (簡侯)
PeerageMarquis of Xiling District

He Qia (died after 228), courtesy name Yangshi, was a high-ranking official of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was known for his austere lifestyle.

Early life

He Qia was born in Xiping County (西平縣), Runan Commandery (汝南郡), Yu Province, which is present-day Xiping County, Henan. In the 190s, the warlord Yuan Shao sent ambassadors to Runan Commandery inviting the gentry and nobility to join his cause. Yu Province was an area of contention between Yuan Shao and his half-brother Yuan Shu, so He Qia feared staying, but he did not want to serve under a man such as Yuan Shao, whose ambition He Qia felt exceeded his capability.[2]

Instead, He Qia brought his family south to Jing Province to serve the provincial governor Liu Biao, whom He Qia considered to be a kind lord without higher ambition. Crossing the Yangtze river, he settled in at Wuling Commandery (武陵郡) in present-day Changde, Hunan.

Service under Cao Cao

In the late 190s, Cao Cao gained control over parts of Jing Province, and He Qia found employment in his administration.[2] In this early stage of his career, he spoke out against the elevation of officers based on their following an ascetic, deliberately impoverished lifestyle, and against seeing these men as more pure than officers who displayed their salary outwardly.[3]

In 213, after Emperor Xian enfeoffed Cao Cao as the Duke of Wei (魏公), He Qia served as a Palace Attendant (侍中)[4] in Cao Cao's dukedom. He unsuccessfully defended Mao Jie against rumours that Mao slandered Cao Cao. Correspondence on the matter between He Qia and Cao Cao has survived until the present-day and has been preserved in the Records of the Three Kingdoms.[5] Due to these rumours, Mao Jie was forced to commit suicide in 216.

Later career

He Qia received successive promotions under Cao Cao and Cao Pi, rising to the position of Minister of the Household (光祿勳), the most important personnel manager of the Wei court. Under Cao Rui, he was granted 200 taxable households in his marquisate as the Marquis of Xiling District (西陵鄉侯).

Late in life, He Qia reversed his position on asceticism and began living a greatly curtailed lifestyle. After he was promoted to the prestigious position of Minister of Ceremonies (太常)[1] under Cao Rui, he gave so freely of his salary that he was forced to liquidate his real estate in order to support himself.[1] Cao Rui granted him grain and silk so He Qia could avoid total insolvency. His modest lifestyle is reflected in his posthumous name, Marquis Jian (簡侯; literally "modest marquis").


  • He Li (和离), He Qia's elder son and successor
  • He You (和逌), He Qia's younger son, served as Minister of Justice (廷尉) and Secretary of Personnel (吏部尚書) in Wei
    • He Qiao (和嶠; died 292), He You's son, served as Junior Protector of the Crown Prince (太子少保) for Sima Yu of the Eastern Jin dynasty; son-in-law of Xiahou Xuan[1]
    • He Yu (和郁), He You's son, served as Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令) under the Eastern Jin dynasty[6]
      • He Ji (和濟), He Yu's son, served as a Palace Writer Attendant (中書郎) under the Eastern Jin dynasty[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.657
  2. ^ a b Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.655
  3. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.655-6
  4. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.656
  5. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.656-7
  6. ^ Records of the Three Kingdoms, 23.658
  7. ^ Book of Jin, 45.1284