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Yan Xiang (Han dynasty)

Yan Xiang
Inspector of Yang Province (揚州刺史)
In office
199 (199) – 200 (200)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
Succeeded byLiu Fu
Personal details
Xi'an, Shaanxi
Died200 (aged 37)
Courtesy nameWenze (文則)

Yan Xiang (嚴象; 163–200), courtesy name Wenze, was an official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. A similarly named Yan Xiang (閻象) also served under the warlord Yuan Shu as a registrar. Although it is not clear whether they were the same person, the historian Rafe de Crespigny mentioned that it could be assumed that Yan Xiang left Yuan Shu and defected to the Han central government, which was then under the leadership of the warlord Cao Cao.[1]

Yan Xiang (嚴象)

Yan Xiang was from Jingzhao (京兆; around present-day Xi'an, Shaanxi). At a young age, he was already known for being intelligent, knowledgeable and courageous. Through Xun Yu's recommendation,[2][3] he joined the civil service and served as a Palace Assistant Imperial Clerk (御史中丞). In 197,[4] he was concurrently appointed as an Army Inspector (督軍) and participated in a punitive campaign against the warlord Yuan Shu, who had declared himself emperor – an act regarded as treason against Emperor Xian, the nominal ruler of the Han Empire. After Yuan Shu's death in 199,[5] Yan Xiang served as the Inspector (刺史) of Yang Province.[6]

Acting on the instruction of Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the Han central government, Yan Xiang nominated Sun Quan as a maocai (茂才).[1] In 200 CE, Li Shu (李術), the Administrator (太守) of Lujiang Commandery (廬江郡), killed Yan Xiang. Yan Xiang was 38 years old (by East Asian age reckoning) when he died. Zhao Qi (趙岐), a writer who, like Yan Xiang, was also from Jingzhao, wrote a book called Sanfu Juelu (三輔決錄). Zhao Qi was worried that people might not be receptive to his book so he did not publicly release it and instead showed it to only Yan Xiang.[7]

Yan Xiang (閻象)

A similarly named Yan Xiang also served under Yuan Shu as a Registrar (主簿). When Yuan Shu wanted to declare himself emperor in the late 190s, Yan Xiang advised him against it. Yan Xiang quoted a past example of the noble Ji Chang, who controlled two-thirds of the Shang dynasty's territory but still refrained from seizing the throne from King Zhou. Yuan Shu did not heed his advice.[8][9]

See also


  1. ^ a b de Crespigny (2007), p. 939.
  2. ^ (太祖以彧為知人,諸所進達皆稱職,唯嚴象為楊州,韋康為涼州,後敗亡。) Sanguozhi vol. 10.
  3. ^ (彧又進操計謀之士從子攸,及鍾繇、郭嘉、陳羣、杜襲、司馬懿、戲志才等,皆稱其舉。唯嚴象為楊州,韋康為涼州,後並負敗焉。) Houhanshu vol. 70.
  4. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 62.
  5. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 63.
  6. ^ (三輔決錄曰:象字文則,京兆人。少聦博,有膽智。以督軍御史中丞詣揚州討袁術,會術病卒,因以為揚州刺史。) Sanfu Juelu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 10.
  7. ^ (建安五年,為孫策廬江太守李術所殺,時年三十八。象同郡趙岐作三輔決錄,恐時人不盡其意,故隱其書,唯以示象。) Sanfu Juelu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 10.
  8. ^ (主簿閻象進曰:「昔周自后稷至于文王,積德累功,參分天下有其二,猶服事殷。明公雖弈世克昌,未若有周之盛,漢室雖微,未若殷紂之暴也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 6.
  9. ^ de Crespigny (2007), pp. 939–940.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0.
  • Fan, Ye (5th century). Book of the Later Han (Houhanshu).
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.