Jiang Ziya Was Discovered Angling by Baron of Zhou by the Wei River

姜太公渭滨垂钓

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When the Baron of the Zhou vassal state (周西伯) did a divination with oracle bones for his imminent hunting trip, the message came: ‘You will not catch a small bear or a large bear, but a teacher will be presented to you by the divine power.’ After bathing and fasting for three days, the baron arrived at the River Wei, he saw an elderly man sitting on a grassy mat with a fishing rod beside him at the bank. The baron respectfully bowed to him and politely asked him to be his mentor. He invited the man to sit in his vehicle on the way back to the capital. This elderly man was Jiang Ziya (姜子牙), the famous sage strategist in ancient China. Later, when the baron passed away, his son, who posthumously bestowed his father the title of King Wen (文王), called himself King Wu (武王). With the able assistance of Jiang, who was then respectfully called Jiang Taigong (姜太公), King Wu launched a military campaign to overthrow the ruling Shang house (商, ca. 1600 BCE-1046 BCE) and established the new Zhou dynasty (1046 BCE-256 BCE), which lasted about eight hundred years.

Here is another story about Jiang Ziya on his assistance to King Wu in launching a military campaign to overthrow the Shang house. Dr Yibin Ni also wrote an article on the identification of Jiang’s famous yet mysterious ride.

References:

  1. 倪亦斌:《子牙垂钓遇文王 明君得辅破殷商》,《读者欣赏》,兰州:读者出版传媒股份有限公司,2016-05,58-63 页
  2. Jeffrey P. Stamen and Cynthia Volk with Yibin Ni (2017), A Culture Revealed: Kangxi-Era Chinese Porcelain from the Jie Rui Tang Collection 文采卓然:潔蕊堂藏康熙盛世瓷, Jieruitang Publishing, Bruges, pp. 92-93.
Acknowledgement:

Fig 1: lidded porcelain jar, Chongzhen period (1628-44), Ming dynasty, courtesy of the Sir Michael Butler Collection

Fig 2-5: brush pot, Chongzhen period (1628-44), Ming dynasty, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Fig 6-7: porcelain vase, Shunzhi period (1644-61), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

Fig 8-9: famille verte dish, Kangxi period (1662-1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the Jie Rui Tang Collection

Fig 10-11: porcelain vase, mid 17th– early 18th century, courtesy of Freer Gallery of Art

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