Nine bestowments


Nine bestowments

The nine bestowments (Chinese: 九錫; pinyin: jǐu xī; literally "nine tin") were awards given by Chinese emperors to extraordinary officials, ostensibly to reward them for their accomplishments. (The reason why the character 錫 (pronounced in modern Mandarin and meaning "tin") is used, rather than the expected 賜 (, meaning "bestowment"), is because the two characters were interchangeable during times when the ceremonies were first established in the Classic of Rites, and it is not clear whether in modern Mandarin 九錫 should be pronounced jiǔxī or jiǔcì.) While the nature of the bestowments was probably established during the Zhou Dynasty, there was no record of anyone receiving them until Wang Mang. Thereafter, the nine bestowments became typically a sign of a powerful official showing off his complete control of the emperor and establishing his intent to usurp the throne. For the rest of Chinese history, it became rare for an usurpation to happen without the nine bestowments having been given sometime before, and just as rare for the nine bestowments to be given without an usurpation happening. (However, an example of the latter was Cao Pi giving Sun Quan the nine bestowments in 221 when Sun was briefly a Cao Wei vassal.)

The nine bestowments and their meanings, according to the Classic of Rites:

  1. Gift of a wagon and horses: when the official is appropriate in his modesty and walking in an appropriate manner, so that he does not need to walk any more.
  2. Gift of clothes: when the official writes well and appropriately, to show his good deeds.
  3. Gift of armed guards: when the official is brave and willing to speak the truth, so that he can be protected.
  4. Gift of written music: when the official has love in his heart, so that he can teach the music to his people.
  5. Gift of a ramp: when the official is appropriate in his acts, so that he can walk on the ramp and maintain his strength.
  6. Gift of a red door: when the official maintains his household well, so that his household can be shown to be different.
  7. Gift of arms, bow, and arrows: when the official has good conscience and follows what is right, so that he can represent the central government to stamp out treason.
  8. Gift of an axe: when the official is strong, wise, and loyal to the imperial household, so that he can execute the wicked.
  9. Gift of wine: when the official is filially pious, so that he can sacrifice the wine to his ancestors.

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nine familial exterminations — The nine familial exterminations or nine kinship exterminations (simplified Chinese: 株连九族; traditional Chinese: 株連九族; pinyin: zhū lián jiǔ zú; literally continuous elimination of nine of the family/tribe ; also known as zú zhū (族誅), literally… …   Wikipedia

  • Emperor Hui of Jin — Emperor Hui of Jin, sim. ch. 晋惠帝, trad. ch. 晉惠帝, py. jìn huì dì, wg. Chin Hui ti (259 poisoned January 8, 307), personal name Sima Zhong (司馬衷), courtesy name Zhengdu (正度), was the second emperor of the Jin Dynasty (265 420). Emperor Hui was a… …   Wikipedia

  • Emperor An of Jin — (Simplified Chinese character: 晋安帝, Traditional Chinese character: 晉安帝, Pinyin Jìn Āndì, Wade Giles Chin An ti) (382 419), personal name Sima Dezong (司馬德宗), was an emperor of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (265 420) in China. He was described as so… …   Wikipedia

  • Sima Zhao — Three Kingdoms infobox Name=Sima Zhao imagesize=200px Caption=Sima Zhao at right, Qing Dynasty illustration. Title=Regent Kingdom=Cao Wei Born=211 Died=265 Predecessor= Successor= Simp=司马昭 Trad=司馬昭 Pinyin=Sīmǎ Zhāo WG=Szŭma Chao Zi=Zishang (子尚)… …   Wikipedia

  • Sun Quan — Three Kingdoms infobox Name=Sun Quan Caption= Portrait of Sun Quan by an unknown artist. Title= Founder and Emperor Kingdom=Eastern Wu Born=182 Died=252 (aged 70) Predecessor=Sun Ce Successor=Sun Liang Simp=孙权 Trad=孫權 Pinyin=Sūn Quán WG=Sun Chuan …   Wikipedia

  • Sima Jiong — (司馬冏) (d. 302), courtesy name Jingzhi (景治), formally Prince Wumin of Qi (齊武閔王), was an Jin Dynasty (265 420) imperial prince who briefly served as Emperor Hui s regent after overthrowing the usurper Sima Lun in 301. He was the fourth of the eight …   Wikipedia

  • Sima Ying — (司馬穎) (279 306), courtesy name Zhangdu (章度), was a Jin Dynasty (265 420) imperial prince who served briefly as his brother Emperor Hui s regent and crown prince. He was the sixth of eight princes commonly associated with the War of the Eight… …   Wikipedia

  • Emperor Ping of Han — Han Pingdi (漢平帝) Family name: Liu (劉 liú) Given name: Kan (衎 py. kàn), né Jizi (箕子, py. Jīzǐ) (changed in 2) Posthumous name: (full) Xiaoping (孝平, xiào píng) filial and peaceful …   Wikipedia

  • Wang Mang — Infobox Monarch name = Wang Mang reign = 9 23 date of birth = 45 BC date of death = October 6, 23 (aged 68) dynasty = Xin Dynasty predecessor = Emperor Ruzi (Han) successor = Emperor Gengshi (Han) spouse = Empress Wang Empress Shi children = 6… …   Wikipedia

  • Cao Mao — Emperor of Cao Wei Born 241 Died 260 (aged 19) Predecessor Cao Fang Successor Cao Huan …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.