CHP-111-The Wu State

Map of China during the Spring & Autumn Period.
Map of China during the Spring & Autumn Period.

This week we delve back into the mists of ancient times to look at the State of Wu from the Spring & Autumn Period.  Although they didn’t last long, the Wu State had a major impact on the development of the culture of the Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai  region.  There are a few Wu periods in Chinese history.  Today we will also try to sort them all out.

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Huiwang Gou Wu  回望勾吴  Looking back on Gou Wu

Yangzhou 扬州  Ancient city in South Jiangsu

Wu Guo 吴国  The State of Wu

Yangzi 扬子  The Yangtze River

Chang Jiang  长江  What Chinese call the Yangtze

Jiangnan  江南  “south of the Yangzi River”, general term for the culture in the upper reaches of the Yangzi.

Lake Tai  太湖  Lake in Suzhou

Wuxi  无锡  Ancient city next door to Suzhou

Suzhou  苏州  Ancient city in Jiangsu Province

Changzhou  常州  Ancient city in Jiangsu Province

Shaoxing  绍兴  Ancient city in north Zhejiang Province

Jiaxing  嘉兴  Ancient city in north Zhejiang Province

Yongle  永乐  The Yong Le Emperor of the Ming Dynasty

Zheng He  郑和  The great explorer and diplomat featured in CHP 92-93-94

Zhou Wu Wang  周武王  Ji Fa, King Wu of Zhou

Di Xin  帝辛  King Zhou of Shang

Zhengzhou  郑州  Ancient city in Henan

Luoyang  洛阳  One of China’s ancient capitals, located in Henan

Laozi   老子  Lao Tzu

Ji  姬  The surname of the Zhou Kings

Chu  楚  The State of Chu in Hubei

Jin  晋  The State of Jin (also Western Jin)

Qi  齐  The State of Qi in Shandong

Lu  鲁  The State of Lu in Shandong

Yue  越  The Yue people and Yue state

Liangzhu  良渚文化 Liangzhu Culture, a late neolithic culture in north Zhejiang

San Huang Wu Di  三皇五帝  The Three Sovereigns & Five Emperors

Wu Taibo  吴泰伯  Founder of the Wu State and the Wu 吴 Clan。

Zhou Tai Wang  周太王  Founder of the Zhou Clan during Shang Dynasty

Gugong Danfu 古公亶父  One of King Tai of Zhou’s other names

Ji Danfu  姬亶父  Another posthumous name for King Tai of Zhou

Zhongyong  仲雍  Younger brother of Taibo and second leader of Wu State

Ji Li  季历  Younger brother of Taibo and Zhongyong, father of King Wen of Zhou

Ji Chang   姬昌  King Wen of Zhou

Battle of Bì  邲之战  Battle in 597 BC between Chu and Jin where Chu scored a decisive victory.

Shi Ji  史记  The Records of the Grand Historian, written by Sima Qian

Shoumeng  寿梦 Wu King who put them on the military path that led to their downfall

Qufu  曲阜  Capital of Lu State and burial site of Confucius

Linzi  临淄  Capital of Qi State in Shandong

Zibo  淄博  Located in central Shandong, formerly Linzi

Qi Lu Liangguo 齐鲁两国  The States of Qi and Lu (name for east Shandong)

Wu Zixu  伍子胥  Influential minister during Wu State

King Ping  楚平王 Murderous Chu king.  Had Wu Zixu’s father and brother killed.

Wu She 伍奢  Father of Wu Zixu, killed by King Ping

Duke of Shen  Also called Wuchen, an emissary from Jin State who convinced Wu to attack Chu

Sun Wu  孙武  Also known as Sun Tzu

Sunzi Bingfa  孙子兵法  The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu

Prince Guang 公子光  The future King Helü of Wu

Zhuan Zhu  专诸 Famous Wu State assassin.  Killed King Liao of Wu

Ou Yezi  欧冶子 Legendary master sword maker from Spring & Autumn period

Yuchang  鱼肠剑  The sword made by Ou Yezi used by Zhuan Zhu to kill King Liao

Helü  阖闾  King of Wu State

Fugai  覆盖  Brother of King Helü

Battle of Boju  柏舉之战  The Battle of Boju in 506 BC where Wu defeated Chu

Ying  郢 Capital of Chu State, in present day Xichuan, Henan

Xichuan  西川 City in Henan, site of the ancient Chu capital Ying

Huai River   淮河  Major river in China

Han River  汉河  Major river in Hubei

Nang Wa  囊瓦  Chu State’s strongest general

Hanchuan  汉川  Site of three battles between the forces of Wu and Chu

Dabie Mountains  大别山  central China Mountain chain on Hubei-Henan border

Liu Bocheng  刘伯承  Great revolutionary and military man of the PRC and Deng ally

Fuchai  夫差  King of Wu, son of Helü

Ying Zheng  嬴政  Name of Qin king and China’s future unifying emperor Qin Shihuang

King Goujian  勾践王  King of Yue State

Han Gou  邗沟  The Han Canal, precursor of The Grand Canal

Guanwa Palace  馆娃宫  Palace built by Fuchai for Xi Shi

Xi Shi  西施  Legendary beauty who Fuchai was obsessed over.

Si da mei nü  四大美女  The Four Beauties of Ancient China

Wang Zhaojun  王昭君 Western Han beauty from Hubei married off to a Xiongnu king. Birds fell out of the sky when they saw her beauty.

Diaochan  貂蝉  One of the fabled beauties of ancient times, from the Three Kingdoms period. Her beauty eclipsed the moon.

Yang Guifei  杨贵妃  Tang Dynasty zaftig beauty and tragic lover of Emperor Xuanzong.  Many blame the Tang’s fall on her wiles.

Xu Men   胥门  Gate in the ancient walled city of Suzhou

Jingzhou  荆州  City in Hubei  close to the ancient Chu capital of Ying

Hubei Sheng Bowuguan  湖北省博物馆  The Hubei Provincial Museum

Cao Cao  曹操  Controlled the State of Wei in the north during the Three Kingdoms Period

Qian  钱  Surname of the clan who controlled the Wuyue State

Zhuang Zedong  庄则栋  PRC Table tennis great who played a major role in ping pong diplomacy



  • I’ve finally caught up. I started listening after ep.86 was released. Finding your podcast was great as I’ve been slowly trying to learn more about east Asia but I couldn’t find any podcasts on this subject before this one. Thanks for all the great work.

  • Been following since 2010, and love the podcast. All your material and sources are an inspiration for me to learn mandarin.
    I know its hard to make the show notes, but they are so helpful when i research after I listen and while I listen. It really helps remember them better. So i really appreciate them.
    Thanks for your great work.

  • I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your website. It appears as if some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen
    previously. Cheers

    • I haven’t noticed anything nor have I gotten any comments about this problem. Please let me know if this problem exists and I’ll do what I can to fix it.

  • I am staying at Yue teritory at this moment, and also interested in history very much. It is first time listen to your podcast, very interesting, shall waiting for your w/script version, will be easier for most of Chinese. As Yue people, I have to say Yue State or Yue people was not Bai Yue, not a part of Bai Yue, BaiYue was a nationality, one of minorities of ancient China, they lived at LingNan and south (Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan), during the long history of China, Han people moved to south, and Bai Yue was pushed into jungles like Hainan and Vietnam, Jing people (京) in Vietnam, and Li people (黎) at Hainan was from ancient BaiYue people. But people lived in Yue State is Han.

  • Instead of “Chang Jiang – What the Chinese call the Yangtze,” it should go, “Yangtze He – What the Foreigner call the Chang Jiang.”

    • I don’t know Ying…I have checked with a few people and they all say the same thing. 黄河 is a 河 because it is windy and doesn’t flow straight like the 长江. A 江 flows straight and a 河 winds around. Frankly I have trouble between 路,道, 街,巷,大道。I’ll keep asking around. 扬子河或扬子江.

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