Daji (date of birth and death unknown), surnamed Daji, the name of Daji, a woman of the Yousu tribe, was a native of the State of Wen (present-day Wen County, Jiaozuo City, Henan Province). Legend has it that Daji was a beauty. According to Zuo Zhuan, King Zhou of Shang launched an army to attack the You Su tribe. The Arisu tribe could not resist the powerful Shang army’s attack. Given the choice between extinction and bending the knee, the leader of the Arisu tribe chose to bend the knee and offered up cattle, sheep, horses and the beautiful Daji. The Century of Emperors records that Daji was taken as his wife in the second year of the reign of Emperor Xin.

Daji’s portrait


There is no record of Daji in any of the oracle bone divinations found. In the Shang dynasty, women were more powerful than men, so the fact that Daji could participate in politics with her concubines was not criticized. The rebuke of Daji as “interfering in politics” and “a woman who is a woman” is a value that was used after the Zhou Dynasty to oppose women’s participation in politics. These signs clearly show that male power began to block women’s participation in social activities and deprive them of their power and freedom in order to consolidate the absolute position of male power. Daji’s image was only gradually enriched beginning with the Historical Records, so it is likely that her exploits were falsely attributed to later generations.

According to the Guoyu and the Records of the Grand Historian, Daji was the daughter of a vassal of the Aisu clan, who married her as a concubine after the conquest of the Aisu clan by Di Xin and made her his queen. Daji’s beauty was so great that she was not able to take care of the imperial government, and she was so obedient to her that she was “valued by Daji’s reputation, but killed by Daji’s hatred”.

According to the official history, Daji gained the exclusive favor of Dixin with her beauty and regarded her as the culprit of the downfall of the Shang dynasty. Dixin not only took Daji’s favor, but also made “new obscene sounds, northern dances, and decadent music”, and collected money from the people to build a deer platform filled with exotic treasures. At the same time, “the accumulation of dregs for the Qiu, flowing wine for the pool, hanging meat for the forest, so that the naked form of the people to run in between”, all night long drink, playful until the day. The wine pond and meat forest was created by Di Xin to make her happy, and every time there were as many as 3,000 people at the banquet, men and women were made to chase each other naked.

The minister Bigan advised Di Xin in front of him, “If you don’t fix the rules and regulations of Mr., but use women’s words, you will be in trouble for a long time.” She encouraged Di Xin and cruelly cut his heart to death.

Di Xin’s cruelty and injustice caused the people to revolt. King Wu of Zhou took the opportunity to launch an expedition against the Zhou lords and destroyed the Shang Dynasty in one fell swoop at the Battle of Muye, where Daji was captured and taken to the execution ground to be beheaded.

In the Shang Shu – Maknao Oath, King Wu of Zhou only listed four sins of Di Xin, namely listening to women, not taking sacrifices seriously, not reusing relatives, and appointing fugitives as officials, however, “listening to women”, “not reusing relatives” and However, “listening to women”, “not relying on relatives” and “appointing fugitives as officials” were not uncommon in Shang dynasty society. During the Shang dynasty, women had a high status and could own fiefdoms and serve as auxiliary ministers or generals; during the Western Zhou dynasty, women’s status declined significantly and they were not only unable to own fiefdoms, but also unable to participate in state affairs. The story of “King Zhou of Shang and Sudaji lost their kingdom through prostitution” actually reflects the history of gender equality among the Yin people. The Shang dynasty did not attach much importance to family status, and not many members of the royal family were given privileges; slaves and serfs from other countries escaped to the Shang state and were freed, and some of the wise and capable were even appointed as officials; there are many names such as “x” in the oracle bones of the Yin ruins, most of whom were people of humble origin; and the Western Zhou dynasty had an absolute system of hereditary officials. In the Western Zhou Dynasty, there was an absolute system of officialdom and nepotism, which led to the accusation that Di Xin “left his parents and brothers unused, and that he was a long-time fugitive from many crimes in all directions. The archaeology of the Yin ruins shows that human sacrifice and human slaughter were rare at the end of the Shang dynasty, and not even as serious as in the middle and early Western Zhou. From the various artifacts, it is not clear that Di Xin committed too many atrocities. In the early years of the Western Zhou, the only sins of Emperor Xin that were proclaimed were alcoholism and the belief that he had a life in heaven, in addition to the four sins in the Shang Shu – Pastoral Oath. Later, the rulers of the Western Zhou Dynasty and the traitors of the Shang Dynasty continued to accuse Di Xin and created the character “Zhou”. The sons of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, not knowing the truth of history, added many new crimes to King Zhou, such as cannibalism, chopping people into meat paste, and cutting the fetuses of pregnant women, in order to preach to the world that “evil has its retribution”. Rulers after the Han Dynasty continued to promote King Zhou as a negative figure. King Zhou’s “obscenity and brutality” was actually the result of a thousand years of destruction.

Character testimony

The various accounts and legends of Daji were already household names and deeply rooted in people’s minds until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when archaeologists unearthed many relics from the Yin Shang period in Xiaotun Village, Anyang City, Henan Province, including jade, bronze, and other implements, and especially the large number of texts and “divination texts” carved on turtle nails and animal bones. This has enabled us to know more about the historical situation before the Zhou Dynasty than Confucius and Sima Qian had access to at the time, and to have a closer assessment of the real face of Daji and the Shang king Dixin. The name “King Zhou” was not his real emperor’s name, but a posthumous name added to him by later generations, meaning “to destroy justice and goodness”. The most inexplicable person would not be so ash to his own face, his correct name should be “Di Xin”.

Di Xin was fierce and self-absorbed. He was a fierce man, strong and powerful, able to fight with his hands, a brave man, and he could speak well, and he was also a good musician, and he was headstrong and self-absorbed. At the time of King Wen Ding of Shang Dynasty, Ji Li was appointed as “priest” and became the king of Xi Bo. Since then, the seeds of hatred were sown between the Zhou tribe to which Ji Li belonged and the Shang Dynasty. After Ji Li’s death, his son Ji Chang succeeded to the throne and practiced benevolent rule, the country became more and more powerful, and the nearby tribes were very convinced and were scorned by the Shang Dynasty.

At that time, his eldest son, Bo Yi Kao, was a hostage of the Shang Dynasty and served as a driver for Di Xin. When he was angered by Emperor Xin, he cooked Bo Yi Kao and gave him to Ji Chang as a meat soup. He was imprisoned in the prison for two years, but he was released only after the Zhou tribesmen rescued him and paid bribes to Emperor Xin, thus deepening the hatred between the Zhou tribes and the Shang Dynasty.

In the following days, Di Xin’s ministers seemed to be deliberately managing the vast area in the southeast, while ignoring the Zhou clan in the two norths. The capital of the Zhou people was moved from Qidi (now Qishan County, Shaanxi) to Fengyi (now Huxian County, Shaanxi) in Weinan, and the country was rapidly becoming stronger. While the Shang king continued to carry out reforms at this time, the nobles centrifuged from the Shang king and some lords began to betray him. In 1056 BC, King Wen of Zhou, Ji Chang, died and was succeeded by his second son, Ji Fa, who took Jiang Ziya as his tutor, the Duke of Zhou as his tutor, and a group of Zhaogong and Bi Gong to assist King Wu, following the legacy of King Wen, hiding their light and encouraging their rule. Emperor Xin killed Wang Shu Bi Gan and imprisoned Wang Shu Ke Zi, and Tai Shi Fault and Shao Shi went to Zhou with their musical instruments. At this time, King Wu Ji Fa realized that the time to attack the Shang was coming, so he watched the soldiers in Mengjin to test the Shang army and announced the ten sins of Di Xin, so he united all the lords of the world and marched into Chao Ge with a tangent formation and a proper banner. Di Xin led an army of 170,000 slaves to turn back King Wu of Zhou’s allied army at Muye (present-day Ji County, Henan Province), 40 miles away from Chaoge. The army of slaves suddenly mutinied overnight and collapsed. The Zhou army drove straight into the city of Chaoge without much effort. Di Xin retreated into the city, mounted the Deer Terrace, put on his precious jade, and burned himself to death. (Some scholars believe that Dixin was killed by King Wu of Zhou in the midst of the chaotic army, and self-immolation and beheading contradict each other.) After Dixin’s death, King Wu of Zhou symbolically chopped off his head with a yellow battle-axe, and Daji was also killed.

The crime in history

Shang Di Xin

According to the Ming dynasty novel “The Legend of the Gods”, Daji was possessed by a fox spirit for a thousand years, and was ordered by Nuwa to wreak havoc on Yin Shang, which is why King Zhou became so monstrous and did all those cruel things. The poem says: “The daughter of the vassal is a woman of grace, embroidered with jade and gold silk. She was as delicate as a fairy in the ninth heaven, but she was actually the fox of the fallen kingdom of the Yin dynasty. The bones are molten by the cannon, and the soul is poisoned by an insect bowl. The phoenix is heard in Qishan, and the star-picking deer platform is returned to the earth.

Of course, this is a fictional story, which is not credible, but it shows the political situation at the end of the Shang Dynasty. According to the Jin dynasty, “When Yin Xin invaded You Su, the latter took Daji’s daughter.” This means that Daji was a “trophy” from King Zhou’s victorious campaign. History of the Daji family is a snake totem, black face, Kun Wu offspring, have Su’s surname, Su is the grass, the hexagon (hexagonal) is the snake, meaning the grass to scare the snake.

Later creation

Literary works

Daji is a character in the Ming Dynasty novel “Feng Shen Yan Yi”. In the book, Daji, surnamed Su, the daughter of Su Gu, is possessed by the Nine-tailed Fox, the first of the three demons in the Xuan Yuan tomb, on her way to the palace of Emperor Xin. The nine-tailed fox was ordered by Nuwa to bewitch Daji and bring about the downfall of the Shang Dynasty. But later, she lusted for earthly glory and power, so she made Di Xin commit many cruel acts.

Once in a severe winter, Di Xin and Daji saw some people crossing the river, among them the old man was not afraid of the cold, but the young man was afraid of the cold, so Di Xin asked Daji what was going on, and Daji said that if the river parents had a child when they were young, the child would be born with sufficient qi veins and the pith would be full of their shins, but if they had a child when they were old, the child would be born with weak qi veins and the pith would not be full of their shins, so they would be cold and afraid of the cold before they reached middle age. When Daji didn’t believe him, he asked him to cut off their shins to see.

Another time, Daji saw a woman pregnant and said she could tell the difference between a man and a woman, but Dixin did not believe her, so they bet that Dixin said it was a man and Daji said it was a woman. Later, although Daji succeeded in bringing about the downfall of the Shang Dynasty, Nuwa thought she had done too much evil and gave her to Jiang Ziya, who eventually beheaded her.

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