Bi Gan

Bi Gan (about 1110-1047 B.C.) was a native of Muye (present-day Weihui, Henan Province), who was also known as Prince Bi Gan because he was enfeoffed in the land of Bi, and was the concubine son of King Wen Ding of Shang.

He was an intelligent and diligent scholar at an early age. He was given the title of young master and assisted King Di Yi of the Shang Dynasty. He was entrusted with the important task of assisting King Di Xin of the Shang Dynasty, and served the king through two dynasties. For more than 40 years, he advocated the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, smelting and casting, and the enrichment of the country and the strengthening of the army, and became an “ancient loyal minister”. In the twenty-ninth year of Emperor Xin (1047 B.C.), he died at the age of 64. During the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty, he was posthumously awarded the posthumous title of “Taishishu”.


He was the son of Wen Ding, the son of Shang’s son of Heaven, the brother of Di Yi, and the uncle of Di Xin (King Zhou).

Hunan TV collated the in-depth study of the Xia-Shang-Zhou period of the project, found that the death of Bigan and the historical records of the evidence of discrepancies gradually increased, some existing inscriptions in the temple of Bigan, showing that he died more than ten years later than King Zhou, it is impossible to be killed by King Zhou, although it can not be said to be ironclad evidence, but has constituted a doubt, and the so-called Bigan died because of advice to cut the heart is to the Spring and Autumn period before the record, has been a long way off, and many documents show that As history evolves, King Zhou’s record becomes more and more brutal, and the more new episodes are added, the possibility of scandalization by later generations cannot be ruled out. In the Warring States period, there was also the claim that Qu Yuan was in fact Bi Gan who threw himself into the water and died.

The modern historian Gu Jie Gang has also examined and put forward a theory that Bi Gan is the uncle of King Zhou, and at the same time is the uncle of King Wu of Zhou, this special identity makes him in the war between the two sides of the Shang and Zhou acted as a mediator role, however, the final mediation failed and both sides started a war and Bi Gan died in the chaos, King Wu of Zhou can only hastily buried the body first in the battlefield, and only after the war to destroy the Shang dynasty rebuilt the tomb, which also conforms to and explains the post-war King Wu of Zhou This is also consistent with and explains the chronicle of the tomb of Bigan after the war.

Anecdotes and allusions

About the death of Bigan

Bikan’s bust

In the early Shang dynasty, the succession system was the death of the first son, but after Pan Geng moved to Yin, it was changed to the succession system of the first son after the death of the father, and Bigan, Weizi, and Minzi were not entitled to succession because they were born to concubines. During the time of Di Xin, the country’s territory expanded rapidly and the unity of the newly incorporated people was consolidated. Later, Di Xin decided to attack a large country of Xu Yi and defeated Xu Yi after several years of war, but the domestic military power was seriously weakened. The young master, Bigan, advised him to rest and recuperate, and then to launch another expedition, but Di Xin did not listen. When Zhou revolted, Di Xin was furious at the news and wanted to take the captives of the eastern barbarians in Chao Ge to invade Zhou. But Bigan held on to Chao Ge to wait for the king’s division to return to the east. Di Xin refused to accept it, and executed Bigan for the crime of slowing down the army. When Di Xin invaded Zhou, the Shang and Zhou armies confronted each other at Muye. The Shang army was defeated because the captives they had taken turned against them, and Di Xin burned himself to death in the star-gazing tower. The Zhou people admired Bi Gan for his loyalty to the state and his moral integrity. Therefore, the Zhou people vigorously promoted the spirit of Bi Gan for the state and posthumously named him the god of the state, and also gave his son Jian Jian the surname of Lin and assigned him territories. Bi Gan’s wife Gui’s just three months after pregnancy, fear of disaster to the body, fled Chao Ge, in Changlin (now Weihui City, Henan Province, Shi Bao Tou Township, Long Wol Village) in the stone room and the birth of a male, named Quan (Lin surname ancestor).

King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty, the world was settled, looking around for the descendants of Bigan, learned that his orphans were born in Changlin, so because of the forest and the name of the clan, given Lin surname, changed his name to Jian, and sealed him in Bo Ling (now Anping County, Hebei Province), Bigan is the great ancestor of the Lin family. And nowadays, the descendants of the Lin surname are in various fields with extraordinary achievements. King Wu of Zhou sealed Bigan monopoly and made him the god of the country. Give Lin surname; Wei Xiaowen Emperor Yuan Hong set up temples; Tang Emperor Taizong edict posthumous “loyalty and martyrdom”, “Tai Shi”; Song Emperor Renzong for the “Lin family tree” inscription poem, Yuan Emperor Renzong for the Bi Gan monument statue, Qing Emperor Gaozong inscription poem, Qing Emperor Xuanzong restoration Bi Gan temple main hall, etc., in addition, there are In addition, there are also the Bikan Ridge and Bikan Tomb (Yin Bikan Tomb). King Wen of Zhou took Fuxi’s trigrams and further developed them into 64 trigrams, making them the first of the six scriptures and completing the Zhou Yi. After the death of Bi Gan, King Wen of the Zhou Dynasty, the “Yi system”: Bi Gan “is therefore the virtue of the yarrow, the country and the gods”.

King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty overcame the Shang Dynasty, destroyed the Yin Shang Dynasty, seized national power, and established the Western Zhou Dynasty. After the destruction of the Shang Dynasty, King Wu adopted many political policies and measures to consolidate the new regime, and adopted a divide and rule approach to pacify the remnants of the Shang Dynasty. He ordered to release the people imprisoned by King Zhou, repaired the tomb of the wise minister of Shang Dynasty, named Bi Gan as the god of the country, and ordered that he could be promoted only after 3,000 years, and sent MA-MA to set up a bronze plate inscription. He released the wise minister Minzi and restored him to his original position. Confucius said that the gain and loss of the Zhou and Yin rites can be known. It can be seen that the comparison between ancient and modern is a fact. King Wu of Zhou sealed Bi Gan leaving a bronze plate inscription: sealed Prince Xuan Yuan Bi Gan monopoly, up to report to the gods of heaven, down to report to the gods of earth. Chinese people a thousand years order: “Qi Feng Shen Yu, thunder and lightning shine today; for Gan Shi Zhong, prudent for looking forward to.” The order for the ancestral sacrifice, the dynasty to sacrifice. It was also ordered to prohibit prudent viewing of the legacy.

Later generations sacrifice

In Weihui City, Henan Province, there is the temple of Bigan, where there are more than one hundred tablets such as the remains of the sword engraving tablet of Confucius and the tablet of “Hanging Bigan” by Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. It was established in 494.

According to “Qi County Records”, there is a ‘Sanren Temple’ in Qi County, Henan Province, dedicated to Bigan, Minzi and Weizi, with ancestors Confucius, Mencius, Zengzi, Yangmingzi and Wenchangjun. The temple was also attached to a school, and the villagers worshipped incense, but it was destroyed in a conflagration during the Taiping Army.


Confucius said, “There were three benevolent people in Yin: Weizi went there, Kezi was a slave to him, and Bigan advised and died”.

Literary Works

Illustration of The Legend of the Gods

A character in the masterpiece of the famous writer Lu Changgeng (or Xu Zhonglin) of the Ming Dynasty, “The Legend of the Gods”. He had a rare heart with seven holes. Later, the loyal servant Bi Gan, who advised King Zhou directly, sinned against him and Daji.

He said to King Zhou: “If you don’t fix the laws of the previous king, but use women’s words, you will be in trouble! He said to King Zhou, “If you don’t fix the laws of the previous king, but use the words of a woman, you will be in trouble!

Due to the protection of Jiang Ziya’s magic, he could protect his internal organs after taking the divine talisman, and he was still alive after his heart was cut out; however, if he met someone selling hollow vegetables on the road after his heart was cut out, the loyal minister Bigan had to ask, “What if the person has no heart?” If the vegetable vendor answered “if he has no heart, he will still live”, then Bigan will be safe from death; if the vegetable vendor answered “if he has no heart, he will die”, then he will die immediately.

As a result, when he was on his way to escape, he heard a female vegetable vendor say “a man without a heart is dead”, and he died at once.

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