Wang Mang

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Wang Mang

(wäng mäng), 45 B.C.–A.D. 23, Chinese HanHan
, dynasty of China that ruled from 202 B.C. to A.D. 220. Liu Pang, the first Han emperor, had been a farmer, minor village official, and guerrilla fighter under the Ch'in dynasty.
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 dynasty regent who usurped the throne and ruled (A.D. 8–23) as emperor of the Hsin [new] court, carrying out many reforms. Although he portrayed his government as a revival of the idealized state of early ChouChou
, dynasty of China, which ruled from c.1027 B.C. to 256 B.C. The pastoral Chou people migrated from the Wei valley NW of the Huang He c.1027 B.C. and overthrew the Shang dynasty. The Chou built their capital near modern Xi'an in 1027 B.C. and moved it to Luoyang in 770 B.C.
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 times, his reforms were aimed essentially at strengthening the bureaucracy and solving the current financial crisis. To refill the imperial coffers, Wang Mang instituted government monopolies, debased the currency, and introduced agricultural reforms. In his most famous reform he decreed (A.D. 9) that the large tax-free estates be dissolved and that the land be redistributed to the peasants, who were to pay taxes. Pressure from the aristocracy, however, forced him (A.D. 12) to rescind the measure. Wang Mang's control ultimately collapsed in the face of the social disorder and rebellion that spread following a disastrous change in the lower course of the Huang He. He died at the hands of rebels when his capital, Chang'an (Xi'an), was sacked; his centralized bureaucracy was destroyed at the same time. A battle for the throne continued until A.D. 25, when Liu HsiuLiu Hsiu
, A.D. 6–A.D. 57, restorer of the Han dynasty. As first emperor (A.D. 25–A.D. 57) of the Later, or Eastern, Han (A.D. 25–A.D. 200), he curbed the power of the imperial princes and recreated the centralized state administration of the Former, or
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 restored the Han and began the long process of rebuilding the central administration.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wang Mang


Born 45 B.C.; died Oct. 6, A.D. 23. Ancient Chinese statesman who became emperor in A.D. 9.

Wang Mang was descended from the aristocratic Wang family. In 8 B.C. he became “ta ssu ma”—the highest dignitary in the Han empire. In December A.D. 8 he carried out a palace coup and declared himself emperor of the Hsin dynasty. He came to power under conditions of a growing struggle between the popular masses and the big landowners and carried out a number of reforms, such as liquidating private property of land, prohibiting the purchase and sale of land and slaves, ordering that each family be provided with an allotment of land for cultivation, and introducing monopolies for the coinage of money and the mining and river industries. Under pressure from the rich landholders, however, he was obliged in A.D. 12 to abolish the land reform and the ban on the purchase and sale of slaves. Wang Mang’s reforms did not lessen class contradictions. In A.D. 15 there was a popular uprising in the country. When detachments of the rebel army occupied the capital of Ch’angan in A.D. 23, Wang Mang was killed.


Duman, L. I. “Reformy Van Mana.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1940, no. 1.
Stepugina, T. V. “Reformy Van Mana v Kitae v nachale I v. n. e.” Kratkie soobshcheniia In-ta narodov Azii, 1963, issue 61.
Li Ting-fang. Wang Mang. Shanghai, 1957. (In Chinese.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
While acknowledging that many Eastern Han (25-220 C.E.) scholars consider guwen to be a spurious writing system created by ambitious scholars outside the mainstream seeking favor and jobs at court and by the followers of Wang Mang, by historicizing the writing systems Xu Shen explains that the jinwen scholars who make these claims have themselves actually been using Qin lishu (a calligraphic style based on the zhuanwen writing system) to graphemically analyze and interpret the words of the classics and even to adjudicate legal cases.
viii) Coming down to the overthrown Xin dynasty's temporary occupation of the throne, Wang Mang ordered the Censor-in-Chief, Zhen Feng, and others, to comparatively edit the word classifications [bushou] of the writing systems used to write.
The mirror discovered at the Morio mound was determined by experts to have been made during China's Wang Mang period (A.D.
In AD 9, when Wang Mang usurped the Imperial throne and executed or imprisoned many prominent persons, Yang Xiong, about to be arrested and fearful that he could not clear himself, threw himself from the high window of a pavilion and was badly injured.
And then there is the slightly later account from the reign of the usurper Wang Mang [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], first and only emperor of the Xin [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] dynasty, which intervened between the Former and Later Han dynasties.
23, when the burning palace was invaded and Wang Mang and his retinue were about to be killed by Han dynasty loyalists, the following scene ensued: Meanwhile, (Wang) Mang, dressed all in deep purple and wearing a silk belt with the imperial seals attached to it, held in his hand the spoon-headed dagger of the Emperor Shun.
Born into an aristocratic family in Shensi (Shanxi) (14); first demonstrated military ability when he took up arms against the usurper Wang Mang (23); assisted Kuang Wu-ti, Emperor of the revived, or New, Han, in planning the consolidation of the empire; his strategy was sound and won him several civil and military posts; gained further honors in campaigns against resistance in Hunan and along the south coast; led an army south to crush a revolt in Tonkin, and went on to conquer Annam; late in his career he was made governor of Kansu (Gansu) and conducted several campaigns against the Hsiung-nu nomads; died in 49.
According to legend, Lord Huang was of the surname Wang and a descendant of Wang Mang. After Wang Mang died, he changed his name to Huang and escaped here to choose a hidden and desolate spot to hide.
Gong Sheng was a retiring official, his moral resolve notwithstanding, but his conduct has had a role in the "eremitic tradition." According to Vervoorn, Gong Sheng "actually embodies [the] shift from the exemplary but rather theoretical Confucian eremitism of the last part of the Former Han to the equally exemplary but deadly serious Confucian eremitism of the Wang Mang period and its aftermath" (p.
The book is divided into four chapters ("The Origins of Eremitism and Its Development in the Warring States Period," "The Former Han and the Wang Mang Period," "The Later Han," "Eremitism at Court"), plus an introduction and conclusion.