Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Jiang Ziya -- Mysterious Founder of Military Strategy 

Mysterious Early Life

Jiang Ziya (about 1156B.C. — 1017B.C.), also respected as Jiang Taigong or Jiang Shang, was a nobody until he was 72; his life before, however, remained mysterious.

 

Historical records said he had a noble title, but was very poor, so he used to run many small businesses; others believed he studied some magical arts on Mount Kunlun, which has always been the most mysterious mountain in Chinese culture and mythology. 

 

Encounter with Kings and His Great Accomplishment 

One day, Lord Ji Chang saw him using a straight fishhook fishing near a river, found him interesting and started to chat with him.

 

Even though Jiang was old and poor, the king was impressed by his extraordinary wisdom and insight; so he was invited to the lord's palace and, ultimately, respected as the most important minister. 

 

Jiang then assisted Lord Ji Chang and then his son Ji Fa in overthrowing the previous dynasty, building the Zhou Dynasty, and establishing many advanced political systems to manage the country. 

Then Jiang was subinfeudated as lord of a big vassal state in the east of China, which was a recently conquered realm filled with rebel and hostile civilians.

 

Jiang, however, gained those people’s genuine respect and love within a few years, by his exceptional leadership and a series of good policies.

 

This state soon completely complied to Zhou's dominance and fully integrated into their culture.

 

The advanced technology and administration system that Jiang applied here made sure this state kept expanding and gradually became one of the most powerful vassal states in the history of China. ​

No one knows where did Jiang’s knowledge come from, as such an outstanding politician, militarist, scientist and creator of Military Strategy.

 

His military book has been researched and embraced by many famous Chinese generals.

Honorable Status in Chinese Mythology 

 

Centuries later, in some very popular novels, Jiang was considered to be the one who assigned positions to celestial in Chinese mythology; he himself was also a widely respected immortal in Chinese culture.

 

Outside of the mythology area, he was worshiped by many Chinese emperors in the following dynasties, when Jiang was worshiped as the primogenitor of the military while Confucius as of literature.