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The Achievements of Jin Kingdom

About 3000 years ago, the Shang Dynasty was overthrown by the King Wu who established the Western Zhou Dynasty. Then he enfeoffed leuds and took measures to shield his kingdom. During the reign of the King Cheng, the King gave a fief of the land in Shanxi as “Tang State” to his younger brother Shuyu whose son Xie Fu, later when succeeded to the throne, called his territory as the State of Jin. Thereafter, the ruler exerted himself to make the country prosperous. As a result, the territory was greatly expanded and the kingdom gradually became a strong power. At the same time, however, the Western Zhou Dynasty was on the decline. During the reign of King Ping, the royal court had been so weak that the Western Zhou rulers were eventually forced to give up the old capital city in the west and moved eastward for a new one. In this historical event, Marquis Wen of Jin State offered a great assistance to the royal family and showed a sincere royalty to their masters. After that, strong sovereigns emerged and powerful states met to form alliances, which Jin once led. Continuously sweeping over the Central Plains, Jin allied with all the other states and made great achievements to be acclaimed forever. At the height of its power and splendor, Jin State spanned a large area covering the present Shanxi, Henan, Hebei and Shandong Province. In late Spring & Autumn period, Jin State fell into a decline and the state power was in hands of six high officials, who turned into a separation of state property into three: Han, Zhao and Wei. These three new powers introduced reforms and together still dominated throughout Warring States period in Chinese history.

The achievements of Jin State, which has an over 600 years of flourishing history, built prosperous foundation for the art and culture in Shanxi. The South Shanxi used to be the first fief and central area of Jin State, resulting in numerous archaeological remains. The Qucun-Tianma site is believed to be the early capital city of Jin State. The treasures from burials of Jin Marquis there were brought to light, shocking professional archaeologists and the public at large. The Houma site was once the later capital city of Jin, Xintian. The bronze-casting site and the Houma Covenants are among the greatest discoveries of the century. The ruin of Jinyang city in the middle of Shanxi was once political and military center of Zhao Jianzi who was a powerful primary minister of the State. Later it became the early capital city of Zhao State separated from Jin. The tomb of a high official of the Zhao State is magnificent and imposing, which can surely leave people an unforgettable impression.


    The Tianma-Qucun site at the junction of Quwo and Yicheng covers an area of more than 10 square kilometers. Since the 1960s, a large area of cultural relics has been exposed. Among many others, the cemetery of the royal clan of the Jin Kingdom, that is, the famous cemetery of the Jin Marquis has witnessed the excavation of tens of thousands cultural relics, including hundreds of bronzes with inscription. Through the study of these inscriptions, it has been confirmed that the Tianma-Qucun site used to be the early capital of the Jin Kingdom and there were nine Jin Marquises from Xiefu to Marquis Wen during the period of the Western Zhou Dynasty.


    In 770 BC, Marquis Wen of Jin assisted King Ping of Zhou to move eastward. At the beginning of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, the Jin Kingdom became one of the great vassal states. After the over-60-year internal wars and the Duke Xian’s expansion of territory, the national strength of Jin was growing. Duke Wen made great efforts to govern the country and convened meetings to form alliances at Jiantu, thus obtaining the dominant position. As a result, the Jin Kingdom assumed the throne and attained a lofty fame nationwide. Later on, Duke Jing relocated the capital and Duke Dao regained the hegemony... In short, the Jin Kingdom had been seeking hegemony during the Spring and Autumn Period for more than 150 years.

    Duke Jing moved the capital to Xintian, the ruins of which is located in present-day Houma. The ruins of the city, ancestral temples, tombs, places for sacrificial ceremonies and manual workshops and other ruins outline the prosperous metropolis of the Jin Kingdom from the middle of the Spring and Autumn Period to the early Warring States Period.


    During the middle and late period of the Spring and Autumn Period, the power of the Jin Kingdom had been transferred into the hands of Six Ministers, including Han, Zhao, Wei, Zhi, Fan and Zhonghang, who were powerful families in that period. They took turns to govern Jin, vowing to form a party at home and forming an alliance with foreign countries abroad. In 453 BC, Jin was separated into three new smaller states, namely, Han, Zhao and Wei. In 403 BC, the emperor of the Zhou Dynasty acknowledged the legal status of the three sub-Jins, and the pattern of Seven Powers of the Warring States Period formed. In 376 BC, Duke Jing of Jin was deposed and then the Jin Kingdom became a national subjugation. Under the remaining influence of Jin, Han, Zhao and Wei continued to struggle to strengthen the country. As the flames of war raged, a new era was gestating.