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Plantilla:Chinese name

Archivo:Wentianxiang touxiang.jpg

Bust of Wen Tianxiang in his temple in Beijing.

Wen Tianxiang (Plantilla:Zh-cpw; June 6 1236January 9 1283), also Man Tin Cheung in Cantonese, was a scholar-general in the last years fof the Southern Song Dynasty. For his resistance to Kublai Khan's invasion of Song, and for his refusal to yield to the Yuan Dynasty despite being captured and tortured, he is a popular symbol of patriotism and righteousness in China. He is considered one of three heroes of the Song's last years, alongside Lu Xiufu and Zhang Shijie.


Wen was born in 1236 in Luling (Ji'an), Jiangxi Province during the Song Dynasty. At the age of 18 he excelled in his local examinations, and two years later participated in examinations in the capital, during which he was personally awarded first rank by the emperor. He would subsequently take up several posts in the government of the Southern Song, including being Attendant (郎官) of the Justice Ministry and Prefect of Ganzhou.

In 1278, Wen was captured by the invading Yuan armies of Kublai Khan, "offered" a Yuan post, and ordered to convince the remaining Song forces to surrender. Wen refused both and suffered for 4 years in a military prison before his execution in 1283. During this time he wrote the famous classics "Song of Righteousness" (Zhengqige), and "Passing Lingdingyang".

Ancestry and descendants[]

Wen Tianxiang adopted the three sons of his younger brother when his two sons died young. Some researchers claim Wen Tianxiang as of Hakka (客家) descent, but there is no solid historical evidence for this assertion.

Legend has the Wen family name existing during the western Zhou Dynasty over 3,000 years ago. Historical lineages can be documented to 1,500 years ago to Sichuan province.

There are now at least six branches of the Wen family in the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, Hainan, Guangdong, Fujian, and Hong Kong with some overseas. Local dialect pronunciations would be Man (Cantonese) and Oon (Fujianese). The Man clan are considered one of the original founding families in the history of Hong Kong.

Some descendants from the Chaozhou coastal section of the Wen family branch immigrated to Indochina, with Văn a common pronunciation. "Văn" would also be the Vietnamese pronunciation of the Chinese character 文.

The well-known Ming dynasty painter and calligrapher Wen Zhengming also belonged to the Wen family. The mother of Mao Zedong was a descendant as well. The majority of Wen Tianxiang's descendants still live in mainland China.

One of the oldest continuous branches of the Wen family established itself in the Hengyang/Hengshan area of present-day Hunan shortly after AD 1000. A branch of this Wen family settled in the United States in the mid-1940s and is related through marriage to the prominent Sun family of Shouxian, Anhui (Sun Jianai; Fou Foong Flour Company 福豐麵粉廠) and the Li family of Hefei, Anhui (Li Hongzhang 李鴻章).

Archivo:Wen Tianxiang.jpg

Statue of Wen Tianxiang in San Tin Hong Kong.

Wen Tianxiang monuments[]


Wen Tianxiang's hometown in Ji'an, Jiangxi honors the famous national hero with a mausoleum. Exhibitions of paintings, calligraphy, and even army uniforms supposedly left by Wen are displayed in the Wen Family Ancestral Temple in Futian. The Wen Tianxiang Mausoleum is located in Wohushan.


The Memorial to Prime Minister Wen Tianxiang was built in 1376 during the reign of the Ming Emperor Hongwu. The location of Wen's execution is thought to be near the entrance to Fuxue Alley in the East City District of Beijing and a memorial has been established on the northern side of the entrance to South Fuxue Alley near Beixinqiao.

"The Song Dynasty's Top Ranking Scholar and Prime Minister, the West River's Filial Son and Loyal Subject," is carved into the columns of the memorial's main hall.

Hong Kong

Archivo:Wen Tianxiang Park.jpg

Wen Tianxiang Memorial Park San Tin HK.

The San Tin village in the New Territories of Hong Kong, have many surnamed "Wen" ("Man" in Cantonese). The "Wen" villagers trace their ancestry to Wen Tianxiang via Wen Tianshui (Man Tin-Sui), also a famous Song Dynasty general and the cousin of Wen Tianxiang.

A Wen Tianxiang Memorial Park and "Wen" ancestral hall and residences (Tai Fu Tai) in San Tin is a popular historical attraction in Hong Kong.

Famous quotations[]

  • 人生自古誰無死,留取丹心照汗青。-- None since the advent of time have escaped death, may my loyalty forever illuminate the annals of history.

Published works on Wen Tianxiang's life and poetry[]

  • Writing Poetry as Diary: Wen Tianxiang's Poem Series Yuan-fang Tung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • "Writ in Blood": Wen Tianxiang's Lyric Songs Yang Ye, University of California, Riverside
  • Intellectual and Aesthetic Contexts for Wen Tianxiang's Poetry Michael A. Fuller, University of California, Irvine
  • Brown, William Andres (1986). WEN T'IEN-HSIANG: A Biographical Study of a Sung Patriot. Chinese Materials Center Publications. ISBN 0896446433. 

See also[]

fr:Wen Tianxiang zh-classical:文天祥 ko:문천상 id:Wen Tianxiang ja:文天祥 fi:Wen Tianxiang vi:Văn Thiên Tường zh:文天祥