Wanyan Xiyin

Inventor

– 1140

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Who was Wanyan Xiyin?

Wanyan Xiyin was a trusted advisor of the Jurchen chieftain, Wanyan Aguda. Described by modern writers as the "Chief Shaman" of the pre-Jin Jurchen state, he became deeply interested in Chinese culture, and is particularly known as the creator of the first writing system for the Jurchen language.

Wanyan Xiyin's original Jurchen name is transcribed in Chinese sources as Wushi. He belonged to the Jurchen Wanyan tribe, but not to the actual imperial Wanyan family. Along with Wanyan Nianhan and Gushe, Wushi was one of the three chief advisors of Aguda at the time of his rebellion against the Liao. He continued to be a trusted advisor of Aguda as he became the first Emperor Taizu of the Jin Dynasty, and of and his successor Taizong. However, Wushi fell into disgrace under Taizong's successor Xizong and had to commit suicide in 1140.

According to the contemporary Chinese sources, "Wushi was crafted and talented. It was he who personally devised laws and the script for the Jurchen, and thus shaped them into one state. The people of the state called him shan-man; shan-man in Jurchen means a shamaness. This is because he understood changing conditions like a good.

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Also known as
  • 完顏希尹
Died
1140

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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