Bu Zhi

Bu Zhi
Politician of Eastern Wu
Born (Unknown)
Died 247
Traditional Chinese 步騭
Simplified Chinese 步骘
Pinyin Bù Zhì
Wade–Giles Bu Chi
Courtesy name Zishan (Chinese: 子山; pinyin: Zǐshān; Wade–Giles: Tzu-shan)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Bu.

Bu Zhi (died 247), courtesy name Zishan, was an official of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. He was a scholar from the Wu region and served as an advisor to the warlord Sun Quan in the late Eastern Han dynasty before the founding of Eastern Wu. He held several military posts from time to time, and was noted in his successful subjugation of the lords and barbarians in the south. After he became famous and influential within the regime, he started to actively engage himself in the central government's politics, and was one of those accounted for leading to the destructive result of the crown prince case in Wu's history. As a consequence, he was relocated to Xiling; during his tenure there, he established his clan as an unrivaled local power. He was later called back to Jianye to be the chancellor, but died soon on the post.

Early life

When Bu Zhi was young, he befriended Wei Jing of Guangling, and they were farming tenants for a landlord called Jiao Zhengqiang in Kuaiji. It is said that Bu did not feel shameful when Jiao treated him and Wei Jing badly because of his poverty, while Wei felt disgusted out of pride. After Sun Quan inherited Jiangdong from his brother Sun Ce, Bu Zhi was summoned by Sun Quan as a secretary, but he left his office before the battle of Red Cliffs and traveled within the realm of Jiangdong.

Service under Sun Quan

A fragment of the biography of Bu Zhi from the Records of the Three Kingdoms, part of the Dunhuang manuscripts

In 210, Bu Zhi returned to the Sun Quan's camp, and was granted a military post and led a special force consisting of one thousand elite archers to go southward. In the following year, he was privileged with the authority to execute lower to middle-ranked officers without court approval, which enabled him to decide provisions on his own. When Bu Zhi arrived in the city of Cangwu, he requested a meeting with Grand Administrator of Cangwu, Wu Ju. Though Wu Ju appeared cooperative, he was hiding evil thoughts in his heart, and was ready to cause trouble; during the banquet, Bu Zhi beheaded Wu Ju in front of the officers attending the party. As a consequence, Bu Zhi's name was recognized and feared by many lords in the south, and among them, the most influential Shi Xie, led his men to pledge loyalty to the Wu court, which signaled Eastern Wu's successful consolidation of the south.

In 220, the emperor of Shu Han, Liu Bei, declared war against Sun Quan in an attempt to retake Jing province, and the Wuling barbarians also rebelled against their new hosts. Bu Zhi, upon hearing the news, led ten thousand volunteer troops from Jiao province to Yiyang to prepare for war. After Liu Bei was defeated by Lu Xun, Bu Zhi spent one year on quelling the barbarians and local uprising in southern Jing province.

Later life

During Bu Zhi's later years, he actively got himself involved in political struggle revolving around the crown prince case, in which he supported Sun Ba to replace the crown prince Sun He as the successor to Sun Quan, eventually leading to Sun Ba's forced suicide and Sun He's exile, and he himself was asked to leave Jianye and stationed in Xiling. There, he built a strong base for his family, which was the cause his son, Bu Chan (步闡) rebelled when he was summoned back to Jianye years later. Bu was also involved in Lü Yi's case, and ultimately succeed to put Lü Yi out of Sun Quan's trust. Bu died of illness 2 years after he ascended to the post of Chancellor, and his eldest son Bu Xie (步協) resumed his military command and inherited his Marquis title while Bu Chan inherited his developed base back at Jiao province.

Appointments and titles held

See also


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