King Wen of Zhou, 周文王, 昌, 40

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About King Wen of Zhou, 周文王, 昌, 40

The Zhou state was located in the Wei River valley in present day Shaanxi Province. At one point, King Zhou of Shang, fearing Wen's growing power, imprisoned him. However, many officals respected Wen for his honourable governing. So they gave King Zhou many gifts, and requested Wen 's release. These gifts included gold, horses and women. Zhou agreed, and Wen was released.

King Wen planned the conquest of the contemporaneous dynasty in power, the Shang Dynasty, but he died before he could accomplish this.

His family name was Ji (Chinese: 姬; pinyin: jī). He married TaiSi (Chinese: 太姒; pinyin: Tàisì) and had at least two sons, Zhou Gong Dan and Zhou Gong Wu (Chinese: 周公武; pinyin: Zhōu Gōng Wǔ). His second son became King Wu of Zhou and completed his fathers wishes by defeating the Shang army at their capital. He eventually became the first king of the new Zhou dynasty.

King Wen is also known for his contributions to the Yi Jing, a manual of divination. King Wen is attributed with having stacked the eight trigrams in their various permutations, to create the sixty-four hexagrams. He is also said to have written the judgements which are appended to each hexagram (the line statements are attributed to his son, the Duke of Zhou. The most commonly used sequence of the sixty four hexagrams is attributed to King Wen and is usually referred to as the King Wen sequence.

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