Duan Zhixuan

Duan Xiong (Chinese: 段雄), titled Duke Zhongzhuang of Bao, better known by his courtesy name as Duan Zhixuan (Chinese: 段志玄), was a general and officer in early Tang Dynasty. He is one of 24 honored founding officials of Tang Dynasty at Lingyan Pavilion.

Duan Xiong
Consultant of Imperial Kitchen (光禄大夫)
In office
MonarchEmperor Gaozu of Tang
Grand (Senior) General of Left Brave Guard (左骁卫大将军)
In office
MonarchEmperor Taizong of Tang
Prefectural Governor of Jinzhou (金州刺史)
In office
MonarchEmperor Taizong of Tang
Grand (Senior) General of Right Guard (右卫大将军)
In office
MonarchEmperor Gaozu of Tang
Zhenjun Grand General (镇军大将军)
In office
MonarchEmperor Taizong of Tang
Personal details
ChildrenDuan Zan (son)
Duan Guan (son)
Duan Gui (son)
FatherDuan Yanshi
OccupationGeneral, Official
Courtesy nameZhixuan (志玄)
TitleDuke of Bao (褒国公)
Posthumous nameZhongzhuang (忠壮)

In historyEdit

Duan Zhixuan is the son of Duan Yanshi, a mid-low ranked officer of Taiyuan in Sui Dynasty, and a friend to Li Yuan, the founding emperor of Tang Dynasty. Duan Zhixuan and his father joined the rebellion led by Li Yuan that eventually overthrew Sui Dynasty in 617-618. During the rebellion, Duan Zhixuan, Chai Shao and Liu Wenjing defeated and captured the Sui generals Sang Xianhe and Qutu Tong in a battle near Tong Pass. Duan was rewarded the title Marquis of Linji after this battle.[1] Later, he became a subordinate to Li Shimin and took part in unification wars against various warlords including Xue Ju, Liu Wuzhou[2] and Wang Shichong.[3] In 626, he was a key figure that helped Li Shimin obtain the crown in the Xuanwu Gate Incident. When Li Shimin became the emperor (Emperor Taizong of Tang), Duan Zhixuan was rewarded the title Duke of Fan and appointed to be the Grand General of Left Brave Guard.[4] During the reign of Emperor Taizong, Duan Zhixuan served in different positions both in the military and in local government. He also took part in the early stage of the campaign against Tuyuhun in 634. In 637, his title changed to Duke of Bao, and his descendants were given the privilege to inherit his title.[5] He died in 642 and was given a posthumous name Zhongzhuang (Chinese: 忠壮; lit. 'loyal and heroic').

In popular cultureEdit

In Chinese folklores and some classic novels, Duan Zhixuan is often mistakenly referred to as Duan Zhiyuan (Chinese: 段志远) or Duan Zhixian (Chinese: 段志贤). In those folk stories, Duan Zhixuan is one of four close guards (along with Ma Sanbao, Liu Hongji and Yin Kaishan) protecting Li Shimin. He was killed by the Korean general Yeon Gaesomun during a war between Tang and Goguryeo.


  • Grandfather: Duan Yuan,the County Mayor of Pingling in Northern Qi dynasty.
  • Father: Duan Yanshi, the Secretary of Law in Taiyuan Prefecture in Sui Dynasty; rewarded Duke of Yidu County in Tang Dynasty.
  • Elder Brother: Duan Zhihe (Duan Hui), served in local military divisions in Tang dynasty, Baron of Quwo County.
  • Younger Brother: Duan Zhigan, a junior general in the Left Guard in Tang dynasty.
  • Son: Duan Zan, Grand (Senior) General of Left Station Guard during the reign of Wu Zetian. [6]
    • Grandson: Duan Huaijian, Taizi Zhanshi (officer for crowned prince affairs) in the reign of Emperor Xuanzong.[7]
    • Grandson: Duan Huaigu
    • Guandson: Duan Huaiyi, Prefectural Governor of Fangzhou.
  • Son: Duan Guan, an assistant managing imeprial seals.
    • Grandson: Duan Huaixu, a mid-low ranked officer in Dezhou.
      • Great Grandson: Duan Chengzong (686—753), Vice Prefectural Governor of Jinling,
        • 4th Generation Grandson: Duan Xian
    • Grandson: Duan Huajiao.
    • Grandson: Duan Huaiyan.
  • Son:Duan Gui
    • Grandson: Duan Huaiben, Prefectural Governor of Suzhou.


  1. ^ Tombstone of Duan Zhixuan (段志玄碑): 又与柴绍、刘文静破桑显和、屈突通,累迁右光禄大夫、上柱国,封临济县侯,食邑一千户。
  2. ^ Tombstone of Duan Zhixuan (段志玄碑): 又从上讨薛举、刘武周。
  3. ^ Old Book of Tang: 后从讨王世充
  4. ^ Old Book of Tang: 太宗即位,累迁左骁卫大将军,封樊国公,食实封九百户。
  5. ^ Old Book of Tang: 十一年,定世封之制,授金州刺史,改封褒国公。
  6. ^ Old Book of Tang: 子瓚,袭爵褒国公,武太后时,官至左屯卫大将军。
  7. ^ Old Book of Tang: 子怀简,袭爵,开元中,官至太子詹事。