Jiang Wan (died November or December 246),[a] courtesy name Gongyan, was a regent and military general of the state of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in the late Eastern Han dynasty, Jiang Wan initially served as a scribe, county chief and county prefect under the warlord Liu Bei, who later became the founding emperor of Shu. After Liu Bei's son Liu Shan succeeded his father as emperor in 223, Jiang Wan gradually rose to prominence under the regency of Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor of Shu. Between 228 and 234, while Zhuge Liang was away leading Shu forces on the Northern Expeditions against Shu's rival state Wei, Jiang Wan took charge of internal affairs and provided logistical support to the Shu forces at the frontline. After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Jiang Wan succeeded him as regent and did well in gaining the Shu people's confidence and leading them into a post-Zhuge Liang era. During this time, he considered that the land-based route through the Qin Mountains used by Zhuge Liang during the Northern Expeditions was too difficult for navigation and transportation of supplies. He thus came up with a plan to switch to a water-based route along the Han River targeting Wei territories in present-day southern Shaanxi and northwestern Hubei. However, the Shu government rejected his plan as they thought it was too risky. In 243, due to poor health, Jiang Wan relocated from Hanzhong near the Wei–Shu border to Fu County (present-day Mianyang, Sichuan). Towards the final years of his regency, as his health worsened, Jiang Wan gradually relinquished his powers to his deputies Fei Yi and Dong Yun but he continued to rule as regent in name. He died in 246 and was succeeded by Fei Yi.
A Qing dynasty illustration of Jiang Wan
|Grand Marshal (大司馬)|
April or May 239 – November or December 246
|Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing (錄尚書事)|
May 235 – November or December 243
|Preceded by||Zhuge Liang|
|Succeeded by||Fei Yi|
May 235 – November or December 243
|Succeeded by||Fei Yi|
|Inspector of Yi Province (益州刺史)|
234 – 244
|Preceded by||Zhuge Liang (as Governor)|
|Succeeded by||Fei Yi|
234 – May 235
|Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令)|
234 – May 235
|Succeeded by||Fei Yi|
|Died||November or December 246[a]|
|Resting place||Mianyang, Sichuan|
|Courtesy name||Gongyan (公琰)|
|Posthumous name||Marquis Gong (恭侯)|
|Peerage||Marquis of Anyang Village|
Jiang Wan was from Xiangxiang County (湘鄉縣), Lingling Commandery (零陵郡), which is present-day Xiangxiang, Hunan. He and his maternal cousin, Liu Min (劉敏), were already quite well known in Lingling Commandery before they even reached the age of adulthood.
Service under Liu BeiEdit
Around 209 or 210, Jiang Wan came to serve under the warlord Liu Bei, who was also then the Governor of Jing Province (covering present-day Hubei and Hunan), and held the position of a scribe. In 211, he accompanied Liu Bei to Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing). After Liu Bei seized control of Yi Province in 214, he appointed Jiang Wan as the Chief of Guangdu County (廣都縣; northeast of present-day Shuangliu District, Chengdu, Sichuan).
On one occasion, when Liu Bei visited Guangdu County, he saw that Jiang Wan was not only dead drunk, but had also been neglecting his duties as a county chief. He was so angry that he wanted to execute Jiang Wan for negligence, but his chief adviser Zhuge Liang stopped him and said: "Jiang Wan is an important pillar of society and his talents are far greater than that required to govern an area of just 100 li. His style of government focuses on bringing peace and stability to the people; he does not see the superficial aspects as a priority. I hope that you, My Lord, will examine this issue more closely." Liu Bei respected Zhuge Liang's opinion so he did not punish Jiang Wan. However, he still hastily removed Jiang Wan from office.
Restoration to officeEdit
After his dismissal, Jiang Wan dreamt of an ox's head hanging on a door with blood dripping down. He hated his dream so he asked Zhao Zhi (趙直), a fortune teller, to explain its meaning. Zhao Zhi told him: "One who sees blood is also one who has a keen sense of judgment. The ox's horns and nose form a shape resembling the character gong (公; literally 'duke'), so you, Sir, will rise to a position equivalent to that of a duke in the future. It is a highly auspicious omen. Not long later, Jiang Wan was summoned back to serve as the Prefect of Shifang County.
During Zhuge Liang's regencyEdit
In 223, Liu Shan became the emperor of the state of Shu following the death of his father Liu Bei. As Liu Shan was still underage at the time, Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor of Shu, served as the regent. After creating a personal staff to assist him in administering state affairs, Zhuge Liang employed Jiang Wan to serve as an assistant official in the east bureau of his office.
Declining to be a maocaiEdit
Jiang Wan was later nominated as a maocai (茂才) but he declined the honour and offered it to others such as Liu Yong, Yin Hua (陰化), Pang Yan (龐延) and Liao Chun. Zhuge Liang stopped him and said: "You left your family and home, and travelled a long way to serve the people. We feel for you. There are also people who may not understand your good intentions. That is why all the more you should accept this honour to showcase your merits and contributions. It will also highlight the integrity and rigour of the process of selecting maocais." Jiang Wan was promoted to serve as an Army Adviser (參軍) under Zhuge Liang.
Taking charge of internal affairs and providing logistical supportEdit
In 227, Zhuge Liang mobilised military forces from throughout Shu in preparation for a large-scale campaign against Shu's rival state Wei in the following year. He then moved to the staging area in Hanzhong Commandery while leaving behind Jiang Wan and his chief clerk Zhang Yi to take charge of his office in the Shu capital Chengdu.
In 230, following Zhang Yi's death, Jiang Wan replaced him as Zhuge Liang's chief clerk and was given an additional appointment as General Who Pacifies the Army (撫軍將軍).
Between 228 and 234, while Zhuge Liang was leading Shu forces on a series of military campaigns against Wei, Jiang Wan provided logistical support by ensuring that reinforcements and supplies reached the Shu army at the frontline in timely fashion.
Designated as Zhuge Liang's successorEdit
Zhuge Liang once said: "Gongyan's ambition is to serve the State with the utmost loyalty and integrity. He will be someone who can work with me to accomplish our State's great mission." He also secretly told Liu Shan: "If I pass away, Jiang Wan can succeed me."
In 234, when Zhuge Liang became critically ill at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains, he told Li Fu that Jiang Wan was the most suitable candidate to succeed him as regent and that Fei Yi could succeed Jiang Wan in turn.
Jiang Wan's regencyEdit
Succeeding Zhuge Liang as regent of ShuEdit
After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Jiang Wan succeeded him as regent and held the office of Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令). He was subsequently appointed as acting Protector-General (都護), granted imperial authority, and given the gubernatorial appointment of Inspector of Yi Province (益州刺史).
In May 235, Jiang Wan relinquished his position as Prefect of the Masters of Writing to his deputy Fei Yi, got promoted to General-in-Chief (大將軍) and received an additional appointment as Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing (錄尚書事). He was also enfeoffed as the Marquis of Anyang Village (安陽亭侯).
At the time, as Zhuge Liang's death was still quite recent, the people of Shu felt deeply troubled by his passing and began to fear for the future of their state. After Jiang Wan took charge as regent, he demonstrated his talents and skills in leading Shu into a post-Zhuge Liang era. He showed neither sadness nor joy, maintained his composure, and performed his duties as before. Over time, he gradually gained the Shu government and people's confidence in him as their new leader.
Receiving orders to attack WeiEdit
In 238, the Shu emperor Liu Shan issued an imperial decree to Jiang Wan as follows: "The enemy has yet to be defeated. Cao Rui is arrogant and vicious. The people in the three commanderies in Liaodong have long suffered from tyranny so they have decided to band together and break free from Wei rule. Cao Rui has sent an army to attack Liaodong and suppress the rebellion. In the past, the fall of the Qin dynasty started with an uprising led by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang. The rebellion in Liaodong is a Heaven-granted opportunity for us. You should prepare the troops for battle, mobilise them and get them ready in Hanzhong. Once Wu makes a move, both the east and west will launch a coordinated attack on Wei and seize the opportunity to secure victory."
Liu Shan then granted Jiang Wan permission to create a personal staff to assist him in administering state affairs. In April or May of the following year, he gave Jiang Wan an additional appointment as Grand Marshal (大司馬).
Ideas on taking an alternative route to attack WeiEdit
Jiang Wan considered that one reason for the failure of Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions against Wei was that he chose the difficult route through the Qin Mountains; the mountainous terrain had made it difficult for the Shu army to navigate their way and transport their supplies to the frontline. Jiang Wan then thought of switching from the land-based route to a water-based one. According to his plan, the Shu forces would construct more warships and sail along the Han River to attack the Wei-controlled Weixing (魏興) and Shangyong (上庸) commanderies in present-day southern Shaanxi and northwestern Hubei.
However, due to poor health, Jiang Wan was unable to set his plan into motion. When his plan was put up for discussion in the Shu imperial court, many officials objected to it and pointed out that the water-based route was too risky and not viable in the long term. The main reason was that if the Shu forces failed to capture Weixing and Shangyong commanderies, it would be much more difficult for them to retreat back to Shu along the Han River than if they were to retreat via a land-based route. The Shu emperor Liu Shan then sent Fei Yi and Jiang Wei to Hanzhong Commandery to meet Jiang Wan and present their case for rejecting Jiang Wan's plan.
Relocation to Fu CountyEdit
In response, Jiang Wan wrote a memorial to Liu Shan as follows:
"It is my responsibility to destroy evil and save the people from their troubles. It has been six years since I received orders to station at Hanzhong. I am untalented, unwise and in poor health. I have been unable to implement my grand plan and I have been feeling worried day and night. As of today, Wei controls nine provinces and its foundation is very solid. It will not be easy to eliminate Wei. If the east and west can work together and launch a coordinated strike, we can at least divide and conquer parts of Wei and gradually cut off its bases of support even if we cannot accomplish our great mission in such a short span of time. However, Wu has been delaying their military operations and has failed to hit their targets. This is indeed worrying. I can neither dine nor sleep in peace. Whenever I discuss with Fei Yi and the others, I always believe that Liang Province is an important and strategic location for both the local tribes and the enemy. Besides, the Qiang and Hu people dearly miss the days of the Han dynasty. In the past, when we sent a small force to ally with the Qiang, we managed to defeat Guo Huai. After carefully weighing all these considerations, I think that Liang Province is our top priority. We should appoint Jiang Wei as the Inspector of Liang Province. Jiang Wei can lead our forces into battle and hold the enemy's attention at the west of the Wei River, while I will lead another army to provide support to him. Fu County is well-connected to its surrounding areas and provides good access to them. If war breaks out in the northeast, I can lead our forces to defend our border in the shortest time possible."
In late November or December 243, as his health deteriorated, Jiang Wan relinquished his positions as General-in-Chief (大將軍) and Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing (錄尚書事) to Fei Yi, thus making the latter the de facto head of the Shu government. In the following year, Dong Yun succeeded Fei Yi as Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令)
Jiang Wan's health continued to worsen over time until he died sometime between 26 November and 25 December 246.[a] Liu Shan honoured him with the posthumous title "Marquis Gong" (恭侯; literally "respectful marquis").
Chen Shou, the third-century historian who wrote Jiang Wan's biography in the Sanguozhi, praised Jiang Wan for his success in maintaining order and stability in Shu, and noted that he had the image of a dignified authority figure. He gave credit to Jiang Wan and his successor Fei Yi for following in Zhuge Liang's footsteps and pointed out that in doing so they managed to secure Shu's borders and maintain peace and harmony within Shu. However, he also criticised them for not putting in their best to govern a small state like Shu and keeping it safe.
The fifth-century historian Pei Songzhi, who annotated the Sanguozhi, disagreed with Chen Shou's point of view. He argued that Jiang Wan and Fei Yi did well during their regencies when they refrained from making risky moves that could jeopardise Shu's future and when they successfully countered a Wei invasion and maintained peace within Shu's borders. He also pointed out that readers may find Chen Shou's concluding remarks confusing because Chen Shou did not provide any evidence to support his claim that Jiang Wan and Fei Yi did not put in their best to govern Shu and keep it safe.
Incidents with Yang Xi and Yang MinEdit
Yang Xi was known for being curt and terse when speaking to others. There were times when he completely ignored Jiang Wan while the latter was talking to him. Someone once told Jiang Wan: "Sir, when you speak to Yang Xi, he completely ignores you. He is so rude and disrespectful to you. Isn't that too much?" Jiang Wan replied: "People have different personalities in the same way they have different appearances. The ancients had long cautioned us about people who pretend to be nice in front of you and speak ill of you behind your back. Yang Xi never intended to praise me. If he openly disagreed with me, he would reveal my weaknesses. That was why he ignored me. That's how he's being honest with me."
Yang Min (楊敏) once criticised Jiang Wan for being "muddleheaded" and "inferior compared to his predecessor". When an official suggested conducting an investigation and taking disciplinary action against Yang Min, Jiang Wan said: "I am indeed inferior compared to my predecessor. Why is there a need to investigate?" He turned down the official's repeated calls to make a case against Yang Min. When the official sought permission to ask Yang Min to produce evidence to substantiate his claims, Jiang Wan said: "If I am inferior compared to my predecessor, then I am being unreasonable in how I handle issues. If I am unreasonable in the way I handle issues, then I am indeed muddleheaded. Why do you need to ask him?" When Yang Min committed an offence later and ended up being imprisoned, his colleagues feared the worst for him. However, Jiang Wan did not hold a grudge against Yang Min and even helped him obtain a pardon.
These two incidents showed that Jiang Wan was a reasonable and well-meaning person.
Jiang Wan's elder son, Jiang Bin (蔣斌), inherited his father's peerage and became the next Marquis of Anyang Village (安陽亭侯). Like his father, he served as a general in Shu and held the rank of General of Pacifying Martial Might (綏武將軍) and appointment of an Army Protector (護軍) in Hancheng County (漢城縣; present-day Mian County, Shaanxi).
In 263, during the Wei invasion of Shu, when Wei general Zhong Hui and his troops approached Hancheng County, he wrote a letter to Jiang Bin as follows: "There are many talented and virtuous people in Shu. People like you and Zhuge Siyuan are like me and there are so many others like you too. It has been our ancestors' practice to pay respects to great sages of the past. Today, when I come to Shu, I want to visit your father's tomb, clean it up, and pay my respects to him. I hope you will tell me where it is."
Jiang Bin replied: "I know that you are someone who understands me and I hope to become friends with you. Now that you have made such a polite request, it would be rude of me to reject you. My late father fell sick and passed away in Fu County. After the fengshui masters said that Fu County was a good location, we had him buried there. Sir, you came all the way to Shu for the purpose of visiting his tomb and paying your respects. Yan Hui also showed his virtuous character when he treated Confucius like his father. Now, after receiving your letter, I feel deeply saddened and I miss my father even more."
Zhong Hui felt impressed by Jiang Bin's honourable character after receiving his reply. He then headed to Fu County, found Jiang Wan's tomb, and paid his respects there. After the fall of Shu in late 263, Jiang Bin went to Fu County to meet Zhong Hui and became friends with him. He was killed by mutinying soldiers in March 264 when Zhong Hui started a rebellion in Chengdu against the Wei regent Sima Zhao.
Jiang Wan's younger son, Jiang Xian (蔣顯), served as an attendant to the Shu crown prince Liu Xuan. Zhong Hui also appreciated Jiang Xian for his talent and befriended him as well. Jiang Xian died together with his brother during the chaos caused by Zhong Hui's rebellion in March 264.
- Liu Shan's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that Jiang Wan died in the 11th month of the 9th year of the Yanxi era of Liu Shan's reign. This month corresponds to 26 November to 25 December 246 in the Gregorian calendar.
- ([延熙九年]冬十一月，大司馬蔣琬卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 33.
- de Crespigny (2007), p. 378. Harv error: no target: CITEREFde_Crespigny2007 (help)
- (蔣琬字公琰、零陵湘鄉人也。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (弱冠與外弟泉陵劉敏俱知名。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 66. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- Sima (1084), vol. 67. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (琬以州書佐隨先主入蜀，除廣都長。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (先主甞因游觀奄至廣都，見琬衆事不理，時又沈醉，先主大怒，將加罪戮。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (軍師將軍諸葛亮請曰：「蔣琬，社稷之器，非百里之才也。其為政以安民為本，不以脩飾為先，願主公重加察之。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (先主雅敬亮，乃不加罪，倉卒但免官而已。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (琬見推之後，夜夢有一牛頭在門前，流血滂沲，意甚惡之，呼問占夢趙直。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([趙]直曰：「夫見血者，事分明也。牛角及鼻，『公』字之象，君位必當至公，大吉之徵也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (頃之，為什邡令。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 68. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (先主為漢中王，琬入為尚書郎。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 70. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (建興元年，丞相亮開府，辟琬為東曹掾。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (舉茂才，琬固讓劉邕、陰化、龐延、廖淳，亮教荅曰：「思惟背親捨德，以殄百姓，衆人旣不隱於心，實又使遠近不解其義，是以君宜顯其功舉，以明此選之清重也。」遷為參軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([建興]五年，亮住漢中，琬與長史張裔統留府事。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([建興]八年，代裔為長史，加撫軍將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vols. 71-72. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (亮數外出，琬常足食足兵以相供給。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (亮每言：「公琰託志忠雅，當與吾共贊王業者也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (密表後主曰：「臣若不幸，後事宜以付琬。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 72. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (亮語福曰：「孤知君還意。近日言語，雖彌日有所不盡，更來亦決耳。君所問者，公琰其宜也。」福謝：「前實失不諮請公，如公百年後，誰可任大事者？故輒還耳。乞復請，蔣琬之後，誰可任者？」亮曰：「文偉可以繼之。」) Yi Bu Qijiu Zaji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 45.
- ([諸葛]亮卒，以琬為尚書令，俄而加行都護，假節，領益州刺史， ...) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 73. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (... 遷大將軍，錄尚書事，封安陽亭侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (時新喪元帥，遠近危悚。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (琬出類拔萃，處羣僚之右，旣無戚容，又無喜色，神守舉止，有如平日，由是衆望漸服， ...) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (... 延熈元年，詔琬曰：「寇難未弭，曹叡驕凶，遼東三郡苦其暴虐，遂相糾結，與之離隔。叡大興衆役，還相攻伐。曩秦之亡，勝、廣首難，今有此變，斯乃天時。君其治嚴，總帥諸軍屯住漢中，須吳舉動，東西掎角，以乘其釁。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 74. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (又命琬開府，明年就加為大司馬。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (琬以為昔諸葛亮數闚秦川，道險運艱，竟不能克，不若乘水東下。乃多作舟舩，欲由漢、沔襲魏興、上庸。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (會舊疾連動，未時得行。而衆論咸謂如不克捷，還路甚難，非長策也。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (於是遣尚書令費禕、中監軍姜維等喻指。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (琬承命上疏曰：「芟穢弭難，臣職是掌。自臣奉辭漢中，已經六年，臣旣闇弱，加嬰疾疢，規方無成，夙夜憂慘。今魏跨帶九州，根蔕滋蔓，平除未易。若東西并力，首尾掎角，雖未能速得如志，且當分裂蠶食，先摧其支黨。然吳期二三，連不克果，俯仰惟艱，實忘寢食。輙與費禕等議，以涼州胡塞之要，進退有資，賊之所惜；且羌、胡乃心思漢如渴，又昔偏軍入羌，郭淮破走，筭其長短，以為事首，宜以姜維為涼州刺史。若維征行，銜持河右，臣當帥軍為維鎮繼。今涪水陸四通，惟急是應，若東北有虞，赴之不難。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (由是琬遂還住涪。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (琬自漢中還涪，禕遷大將軍，錄尚書事。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (疾轉增劇，至九年卒，謚曰恭。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (評曰：蔣琬方整有威重，費禕寬濟而博愛，咸承諸葛之成規，因循而不革，是以邊境無虞，邦家和一，然猶未盡治小之宜，居靜之理也。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (臣松之以為蔣、費為相，克遵畫一，未甞徇功妄動，有所虧喪，外郤駱谷之師，內保寧緝之實，治小之宜，居靜之理，何以過於此哉！今譏其未盡而不著其事，故使覽者不知所謂也。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 4.
- (東曹掾楊戲素性簡略，琬與言論，時不應荅。或欲搆戲於琬曰：「公與戲語而不見應，戲之慢上，不亦甚乎！」琬曰：「人心不同，各如其靣；靣從後言，古人之所誡也。戲欲贊吾是耶，則非其本心，欲反吾言，則顯吾之非，是以默然，是戲之快也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (又督農楊敏曾毀琬曰：「作事憒憒，誠非及前人。」或以白琬，主者請推治敏，琬曰：「吾實不如前人，無可推也。」主者重據聽不推，則乞問其憒憒之狀。琬曰：「苟其不如，則事不當理，事不當理，則憒憒矣。復何問邪？」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (後敏坐事繫獄，衆人猶懼其必死，琬心無適莫，得免重罪。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (其好意存道，皆此類也。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (子斌嗣，為綏武將軍、漢城護軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 78. Harv error: no target: CITEREFSima1084 (help)
- (魏大將軍鍾會至漢城，與斌書曰：「巴蜀賢智文武之士多矣。至於足下、諸葛思遠，譬諸草木，吾氣類也。桑梓之敬，古今所敦。西到，欲奉瞻尊大君公侯墓，當洒埽墳塋，奉祠致敬。願告其所在！」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (斌荅書曰：「知惟臭味意眷之隆，雅託通流，未拒來謂也。亡考昔遭疾疢，亡於涪縣，卜云其吉，遂安厝之。知君西邁，乃欲屈駕脩敬墳墓。視予猶父，顏子之仁也，聞命感愴，以增情思。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (會得斌書報，嘉歎意義，及至涪，如其書云。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (後主旣降鄧艾，斌詣會於涪，待以交友之禮。隨會至成都，為亂兵所殺。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (斌弟顯，為太子僕，會亦愛其才學，與斌同時死。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
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