Shi Chong (Chinese: 石崇; pinyin: Shí Chóng) (249–300), courtesy name Jilun (季倫), was a Chinese politician of the Western Jin Dynasty. He was a son of situ Shi Bao (石苞). He was known for his luxurious lifestyle.

The painting Golden Valley Garden by Hua Yan, 1732, depicting Shi Chong listening to the music of Lüzhu, Shanghai Museum

Biography edit

Shi Chong was the sixth son of situ Shi Bao (石苞). At a young age, he showed great intelligence and courage. As a result, his father decided to leave no property for him, as he was confident that Shi Chong could make a fortune on his own. Shi Chong first served as magistrate of Xiuwu County and Governor of Chengyang Commandery (a commandery in Jiaodong Peninsula, centered in Ju County). He became Marquis of Anyang Xiang due to his participance in Conquest of Wu by Jin. Later, his rose to Shizhong (侍中, an attendant and consultant in the imperial court) position.

In the first year of Yuankang (291), Yang Jun became regent. As a dissident, Shi Chong left the capital and became Governor of Jingzhou. Later, he was appointed as Dasinong (大司农, in charge of finance). However, the appointment was cancelled because he left his post before the official announcement. Shortly after, he was appointed as Zhenglu General, guarding the Xuzhou region. Soon, he was removed after an incident where he became drunk and fought with Gao Dan, Governor of Xuzhou.

After Queen Regent Jia Nanfeng gained power, he became a friend of Jia's nephew, Jia Mi, by flattering the latter. It was recorded that whenever Guo Huai, Jia Nanfeng's mother passed by, Shi would stop and prostrate himself before her.

In the first year of Yongkang (300), the Prince of Zhao, Sima Lun, exterminated the Jia family. Shi Chong was removed from his post as an ally of the family. Sun Xiu, a favorite of Sima Lun, hated Shi Chong over the beauty of Shi's concubine, Lüzhu (绿珠), and framed Shi that he had conspired with Prince of Huainan, Sima Yun, who rebelled against Sima Lun. Shi Chong was subsequently executed along with his family.[1][2]

Notable anecdotes edit

Shi Chong was best known for his extravagant lifestyle. On the position as Governor of Jingzhou, Shi accumulated huge wealth by engaging in highway robbery, often murdering merchants passing by for their properties.[1] Shi Chong and Wang Kai (王恺), a consort kin, loathed each other.[3] After learning that Wang Kai's family used sugar water to clean their dishes and pots, Shi ordered his servants to burn candles instead of firewood. On the road to his manor, Wang decorated the roadside barriers with purple silk for 40 li' (ca. 15 km). On learning this, Shi covered 50 li with more expensive multicolored silk. Emperor Wu of Jin once sent Wang Kai a coral tree (Viburnum odoratissimum) two chi (ca. 50 cm) in height as a gift. Shi Chong visited him, smashed it with an iron ruyi, and offered him several coral trees 3-4 chi in height in return.[4]

References edit

  1. ^ a b 《晋书·石苞传》(Book of Jin, Volume 33, Biography of Shi Bao)
  2. ^ 《晋书·潘岳传》(Book of Jin, Volume 55, Biography of Pan Yue)
  3. ^ 《世说新语·仇隙篇》 (Shishuo Xinyu, Volume 36: Feud)
  4. ^ 《世说新语·汰侈篇》 (Shishuo Xinyu, Volume 30: Sybaritism)