For other Chinese surnames also romanized as "Ji", see Ji (surname).
Ji (姬)
Language(s) Chinese
Language(s) Old Chinese
Chinese name
Korean name

() was the ancestral name of the Zhou dynasty which ruled China between the 11th and 3rd centuries BC. Thirty-nine members of the family ruled China during this period while many others ruled as local lords, lords who eventually gained great autonomy during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods. Ji is a relatively uncommon surname in modern China, largely because its bearers often adopted the names of their states as new surnames.

The character is composed of the radicals (Old Chinese: nra, "woman") and 𦣞 (OC: ɢ(r)ə, "chin").[1] It is most likely a phono-semantic compound, with nra common in the earliest Zhou-era family names and ɢ(r)ə marking a rhyme of (OC: K(r)ə).[1]

The legendary and historical record shows the Zhou Ji clan closely entwined with the Jiang (), who seem to have provided many of the Ji lords' high-ranking spouses.[2] A popular theory in recent Chinese scholarship has suggested that they represented two important clans the Ji originally centered on the Fen River in Shanxi and the Jiang around the Wen River in Shaanxi whose union produced the Zhou state ruled by Old Duke Danfu, although the theory remains problematic.[2]

Ancient rulers with the surname

Other notable people


  1. 1 2 Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. "Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction". Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. (1.93 MB), pp. 61, 106, & 175. 2011. Accessed 11 October 2011.
  2. 1 2 Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (2000). "Ji 姬 and Jiang 姜: The Role of Exogamic Clans in the Organization of the Zhou Polity" (PDF). Early China (25). Retrieved 13 March 2014.
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