Qian (surname)

For the similarly romanized Chinese surname 千, see Qiān (surname).
Temple to the Qian King, a shrine to the kings of Wuyue in modern-day Hangzhou, China. Such shrines were historically commonly found throughout the former territory of Wuyue.

Qian (/ˈjæn/, simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Qián; Wade–Giles: Ch'ian²; Shanghainese: [ʑ̊i]), also spelt Chin, Chien, Tsien, or rarely Zee, is a common Chinese family name. The name literally means "money". Today, it is ranked 92nd in terms of population in mainland China. Qian is listed at the second place in the Song Dynasty text Hundred Family Surnames. As the royal surname of the kingdom of Wuyue, Qian was regarded as second only to Zhao, the imperial surname of the Song.


According to the Song dynasty book, Tongzhi, the Qian surname descends from Zhuanxu, one of the legendary Five Emperors, via Pengzu, the founder of the Peng kingdom in modern-day Jiangsu during the Shang dynasty. A Zhou dynasty official, Fu, was a descendent of Pengzu and served in the royal Treasury, the Qianfu ("Money Office"). His descendants adopted the surname "Qian", literally "money", from his title.

Being descendants of the Peng kingdom, the Qian family originally congregated around Xiapi, in modern-day Jiangsu. The surname spread from there, now has its highest concentration of it in the Jiangnan region. During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907-960), Qian Liu and his descendants ruled the independent kingdom of Wuyue in south-eastern China. Qian Liu had many sons, who were posted to different parts of his kingdom, greatly increasing the density of the Qian surname within the former territory of Wuyue. This area comprises today's Zhejiang, Shanghai, southern Jiangsu and northern Fujian. After Wuyue submitted to the Song Dynasty in 978, the last king moved to Bianjing, the Song capital in modern-day Henan. The Qian family was thereafter prominent at the Song court, with Qian Chu's son, Qian Weiyan, serving as a prominent Chancellor. During this period, the Qian family also spread to northern China.

Notable people



See also

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