Xie families, whose surname ranks No.24 in China as to the population, take up 0.27% of the Han people of China nowadays. As recorded, Yuyang, a son of Yellow Emperor, was bestowed a land at Ren, thus taking the name of the place as his surname. Yuyang’s offspring established ten kingdoms, the first of which being Kingdom Xie. Its capital was located in Tanghe County. Kingdom Xie was eliminated in the end of the Zhou Dynasty, leaving the first group of people surnamed Xie. Therefore, Tanghe was the earliest native place of Xie families. Later, Kingdom Shen was established on the ruins of Kingdom Xie, its capital Shencheng being also called Xieyi (now Nanyang of Henan). After Kingdom Shen was eliminated by Kingdom Chu in 688 B.C., people there took name of the capital —“Xie” as their surname. Thereafter, the second group of people surnamed Xie appeared. Their ancestral home is located at Dushan, Wolong District of Nanyang City, Henan Province.
The booming period of Xie families lasted from the Three Kingdoms Period to South Dynasties, a period of over 360 years, especially in the Eastern Jin Dynasty when the royal power was under the control of Xie families and Wang families. Even a new word of “Wangxie” was coined, referring to aristocrat families of great power and fame. Most Xie celebrities, such as the famous Eastern Jin ministers of Xie’an and Xiexuan, appeared during this period. Since their ancestral homes were generally located at Yangxia (now Taikang of Henan), generations of their offspring considered Yangxia as their ancestral home too. Now Xie families can be found almost everywhere in China, some of them moving abroad.
Xie Lingyun: the poet of landscape
Xie Lingyun, whose home was firstly located in Yangxia (now Taikang of Henan) then moved to the southern China, was born on the tenth year of Taiyuan period of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (385 A.D.). Well educated by a famous teacher since quite young, Lingyun was learned and well-known in southern China for his excellence of writing. He was the grandson of Xiexuan, a famed general who had commanded the famous Campaign of Feishui.
First appointed royal secretary then a royal aide, he sorted out the collected books of the court and wrote the book of Jinshu (History of Jin Dynasty).
Rich in knowledge and culture, he composed lots of works, with 21 categories recorded, most of them being lost. The Daban Niepan (The Great Nirvana), more than 90 poems and four volumes of essays could still be found today. However, his achievements were mostly established on poems, especially on the poems of landscapes. He was the first poet who abandoned the poem style of pedantry and created the poem school of landscapes.
Xie Xuan: the glorious military star of the Eastern Jin Dynasty
Xie Xuan (343 – 388 A.D.) was born in an aristocrat family in Yangxia (now Taikang of Henan) in the Jin Dynasty. Campaign of Feishui, a famous battle commanded by Xie Xuan, was laurelled as one of the classics of beating a powerful enemy with little force with his unmatched military talents, thus making Xie Xuan a glorious star among militarists.
Being smart and diligent, Xie Xuan showed his talents when young, especially in military strategies. In August, 383 A.D., King Fujian attacked Eastern Jin with an army of nearly a million soldiers. As the vanguard director, Xie Xuan resisted the attack of the main force of the enemy which was ten times in quantity successfully with his proper strategy of defense and attack. At the Feishui River, he brought the enemy to a state of chaos by luring them to retreat, and then grasped the opportunity to attack, eliminating them all at one strike, setting up a glorious example of winning a strong enemy with weaker troops.