Xing Yong
Minister of Ceremonies (太常)
In office
? (?)–223 (223)
MonarchCao Pi
Colonel-Director of Retainers (司隷校尉)
In office
? (?)–? (?)
MonarchCao Pi
Supervisor of the Masters of Writing
In office
220 (220)–? (?)
MonarchCao Pi
Palace Attendant (侍中)
In office
220 (220)–? (?)
MonarchCao Pi
Grand Tutor (太傅)
In office
? (?)–220 (220)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
ChancellorCao Cao
Junior Tutor of the Crown Prince
In office
? (?)–220 (220)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
ChancellorCao Cao
Personal details
Xiong County, Hebei
ChildrenXing You
Courtesy nameZi'ang (子昂)
PeerageSecondary Marquis (關內侯)

Xing Yong (died 223), courtesy name Zi'ang, was a government official of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty.[1]

Early life

Xing Yong was from Mo County (鄚縣), Hejian Commandery (河間郡), which is located south of present-day Xiong County, Hebei.[2] In his early years, he was nominated as a xiaolian (civil service candidate) by his home commandery and offered the position of an assistant official under the Minister over the Masses (司徒). However, he rejected the offer,[3] changed his name, and moved to Youbeiping Commandery (右北平郡; around present-day Tangshan, Hebei), where he met and befriended Tian Chou and travelled around with him.[4][1]

Service under Cao Cao

Five years later, around the year 207,[1] the warlord Cao Cao conquered Ji Province (covering much of present-day Hebei and parts of Shandong).[5] When Xing Yong heard about it, he told Tian Chou: "It has been over 20 years since the Yellow Turban Rebellion. The Han Empire is in a state of chaos and the people are displaced from their homes. I heard that Lord Cao upholds law and order. The people are tired of living in a chaotic era and hope that peace will be restored soon. I want to be a pioneer in all this." He then returned to Hejian Commandery. Tian Chou remarked: "Xing Yong is the first person among the common people to come to that realisation."[6]

Xing Yong sought an audience with Cao Cao and volunteered to guide Cao Cao and his army on a campaign against Yuan Shao's sons and their Wuhuan allies at Liucheng (柳城; southwest of present-day Chaoyang, Liaoning).[7] Cao Cao appointed him as an Assistant Officer (從事) in Ji Province.[1] At the time, Xing Yong was famous for his virtuous conduct.[8]

Cao Cao subsequently promoted Xing Yong to the position of Chief () of Guangzong County (廣宗縣; southeast of present-day Guangzong County, Hebei). Xing Yong resigned later when his superior, the commandery administrator, died. When other officials reported him to Cao Cao (because they saw his resignation as an irresponsible action), Cao Cao said: "Xing Yong had a close relationship with his superior. He wants to show his devout loyalty to his superior. There is no need to fault him for that."[9]

Cao Cao later summoned Xing Yong back to serve as an assistant official under him before appointing him as the Prefect () of Tang County (唐縣; northwest of present-day Shunping County, Hebei). During his tenure, Xing Yong promoted agriculture and civil culture among the county residents.[10] Some time later, Cao Cao recalled him to serve in his administrative office before reassigning him to Zuopingyi Commandery (左馮翊; around present-day Weinan, Shaanxi). Xing Yong resigned later due to illness.[11]

Around 214,[12] when Cao Cao was selecting officials to serve in the personal staffs of his sons, he said: "The personal staffs of nobles should be staffed by officials who are as familiar with rules and protocol as Xing Yong." He then appointed Xing Yong as a steward to his fourth son, Cao Zhi, who then held a marquis title.[13] As Xing Yong strictly followed the rules and protocol without exception, Cao Zhi, who was known for his unbridled behaviour, disliked Xing Yong and distanced himself from Xing Yong.[14] Liu Zhen (劉楨), another member of Cao Zhi's personal staff, wrote to Cao Zhi: "Xing Yong is one of the talents from the north. Since young, he was already known for conducting himself with virtue and morality. He is a true gentleman as he shows humble and polite behaviour, and he thinks more than he speaks. I do not think I am worthy enough to serve you alongside him. However, I have received especially generous treatment from you, while Xing Yong, in contrast, has been shunned and given the cold shoulder. I am worried that people will start criticising you for associating yourself with the non-virtuous and being disrespectful towards the virtuous, and for favouring a servant over your steward. You will be in deep trouble if such criticisms indirectly affect your father's reputation as well. I feel very uneasy when I ponder over this."[15]

Cao Cao later recalled Xing Yong to serve as a military adviser under him before reassigning him to serve in the east bureau of his office.[16] Around the time, Cao Cao had not designated one of his sons as the heir apparent to his vassal kingdom yet. His preferred choice was Cao Zhi; Cao Zhi's associates such as Ding Yi also tried to help Cao Zhi win the succession by praising him in front of Cao Cao.[17] When Cao Cao asked Xing Yong for his opinion, the latter replied: "It is against tradition to choose a younger son over an older son to be one's heir apparent. I hope that Your Highness will reconsider this carefully!"[18] Cao Cao understood what Xing Yong meant, and eventually designated his eldest surviving son, Cao Pi, as his heir apparent.[19] He then appointed Xing Yong as the Junior Tutor to the Crown Prince (太子少傅) before promoting him to Grand Tutor (太傅) later.[20][1]

Service in Wei

Cao Cao died in March 220 and was succeeded by Cao Pi as the ruler of his vassal kingdom. Later that year, Cao Pi usurped the throne from the figurehead Emperor Xian, ended the Eastern Han dynasty, and established the state of Cao Wei with himself as the new emperor.[21] After his coronation, Cao Pi appointed Xing Yong as a Palace Attendant (侍中) and Supervisor of the Masters of Writing (尚書僕射), and enfeoffed him as a Secondary Marquis (關內侯). Xing Yong was subsequently promoted to Colonel-Director of Retainers (司隷校尉) and then Minister of Ceremonies (太常).[22]

Xing Yong died in 223.[23] His son, Xing You (邢友), inherited his peerage as a Secondary Marquis.[24]


Xing Qiao (邢喬), a great-grandson of Xing Yong, had the courtesy name Zengbo (曾伯). He was known for his talent and virtuous conduct. During the Yuankang era (291–299) of the reign of Emperor Hui of the Jin dynasty, Xing Qiao served as a supervisor of the selection bureau of the imperial secretariat alongside Liu Huan (劉渙), and was promoted to Colonel-Director of Retainers (司隷校尉) shortly after.[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e de Crespigny (2007), p. 898.
  2. ^ (邢顒,字子昂,河間鄚人也。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  3. ^ (舉孝廉,司徒辟,皆不就。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  4. ^ (易姓字,適右北平,從田疇游。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  5. ^ (積五年,而太祖定兾州。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  6. ^ (顒謂疇曰:「黃巾起來二十餘年,海內鼎沸,百姓流離。今聞曹公法令嚴。民厭亂矣,亂極則平。請以身先。」遂裝還鄉里。田疇曰:「邢顒,民之先覺也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  7. ^ (乃見太祖,求為鄉導以克柳城。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  8. ^ (太祖辟顒為兾州從事,時人稱之曰:「德行堂堂邢子昂。」) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  9. ^ (除廣宗長,以故將喪棄官。有司舉正,太祖曰:「顒篤於舊君,有一致之節。勿問也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  10. ^ (更辟司空掾,除行唐令,勸民農桑,風化大行。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  11. ^ (入為丞相門下督,遷左馮翊,病,去官。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  12. ^ Sima (1084), vol. 67.
  13. ^ (是時,太祖諸子高選官屬,令曰:「侯家吏,宜得淵深法度如邢顒輩。」遂以為平原侯植家丞。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  14. ^ (顒防閑以禮,無所屈撓,由是不合。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  15. ^ (庶子劉楨書諫植曰:「家丞邢顒,北土之彥,少秉高節,玄靜澹泊,言少理多,真雅士也。楨誠不足同貫斯人,並列左右。而楨禮遇殊特,顒反疏簡,私懼觀者將謂君侯習近不肖,禮賢不足,採庶子之春華,忘家丞之秋實。為上招謗,其罪不小,以此反側。」) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  16. ^ (後參丞相軍事,轉東曹掾。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  17. ^ (初,太子未定,而臨菑侯植有寵,丁儀等並贊翼其美。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  18. ^ (太祖問顒,顒對曰:「以庶代宗,先世之戒也。願殿下深重察之!」) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  19. ^ Sima (1084), vol. 68.
  20. ^ (太祖識其意,後遂以為太子少傅,遷太傅。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  21. ^ Sima (1084), vol. 69.
  22. ^ (文帝踐阼,為侍中尚書僕射,賜爵關內侯,出為司隷校尉,徙太常。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  23. ^ (黃初四年薨。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  24. ^ (子友嗣。) Sanguozhi vol. 12.
  25. ^ (晉諸公贊曰:顒曾孫喬,字曾伯。有體量局幹,美於當世。歷清職。元康中,與劉渙俱為尚書吏部郎,稍遷至司隷校尉。) Jin Zhugong Zan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 12.