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Wenzhou has a history of more than 4,000 years, creating a profound and brilliant culture. Once called Yongjia Prefecture in the ancient China, Wenzhou has given birth to many outstanding people and great scholars, who have exerted significant influence in the history of Chinese philosophy, literature and science, such as Liu Ji, Zhang Cong, Wang Shipeng, Xia Nai, Sun Yirang, Ye Shi and Su Buqing etc.

Wenzhou is the originating place of China’s landscape poetry, the founder of which, Xie Lingyun, was the governor of the then Yongjia Prefecture in the Southern Dynasty. In the Southern Song Dynasty, there were four distinguished poets, Zhao Shixiu, Xu Ji, Xu Zhao and Wen Juan from Yongjia Prefecture, representing the School of the Rivers and Lakes. In addition, Wenzhou is also the birthplace of China’s Mercantilism. From the Southern Song Dynasty, in contrast to the Confucianism represented by Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan in China urging people to study to be officials in the future, the theory of Wenzhou’s Yongjia School represented by Ye Shi, emphasized the importance of business. The theory has an enduring impact on the mindset of Wenzhou natives and has become the cultural gene in the economic development of Wenzhou ever since.

wenzhou xie lingyun

Xie Linyun

  wenzhou wang shipeng  

Wang Shipeng 

  wenzhou ye shi

Ye Shi 

  wenzhou liu ji

Liu Ji 

  wenzhou zhang cong 

Zhang Cong 

  wenzhou sun yirang 

Sun Yirang 

wenzhou zheng zhenduo   

Zheng Zhenduo

  wenzhou xia chengtao   

Xia Chengtao

  wenzhou xia nai

Xia Nai

  wenzhou su buqing

Su Buqing

  wenzhou nan huaijin 

Nan Huaijin

  wenzhou gu chaohao

Gu Chaohao

Wenzhou has a history of more than 4,000 years, creating a profound and brilliant culture. Once called Yongjia Prefecture in the ancient China, Wenzhou has given birth to many outstanding people and great scholars, who have exerted significant influence in the history of Chinese philosophy, literature and science, such as Liu Ji, Zhang Cong, Wang Shipeng, Xia Nai, Sun Yirang, Ye Shi and Su Buqing etc.

Wenzhou is the originating place of China’s landscape poetry, the founder of which, Xie Lingyun, was the governor of the then Yongjia Prefecture in the Southern Dynasty. In the Southern Song Dynasty, there were four distinguished poets, Zhao Shixiu, Xu Ji, Xu Zhao and Wen Juan from Yongjia Prefecture, representing the School of the Rivers and Lakes. In addition, Wenzhou is also the birthplace of China’s Mercantilism. From the Southern Song Dynasty, in contrast to the Confucianism represented by Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan in China urging people to study to be officials in the future, the theory of Wenzhou’s Yongjia School represented by Ye Shi, emphasized the importance of business. The theory has an enduring impact on the mindset of Wenzhou natives and has become the cultural gene in the economic development of Wenzhou ever since.

wenzhou xie lingyun

Xie Linyun

  wenzhou wang shipeng  

Wang Shipeng 

  wenzhou ye shi

Ye Shi 

  wenzhou liu ji

Liu Ji 

  wenzhou zhang cong 

Zhang Cong 

  wenzhou sun yirang 

Sun Yirang 

wenzhou zheng zhenduo   

Zheng Zhenduo

  wenzhou xia chengtao   

Xia Chengtao

  wenzhou xia nai

Xia Nai

  wenzhou su buqing

Su Buqing

  wenzhou nan huaijin 

Nan Huaijin

  wenzhou gu chaohao

Gu Chaohao

Xie Linyun | Wang Shipeng | Ye Shi | Liu Ji

Xie Lingyun (谢灵运 385-433), also known as the Duke of Kangle, a Wenzhou governor in the old times, was one of the foremost Chinese poets in the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Born in Shangyu, Zhejiang Province, Xie once served as an official in the Eastern Jin and Liu Song dynasties, but factional intrigues led to his dismissal and exile. Xie was a devout Buddhist and was considered a nature or landscape poet focusing on the "mountain and streams" instead of "field and garden" landscapes. His poetry is allusive and complex.


Wang Shipeng (王十朋 1114-1171), born in Wenzhou in the Southern Song Dynasty, gained his jinshi degree (a type of degree offered by the ancient Chinese imperial examination) in 1157 and was appointed assistant in the Palace Library. In an attempt to help recover the land invaded and lost to the Jurchens in the north, Wang presented several reform proposals to the emperor, but all were rejected. His concern for the dynasty was also shown in his poetry, collected in Meixi Ji, collected writings of Meixi, which expressed his political ideal of spreading the superior's beneficence and showing solicitude to the common people.


Ye Shi (叶适 1150-1223), a neo-Confucianism scholar of the Southern Song Dynasty. As a native of Wenzhou, he was the most famous figure of the Yongjia School, a neo-Confucianism School composed mostly of philosophers from Yongjia Prefecture, today’s Wenzhou. In contrast to other neo-Confucianism scholars in the same period like Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan, he stressed practical learning to apply Confucian doctrine to real world problems. This school had an important influence on later philosophers from Zhejiang province, including Wang Shouren and Huang Zongxi, who were the most important philosophers in the Ming and Qing periods.


Liu Ji (刘基 1311-1375), born in Wencheng County in Wenzhou, was a Chinese military strategist, officer, statesman and poet of the late Yuan and early Ming dynasty. He was the main advisor to the Yuan Dynasty rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang (1328-1398), who later became the first Ming Emperor. Liu Ji is also known for his prophecies, as he has been described as the Chinese Nostradamus. With his contemporary general and scholar Jiao Yu, he was one of the co-editors of the military treatise known as the Huolongjing, as well as co-edited Zhuge Liang's Mastering the Art of War book.

Zhang Cong | Sun Yirang | Zheng Zhenduo | Xia Chengtao

Zhang Cong (张璁 1475-1539), born in Wenzhou, was a senior official of the Jiajing reign period in the Ming Dynasty. He was a key role in the famous conflict known as Great Rites Controversy to support the Ming emperor Shizong. Also, he was one of the major initiators and advocators of the reforms during the reign of Emperor Jiajing.


Sun Yirang (孙诒让 1848-1908) was a Chinese philologist in the late Qing Dynasty. A native of Wenzhou, he retired from official employment early in his life to devote himself to scholarship. His most important works are Mozi Jiangu, a corrected, definitive edition of Mozi, and Zhouli Zhengyi, an important commentary on the Rites of Zhou. He also contributed to the studies of the bronzeware script and oracle script. His work Qiwen Juli, published posthumously by Luo Zhenyu, was the first work of decipherment of the oracle bone script.


Zheng Zhenduo (郑振铎 1898-1958), was a journalist, a writer, an archeologist and a literature scholar. He made a significant contribution towards the establishment of the Chinese literature and the editing of a variety of literary magazines. During China’s war against Japan, he retained in Shanghai to continue upholding the progress of cultural work. After the establishment of the new China, he was appointed to be head of the archaeology research institute of the Chinese Academy of Science, assistant minister of the Culture Ministry, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences etc. He died in the plane crash in the Soviet Union during his journey in 1958.


Xia Chengtao (夏承焘 1900-1986), a Wenzhou native, is a pioneer and founder of China’s modern Ci poetry, which is a traditional poetic form of Chinese lyric poetry originating from the Tang Dynasty and thriving in the Song Dynasty. He devoted his whole life into the study and teaching of Ci poetry and his classic writings about China’s Ci poetry are considered a milestone in the history of Chinese Ci poetry.

Xia Nai | Su Buqing | Nan Huaijin | Gu Chaohao

Xia Nai (夏鼐 1910-1985), born in Wenzhou, was a Chinese archaeologist. He majored in economic history at the elite Tsinghua University in Beijing, winning a scholarship to study abroad. He returned to China, joining the staff of the Central Museum and then in 1944 the Department of Archaeology of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica (1943-1949). When the Institute moved to Taiwan in 1949, Xia stayed in the mainland of China, and joined the Chinese Academy of Sciences, eventually becoming director of its Institute of Archaeology. Thanks to his contributions to archaeology, he was one of the most honoured Chinese scholars, receiving memberships from the British Academy, the Swedish Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities, and the U.S. Academy of Sciences.


Su Buqing (苏步青 1902-2003) was a Chinese mathematician and educator, born in Pingyang County, Wenzhou. He graduated from Tohoku Imperial University in Japan in 1927 and received his Ph.D. from the University in 1931. He returned to China after his study in Japan, first served as a professor and dean at Zhejiang University, and later as a professor and president and honorary president of Fudan University. He was honorary chairman of the Chinese Mathematical Society and elected to Academia Sinica and Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1948 and 1955 respectively. Together with Hua Luogeng, they were the most influential figures in mathematical society of the modern China.


Nan Huaijin (南怀瑾 1918-2012) was born in Yueqing City of Wenzhou. He is considered as a master in Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and other classic philosophies. In his youth, he studied various Confucian and Taoist works and learned Chinese martial arts. Later, he became a military commander and a teacher in several universities. After 1949, he moved to Taiwan after the establishment of the new China to be a well-known professor and writer. His writings help in the revival of Chinese traditional Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Also, Nan Huaijin played an important role in helping Wenzhou to build its first railway, one connecting Wenzhou and Jinhua.


Gu Chaohao (谷超豪), born in Wenzhou, is a Chinese mathematician. He graduated from National Chekiang University (Zhejiang University) in 1948, and received a doctorate degree in physics and mathematical science from Moscow University in 1959. He is primarily engaged in the research on partial differential equation, differential geometry, and mathematical physics. He served as vice president of Fudan University and from 1988 to 1993 president of the University of Science and Technology of China. In 1980, he was elected an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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