Author: CHUNG Yoon Ngan
Date: 04-10-12 06:06
中國姓氏故事 - 馬姓
天堂有路無人到,---Tian tang2 you3 lu4 wu2 ren2 dao4,
牢門緊閉有人敲.---Lao2 men2 jin3 bi4 you3 ren2 qiao.
There are roads to heaven and no one has been there,
The prison door is tightly closed yet there are people knocking at it.
A Chinese proverb
Surname MA (馬姓)
Ma means: horse.
The surname Ma is about 2,200 years old.
The surname Ma originated in an area referred to during the Han Dynasty
(漢朝 206BC to 220AD) as the Fufeng prefecture (扶風郡). The present day
location of Fufeng prefecture is in Xianyang county (咸陽縣 108.5 degree
East and 34.2 degree North on the world map) of Shaanxi province (陜西省
It was during the Zhou Dynasty (周朝1134BC to 256BC) that, in 453BC, the
State of Jin (晉國 in the present day county of Yicheng 翼城縣 in Shanxi
province 山西省), was carved up by the three most powerful families in the
State, namely: the families of Zhao (趙), the Wei (魏) and the Han (韓).
Zhao Wuxu (趙無卹) was the leader of the Zhao family and he established
his administrative office in Handan (邯鄲 the present day city of Handan
in Hebei province 河北省). In 433BC, Zhou King Kao (周考王), the 31st King
of the Zhou Dynasty, the central ruler of the land, approved and recognized
Zhao Wuxu to found a State called the State of Zhao (趙國). Zhou King Kao
also agreed the families of Wei and Han to established their States called
the State of Wei (魏國) and State of Han (韓國). China entered the period
of Warring States (戰國時代 453BC to 221BC).
In 298BC, Zhao He (趙何) became the ruler of the State of Zhao. Zhao She,
(趙奢) was one of the many sons of Zhao He and was employed as a land tax
collector. Although he was not holding a high and powerful position, Zhao
She carried out his duties according to the law.
There was a very powerful aristocrat by the name of Zhao Sheng (趙勝) who
refused to pay any land tax. In order to avoid punishing Zhao Sheng personally,
Zhao She arrested the nine administrators who kept accounts for the Zhao
Sheng family. Zhoa Sheng was very angry and wanted to kill Zhao She. However,
instead Zhao She scolded him for not upholding the law of the State. Zhao
She also reminded Zhao Sheng that as an aristocrat he should show an example
in abiding by the law and not infringing on it lest the State would perish.
Zhao Sheng realized that he was wrong and he not only apologized to Zhao
She but also recommended him to the ruler for promotion. Zhao She was promoted
as the land tax collector of the whole State.
In 271BC, the State of Qin (秦國 in present day county of Fengxiang 鳳翔
縣 in Shaanxi province 陝西省) sent a large army to attack Zhao. The Zhao
army were no match with the powerful army of the State of Qin, which captured
a large part of the Zhao territory. The Qin forces were approaching Eyu,
(閼與 in the present day county of Heshun 和順縣 in Shanxi province), which
was very far from the Zhao capital of Handan. At that time the commander-in-chief
of the Zhao forces was Lian Po (廉頗) who recommended to the ruler of Zhao
to abandon Eyu as it was too far to send reinforcement. Besides the road
to Eyu was narrow and winding. Zhao She told the Zhao ruler and the commander-
in-chief that when two armies of Zhao and Qin would be fighting in a narrow
and winding road, they were like two rats fighting in a little hold with
not much room to maneuver. The brave and stronger one would win.
Zhao He, the ruler of Zhao, then appointed Zhao She to lead a reinforcing
army to rescue Eyu. With determination and bravely Zhao She defeated the
Qin forces. The ruler of Zhao rewarded Zhao She the administrator of a
district called Mafu (馬服 in present day region north of the city of Han
Dan in Hebei province).
Eventually in 228BC, the State of Zhao was subjugated by the State of Qin.
The offspring of Zhao She adopted MA (馬), the first word of the district
Mafu, as their surname.
Prominent persons produced by the Ma clan
(1) Ma Liang (馬良 187AD to 222AD)
Ma Liang was born in Xiangyang of Yicheng (襄陽宜城 in the present day city
of Yicheng in Hubei province 湖北省) during the period of the Three Kingdoms
(三國時代 220AD to 265AD). He was a famous scholar and he had white eyebrows
. His four other brothers were all scholars too.
This was what the people said about the five Ma brothers.
馬氏五常,---Ma shi4 wu3 chang2,
白毛最良.---Bai2 mao2 zui4 liang2
There are five brothers, all scholars, in the family of Ma,
The most outstanding one is the one with white eyebrows.
(2) Ma Dai (馬戴 799AD to 869AD)
He passed the Imperial Examinations during the reign of Emperor Wu Zong
Li Yan (武宗皇帝李炎 841AD to 846AD) and was appointed as an official. He
was also a poet. This is his famous poem.
灞上秋居 Bashang[1A] Qiu Ju
(Staying at upper Ba River during autumn)
灞原風雨定,---Ba yuan2 feng yu3 ding4,
晚見雁行頻.---Wan3 jian4 yan4 hang2 pin2.
落葉他鄉樹,---Luo4 ye4 ta xiang shu4,
寒燈獨夜人.---Han2 deng du2 ye4 ren2.
空園白露滴,---Kong yuan2 bai2 lu4 di,
孤壁野僧鄰.---Gu bi4 ye3 seng lin2.
寄臥郊扉久,---Ji4 wo4 jiao fei jiu3,
何時致此身?--He2 shi2 zhi4 ci3 shen?
The explanations in plain Chinese and English.
(1) 在灞原地方, 風和雨已經平定了,
After the shower at Bashang,
(2) 到暮晚時候, 常常看見成行的鴻雁飛來飛去.
In the evening, I often see a line of wild geese flying about.
I see the tree leaves falling in the autumn in this place far away from
(4) 冷淒淒的燈光, 照著我一個孤單單夜裏坐著的人.
A lantern's cold gleam shines on me, sitting alone in the night,
(5) 空曠的園中, 滴下白色的露水,
An empty garden, white with dew,
(6) 孤零零的牆外, 有鄉野裏的和尚做我鄰居.
The ruined wall of a neighbouring monastery.
(7) 我在這郊野的門裏, 寄宿得好久了.
I have been living in this remote place for a long time,
For how long I have to wait before I would go and serve the country?
[1A] Bashang 灞上
Bashang means in the upper river of Ba (灞 or 灞水) which is in Lantian
county (藍田縣) in Shaanxi province (陜西省).
(3) Ma Teng (馬騰 ?? to 211AD)
Ma Teng was alive lduring the period of Three Kingdom (三國時代 220AD to
One day, Cao Cao (曹操 155AD to 220AD) obtained information that Liu Bei
(劉備 161AD to 223AD) ordered Zhuge Liang (諸葛亮 181AD to 234AD) and Pang
Tong (龐統 179AD to 214AD) to recruit men and buy horses and to train them
to enlarge Liu Bei army preparing to march north to go on a punitive expedition
against Cao Cao. Cao Cao called all his advisers and had a meeting was to
discuss how to deal with the threat by Liu Bei.
Sun You (荀攸) suggested that they should attack Sun Quan (孫權) in the
east before attacking Liu Bei. Since Zhou Yu (周瑜) passed away Sun Quan
was without a good adviser and his Administration bound to be in disarray.
Cao Cao disagreed and said that if his army were to march to attack Sun
Quan, Ma Teng (馬騰) in the west would take the opportunity to conquer his
home base while he was away. Sun You made a suggestion to Cao Cao that he
should write a letter to invite Ma Teng to come to the capital and while
he was here he (Cao Cao) should have Ma Teng killed. Cao Cao agreed.
When Ma Teng received the Imperial Edict sent by Cao Cao, his eldest son
Ma Chao (馬超) said:
"Cao Cao is using the Emperor's name to order father to go to the capital.
If father wouldn't go father would be regarded as insubordinate and father
would have to face the consequences. Father could go and take this opportunity
and have Cao Cao killed, when father arrives at the capital."
Ma Dai (馬岱), the nephew of Ma Teng, quickly told his uncle:
"Uncle, you cannot go because Cao Cao harbours dark designs (心懷叵測).
If uncle falls into his crafty plot he would be killed by Cao Cao."
Ma Teng contemplated for sometime and finally he decided to go and leave
his eldest son Ma Chao to stay behind to take care of things in Xiliang
(西涼 present day Dunhuang 敦煌 in Gansu province 甘肅省). He took along
his sons Ma Xiu (馬休), Ma Tie (馬鐵) and his nephew Ma Dai. In no time,
they were on their way to the capital Xuchang (許昌).
When they arrived at outside the walled city of Xuchang, Ma Teng met his
friend, Huang Kui (黃奎) who was a commander. Ma Teng and Huang Kui planned
to have Cao Cao killed. Unfortunately, their plan was leaked to Miao Ze
(苗擇), the younger brother of Huang Kui's wife. Miao Ze told Cao Cao about
their plan of killing him. Eventually, Cao Cao turned the plot by Ma Teng
and Huang Kui against them and had them killed.
Surname MA (馬) is the 14th most common Chinese surname in the world.
Posted to asiawind.com
By CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)