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RE: Surname Story - Ancestral Liu's Dragonburger
Dear CHUNG Yoon-Ngan,
I admire your effort in compiling and publishing surname stories. Although
I did not follow every message you sent, I believe that I have not seen the
story of my surname 'Liu2', Cantonese
spell it as 'Lau3', Fujianese/Taiwanese pronounce it as 'Lau2'. I would
like to chip in a story based on my genealogy.
Ancestral Liu's Dragonburger
(This was originally posted in a forum discussing cuisine. Thought all the
Liu's might be interested in it.)
.....Now's my turn to present a dish from Liu's ancestor.
My uncle passed me a copy of "Liu's Genealogy" which was published in
Japanese Colonial days, in the 8th year of Shorwa (in Mandarin "ZhaoHe"),
1933, in Taipei. The older part of the contents was edited in Song Dynasty
and prefaced in 1055 by Su Hsun, Su DongPo's father, and in 1194 by Chu Hsi,
the famed Confucianist. The portrait page was inscribed in 1259 by Wen
TienHsiang, the last Song prime minister unsurrendering to Kublai Khan. A
poem endorsing the Ming Dynasty revision was written by Liu Ji (Liu BoWen),
Chief Counselor of Ming TaiZu, Chu YuanZhang, who was the founding Emperor
of Ming. So how would you think of its credibility?
Well, the Liu's family started circa 2200 B.C. when Emperor Yao had his 1st
son JianMing. The prince died before inheriting the throne but left a son
YongHe. In history, Emperor Yao has been highly praised for passing the
throne to an able person outside the royal family, Shun. Emperor Shun
enfeoffed the Territory of Liu to Yao's grandson, YongHe who then changed
his surname to the feudatory name, Liu. He became 2nd generation of the
Liu's. His father, Liu JianMing was recognized posthumously as 1st
generation founding father. (I'll use 1G, 2G, etc. for the generation
Emperor Shun also passed the throne ca 2100 B.C. to the blood unrelated Yu
who had spent 9 years controlling flood successfully. Because of Yu,
ancient Chinese didn't have to build Noah's Ark and in gratitude they wanted
Yu's descendants to inherit the throne. Yao and Shun's tradition was broken
and the lineal Hsia Dynasty started. The Liu's still lived in the capital,
PingYang County of now Shanxi Province. So 18G Liu Lei was serving the 14th
Hsia Emperor, KongJia, who reigned 1879 B.C. - 1848 B.C. The last emperor
of Hsia, Jie, was the 17th and fell to Shang Dynasty ca 1700 B.C.
One day a male and a female dragon dropped from heaven to Emperor KongJia's
court. His Empress liked to keep them as her pet but no one knew how to
raise dragon. Liu Lei happened to learn it from the Tribe of Dragon Ranch.
So he fed the dragons and Empress was so pleased as to grant him Marquis of
Later the female dragon died. Liu Lei used it to make "Dragonburger" and
presented it to the Empress. Her Majesty loved it so much and asked for
more. Liu Lei didn't want to kill the male dragon and hastily escaped to
RuZhou in now Henan Province. This place must be near northern part of
Jiangsu Province. Liu Lei died at age 107 and was buried in Pei County.
Pei Hsien was where about 1600 years later, in 257 B.C., born Liu Bang, 75G
of the Liu's and the founding Emperor of Han Dynasty whose two lineage's
continued from 206 B.C. to 220 A.D. Interestingly, Jesus Christ happened to
be in the era of the short-lived New Dynasty which was established after
Wang Mang, Han's prime minister, rebelled and interrupted Liu's reign to
West and East Han's. Also worth mentioning during this period, King of
HuaiNan, Liu An, invented Tofu.
*(The Liu's should know that during this era many normads from North, mainly
Huns (XiongNu), surrendered and later were assimilated to Han culture. The
Emperor customarily granted his own surname 'Liu' to those tribal nobles as
a great honor. So there have been quite a percentage of normadic blood
among Liu's, one of the ten most populous Chinese names. Same situation
happened to another big name, Lee of Tang Dynasty. So I would stay away
from the 'Hakka is the purist Han Chinese' debate. Ha ha..)*
Near the end of East Han era, 95G Liu Bei of a distant royal family became
the main character in the all-time Chinese Classic "Romance of Three
Kingdoms". There are too many legends about the royal and branch families
of Liu that I have to tell you next time. Aren't they greater than Greek
myths for your kids' bed time story?
I haven't figured out if I were 150 or 160+G. Liu's lineage was not
recorded well near the end of South Song era because of invasion of
Mongolians. Many branch families spread out southward and generation
numbering became untraceable. One branch went down Jiangxi, Fujian,
Guangdong (Canton) and Taiwan. Final finally, Al Liu in California, U.S.A.