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Chinese surname LIN
Chinese surname LIN (林)
Lin means forest or grove.
The surname Lin is over 3000 years old.
The surname Lin originated in an area referred to during the Han Dynasty
(漢朝 206BC to 220AD) as the Xi He Prefecture (西河郡). The present day
location of Xi He Prefecture is Fen Yang county (汾陽縣) of Shanxi
Shang King Zhou (商紂王), reigned 1154 BC to 1122 BC, of the Shang
Dynasty (商朝1783 BC to 1122 BC) was a clever and capable king; however,
he was also capable of great cruelty. King Zhou was also very proud, and
as such did not accept advice from anyone.
Shang King Zhou married Su Da Ji (蘇妲己) who was alledgedly the most
beautiful woman in the land. The couple neglected the welfare of the
country and they built many palaces, exhausting the resources of the
country. King Zhou would torture or kill anyone who dared to disagree
with his extravagance.
The people of Zhou Clan (周族) lived in the Wei (渭) Valley west of the
great bend in the Yellow River. The Zhou Clan was within the domain of
the Shang. The leader of the Zhou Clan, Ji Chang (姬昌), was obliged to
serve in the Shang Court as an advisor and one of his sons Ji Kao (姬考)
became his assistant.
One day Ji Chang restrain his spending; the nation was in dire financial
trouble. Enraged, imprisoned Ji Chang and had his son Ji Kao killed.
Ji Chang was released after three years and went back to his homeland
dying soon afterwards. His eldest son, Ji Fa (姬發) succeeded him as the
leader of the Zhou Clan, swore that he would kill the wicked King Zhou.
Ji Fa began to organize a land army.
Shang King Zhou's uncle, Zi Bi Gan (子比干) also advised Shang King Zhou
on the deficit. Shang King Zhou could not tolerate any nagging and had
his uncle, Zi Bi Gan killed. Chen Shi (陳氏), the wife of Zi Bi Gan,
heard that her husband was executed by Shang King Zhou, fled with a few
housemaids to the forest in the area of Mu Ye (牧野 located in the
present day region of the of Wei Hui county 衛輝縣 and Qi Xian 淇縣 of
Henan province 河南省). She was pregnant at that time. Fortunately, the
housemaids found a cave in the forest. They lived there. A few months
later Chen Shi gave birth to a baby boy and she named him Zi Jian (子堅)
Mainwhile, Ji Fa led his army and marched towards the Shang capital of
Zhao Ge (朝歌 present day Qi Xian in Henan province). Shang King Zhou
also led his army to intercept Ji Fa. A decisive battle was fought at Mu
Ye. Shang King Zhou's army were defeated and he escaped to his summer
palace and committed suicide there ending the Shang Dynasty's 660 years
reign. Ji Fa established the Zhou Dynasty (周朝1134 BC to 256 BC) and
became better known as Zhou King Wu
On hearing that Shang King Zhou was dead, Chen Shi with her young son and
the housemaids returned to Zhao Ge. Since Chen Shi was the wife of Zi Bi
Gan, an aristocrat of the preceding Dynasty, Zhou King Wu welcomed her to
live in Zhao Ge. Zhou King Wu bestowed upon Jian, the young son of Chen
Shi, the surname of Lin which means forest as he was born in the forest.
The baby boy then came to be known as Lin Jian (林堅). The descendants of
Lin Jian continued to use Lin as their surname.
CHUNG Yoon-Ngan ( 鄭 永 元 )
Copyright 1999. All rights reserved.