Encyclopedia: Meng Zong

Meng Zong (Gongwu); Mêng Tsung (Kung-wu); 孟宗 (恭武)

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You are viewing the profile of Meng Zong (孟宗), styled Gongwu (恭武), born in Meng County, Jiangxia commandery, Jing Province (Present-day Yunmeng county, Hubei province). “One of the 24 paragons of filial piety, almost executed for leaving post to attend funeral.” Meng Zong was affiliated with and the Wu Kingdom. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Meng Zong (Gongwu) 孟宗 (恭武)

Lived: AD ?–271

None Available

Served: Wu

One of the 24 paragons of filial piety, almost executed for leaving post to attend funeral.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Mêng Tsung (Kung-wu)
Simplified Chinese: 孟宗 (恭武)
Pronunciation: Meng4 Zong1 (Gong1wu3)
Cantonese (Yale): Maang Jung (Gung-mou)
Cantonese (Jyutpin): Maang Zung (Gung-mou)
Min-Nan: Beng Ceng (Bun-bu)

Birthplace: Meng County, Jiangxia commandery, Jing Province
(Present-day Yunmeng county, Hubei province)

Other Names: Meng Ren, Meng Hao

Name Notes: Originally named Meng Ren (孟仁).

Rank and Titles

Adviser to the Army, Major, Magistrate of Wu County, Minister of the Household, Right Imperial Counselor, Minister of Works

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 113

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Meng Zong was also known as Meng Ren. He was originally named Meng Hao but changed his name to avoid the taboo of having the same name as Emperor Sun Hao. He was from Meng county in Jiangxia commandery, Jing Province. Meng Zong became known for his filial piety and is famous for a story in which his tears gave life to bamboo shoots. He is remembered as one of the 24 Paragons of Filial Piety. He served the state of Wu as Grand Minister [dachen 大臣] and Minister of Works [sikong 司空].

In his youth, Meng Zong studied with Li Su of Nanyang. Li Su was amazed by Meng Zong because he could spend the whole day and night reading without any difficulty. Meng Zong later held positions with as the Adviser to the Army [canjunshi 參軍事] under the general Zhu Ju, as well as the Major [sima 司馬] of Yanchi and Magistrate of Wu.

In 237, Sun Quan commanded that officials could not abandon their posts in order to return home for funerals, and those who violated this rule would be executed. However, Meng Zong later abandoned his position for this reason. He subsequently delayed his return to court in order to deal with a criminal in Wuchang. Lu Xun defended Meng Zong and pleaded that Sun Quan be lenient with him, saying that his actions were motivated by filial piety. Sun Quan was persuaded to pardon Meng Zong and henceforth showed him preferential treatment.

Meng Zong was nominated for office once again and eventually became Minister of the Household [guangluxun 光祿勳]. After five years in Yong’an, he became the Right Imperial Counselor [you yushi dafu 右御史大夫] and later joined the Chancellor’s office. In 268, he was made Minister of Works [sikong 司空]. He died in 271 and was buried in Wuchang.

During his lifetime, Meng Zong became famous for his filial piety, and numerous examples of his piousness are recorded.

1: When Meng Zong was assigned to be Zhu Ju’s Adviser to the Army [canjunshi 參軍事], his parents came to stay with him in the camp. However, Meng Zong was not very wealthy at the time and their small cabin leaked when it rained. Meng Zong was moved to tears because he felt that he was not adequately providing ofr his parents and begged their forgiveness. His mother comforted him and urged him not to cry. When Zhu Ju heard about this, he recommended that meng Zong be promoted to Major [sima 司馬] of Yanchi.

2: While Major [sima 司馬] of Yanchi, Meng Zong often went fishing personally instead of making a subordinate do it for him. He personally salted the fish to preserve them and sent them to his parents. However, his mother would always return the fish so that Meng Zong’s superiors did not think he was stealing army supplies.

3: Meng Zong could not bring his family with him when he became the Magistrate of Wuxian. So whenever he received food, he would first send some to his mother before eating.

4: One anecdote says Meng Zong’s mother was greatly fond of bamboo. One winter, she desired some, but it had not yet grown. Meng Zong searched but was unable to find any bamboo in the forest, so he wept. At his tears, bamboo suddenly began to sprout, so he was able to harvest it and bring it to his mother. It was said that his filial piety moved the heavens.

5: At the time of Meng Zong’s mother’s death, Sun Quan’s order that officials were not to abandon their posts to attend funerals was still in full effect. Meng Zong expected to be executed for doing so, but he abandoned his position to attend his mother’s funeral anyway.



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May 13, 2014