The family instructions of Ji Dan recorded in the book of documents


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The five chapters of family instruction "Announcement to the Prince of Kang", "Announcement about Drunkenness", "Timber of the Rottlera", "Against Luxurious Ease" and "Establishment of Government" attributed to Ji Dan in the Book of Documents are studied with reference to the political and social context of the Western Zhou period. In these chapters, Prince Kang and King Cheng of Zhou are reminded by Ji Dan to develop personal quality such as cultivation of virtue, modelling of exemplar Shang kings and observance of clan seniors' instructions as well as rule the people by education, law and punishment, virtuous officials, and caring strategies. These family instructions which may be updated or created in the late Western Zhou are based on the beliefs "observe the will of Heaven" and "love the people" aiming to sustain and pass on the family-held sovereignty. A framework of family sustainability is constructed accordingly with reference to ethical concepts of filial piety and paternal concern. This framework can be extended from the royal family instruction to other social classes as sustainability of family is the major responsibility of Chinese while cultivation of virtue and development of administrative skills are still two key areas of education for Chinese. Copyright © 2014 Canadian Center of Science and Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-249
JournalAsian Culture and History
Issue number1
Early online dateDec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Tong, H.-k. (2015). The family instructions of Ji Dan recorded in the book of documents. Asian Culture and History, 7(1), 240-249.


  • Family instmction
  • Family sustainability
  • Ji Dan
  • Book of documents
  • Western Zhou period


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