An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Pang Nuan 龐煖

Mar 6, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Pang Nuan 龐煖 (some authors believe he was identical with the diplomatist Feng Xuan 馮諼 (Feng Nuan 馮煖 or Feng Huan 馮驩), was a general of the state of Zhao 趙 during the late Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE), and allegedly a disciple of Master Guiguzi 鬼谷子.

In 242, he was made commander in the campaign against Yan 燕 and killed general Ju Xin 劇辛. A year later, he was supreme commander of the joint forces of the allies Zhao, Chu 楚, Wei 魏, Han 韓, and Yan against the "outlaw" Qin 秦. This was the last unified force of the Warring States period, and it pushed Qin back to the town of Zui 蕞 (today's Lintong 臨潼, Shaanxi), without being able to take it. Thereafter, Pang Nuan commanded the army of Zhao against Qi 齊 and conquered the town of Rao'an 饒安 (Yanshan 鹽山, Hebei). He also conquered two towns of Yan 燕, namely Li 狸 (Renqiu 任丘, Hebei), and Yangcheng 陽城 (Tangxian 唐縣, Hebei).

Pang Nuan wrote a military treatise of 3 chapters called Pang Nuan 龐煖 that is listed in the imperial bibliography Yiwen zhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history 漢書 Hanshu. It is long lost, but part of the content might be preserved in the book Heguanzi 鹖冠子 (Liu 1996). In this text, Pang explains that a general should obey the Way and unite all men under arms (shun dao he ren 順道合人), follow strategic advantages and weigh up one's chances (yin shi yong quan 因勢用權). In this way, state and military would avoid the use of force: Planning and preparation was the superior plan, diplomacy the second choice, and war the worst (taishang yong jimou, qi ci yin renshi, qi xia zhanke 太上用計謀,其次因人事,其下戰克). The superior leader would bewilder the ruler of an inimical state, change the customs and habit of his population, bribe his officials, and disturb his sense for right and wrong. This achieved, a foreign state was ripe for attack.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. Shiji cidian 史記辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 814.
Liu Qing 劉慶 (1996). "Pang Nuan 龐煖", in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升, ed. Zhuzi baijia daidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 37.
Zhang Jianhua 張建華, ed. (1996). Handan cidian 邯鄲辭典 (Beijing: Kexue puji chubanshe), 394.
Zhang Ke 張克, Huang Kangbo 黃康白, Huang Fangdong 黃方東, ed. (1991). Shiji renwu cidian 史記人物辭典 (Nanning: Guangxi renmin chubanshe), 218.
Zhang Huizhi 張撝之, Shen Qiwei 沈起煒, Liu Dezhong 劉德重, ed. (1999). Zhongguo lidai renming da cidian 中國歷代人名大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1557.
Zhang Zixiu 張自修 (2000). "Pang Nuan 龐煖", in Zhonghua Qin wenhua cidian bianweihui 《中華秦文化辭典》編委會, ed. Zhonghua Qin wenhua cidian 中華秦文化辭典 (Xi'an: Xibei daxue chubanshe), 154.