An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Yin Yi Sheng 陰飴甥 or Lü Sheng 呂省

Nov 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Yin Yi Sheng 陰飴甥 (d. 636 BCE), actual name Yin Yi 陰飴, courtesy name Bujin 不金, was a nobleman in the state of Jin 晉 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE). He was made grand master (dafu 大夫) of the towns of Yin 陰 (near modern Huoxian 霍縣, Shanxi), Xia 瑕 (closeby) and Lü 呂 (near modern Linyi 臨猗, Shanxi). These names were therefore also used as his kinsnames (shi 氏).

He was a son-in-law (waisheng 外甥) of the duke of Jin was was therefore often called Yin Yi Sheng. He is also known as Xia Sheng 瑕甥, Lü Sheng 呂甥 (also written 呂省), or Xialü Yi Sheng 瑕呂飴甥. He served the dukes Hui 晉惠公 (r. 651-637) and Huai 晉懷公 (r. 637) as a high minister.

In 651, after the death of Duke Xian 晉獻公 (r. 678-651), the minister Li Ke 里克 killed the princes Xiqi 奚齊 and Daozi 悼子, so that a succession cricis broke out. Together with Xi Rui 郤芮, Yin Yi Sheng invited Prince Yiwu 夷吾 to mount the throne. They bought the support of Duke Mu of Qin 秦穆公 (r. 660-621) to have Prince Yiwu (the eventual Duke Hui) escorted from his exile in Qin back to Jin, where he was enthroned. The Duke of Qin claimed the new duke's son Prince Yu 圉 as a hostage, yet the Prince later escaped and returned to Jin.

In 645, the army of Jin was defeated by Qin 秦 in the battle of Hanyuan 韓原 (near modern Hejin 河津, Shanxi) and Duke Hui was captured by the enemy. The Duke sent out Xi Qi 郤乞 to confer with Yin Yi Sheng who assembled the ministers and nobles of Qi to undergo a redistribution of ducal land to the masses (yuantian 轅田, also written 爰田),and to recruit village militia (zhoubing 州兵). At the end of the year, Yin Yi Sheng met with Duke Mu of Qin in Wangcheng 王城 (near modern Dali 大荔, Shaanxi), submitted an offer for a peaceful alliance (meng 盟), and had Duke Hui set free.

When the Duke died, Prince Yu was enthroned (Duke Huai), yet the nobles, and also the duke of Qin, preferred Prince Chong'er 重耳, who lived in exile in Qin. Prince Yu was killed, and Prince Chong'er was escorted back to Jin and forced Duke Huai into exile. When he arrived in Gaoliang 高梁 (near modern Linfen 臨汾, Shanxi), he was killed by assassins sent by Prince Chong'er (now Duke Wen 晉文公, r. 636-628). As supporters of Duke Huai, Yin Yi Sheng and Xi Rui feared execution and rose in rebellion. With the support of the duke of Qin, the two were captured and killed.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1991). Shiji cidian 史記辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 172.
Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮, ed. (1994). Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 398.