Fan Zhongyan

Fan Zhongyan was a Song Dynasty official, known for being the first to establish a "charitable estate," a collective group of members of his lineage who would work together to benefit fellow members of the lineage, and to work to ensure the strength, prosperity, and continuation of the lineage, even among very distant relatives. This was a pattern, or practice, which was soon taken up by other Chinese families, and which eventually became a rather widespread and common practice.

He is also known for saying that a true Confucian is "one who is first in worrying about the world's troubles and last in enjoying its pleasures." Along with Wang Anshi, he is counted among the chief figures in the "Old Culture" (Gǔwén) movement, which focused on the transformation of society through arts, literature, and cultured attitudes.[1]


  • Patricia Ebrey, Chinese Civilization, Second Edition, New York: The Free Press (1993), 155.
  1. Conrad Schirokauer, et al, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, Fourth Edition, Cengage Learning (2012), 196.