Liu An

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  • Chinese: (Liu An)

Liu An was a nephew of Emperor Wen of Han, and son of Liu Chang (aka King Li), who rebelled against the Han Dynasty.

After Liu An's father died on the way to exile, a distraught Emperor Wen, possibly regretting his action against his younger brother, granted Liu An, already the king of Huainan, a large fief in the former territory of the State of Chu.

Liu An was known as a great patron of learning, and in 154 BCE, he oversaw the compilation of the Huainanzi, a great encyclopedia.

During the reign of his nephew Emperor Wu of Han (Han Wudi), however, Liu An was accused of conspiring against the throne. It is unclear whether the accusations were true or not, but in the end Liu An and his wife committed suicide as a result, their children were executed, and their fief reclaimed by the empire.


  • Conrad Schirokauer, et al, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, Fourth Edition, Cengage Learning (2012), 54.