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Thread: Somewhat OT: what kind of title is "gwun chu" and what is its English equivalent?

  1. #1
    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Somewhat OT: what kind of title is "gwun chu" and what is its English equivalent?

    This topic could also probably fit into the Academia Forum, but more likely, the folks here at the Wuxia Forum would be more knowledgeable in this area. Moreover, the topic *is* wuxia-related, albeit tangentially.

    In Western royalty and nobility, the title of "princess" seems to be the catch all title for any woman belonging to the royal family or the upper echelons of the nobility who is not herself the monarch or the spouse of the monarch. A daughter of the reigning monarch is a princess, and so is her distant cousin. Obviously, they are not equals in rank, but their title is the same in English.

    In the Chinese language, the distinction is much more precise. For example, Ah Chi in DGSD was referred to as a "gwun chu" of the Liao Empire after Siu Fung became a prince of the Liao Empire. Similarly, in HSDS, Chiu Mun, who was not a member of the royal family, but belonged to an important Yuan Dynasty noble family, also held the title of "gwun chu." In contrast, actual princesses that were descendants of monarchs, such as Princess Hua Jeng (daughter of Genghis Khan) in LOCH and Princess Fragrance from B&S: G&R, were "gung chu."

    So is there an English equivalent for the term "gwun chu?"

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    Senior Member HuangYushi's Avatar
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    "gwan jyu" (in Yale cantonese) = 郡主 = jun4 zhu3 (in Mandarin).

    The dictionary definition for "gwan/jun4" is "an administrative division (of land/territory)". Sometimes, it is can be called a "prefecture".

    Since "jyu/zhu3" in this context means "leader", the English equivalent of "gwan jyu/jun4 zhu3" could be the "prefect".

    Zhao Min in HSDS was known as "gwan jyu/jun zhu", so going by the above, she could actually be known as a "prefect" instead of a "princess". It doesn't say in HSDS whether Zhao Min had any specific administrative jurisdiction, but she did possess enough clout to have the Xuanming Elders, etc, under her command.

    A'Zi in DGSD was given the title "gwan jyu/jun zhu" in an honorary way, without any real administrative power.

    ---

    "gung jyu" = 公主 = gong1 zhu3.

    Now, that's the "princess", which includes characters like Fragrant/Smelly, Hua Zheng and Jianning (DOMD).
    Jin Yong's Ode to Gallantry [侠客行].
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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    I knew I could count on you.

    Apparently, this title is given only to women. I know of no men referred to as "gwun chu," but the English title of "prefect" seems to have masculine associations...or at least unisex ones.

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    Senior Member HuangYushi's Avatar
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    ...but the English title of "prefect" seems to have masculine associations...or at least unisex ones.
    I agree. The administrative of system prefectures [gwan/jun 郡] and counties [yun/xian 县] took shape during the Qin Dynasty. Each prefecture was headed by a civil officer (sau/shou4 守, literally "guard"), a military officer [wai/wei4 尉] and an imperial inspector [gaam yu si / jian1 yu4 shi3 监御使]. Perhaps, the absence of a single leadership position during the early days of prefectures contributed to the absence of men who were called "gwan jyu/jun zhu".

    However, there is another "gwan jyu" that were mostly used by men.

    Instead of the prefect 郡主 (gwan6 jyu2), the Chinese characters for this male position are 君主 (gwan1 jyu2). The characters are also pronounced in a different tone. This 君主 means "monarch/sovereign", which in ancient/feudal times tended to be almost entirely male.
    Jin Yong's Ode to Gallantry [侠客行].
    Quote Originally Posted by atlantean0208
    what about SPT, I need my SPT fix ASAP, pretty pleaseeeee...
    Soon ... SOON!

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    In addition to what my dear friend Huang Yushi said...

    During the days of the Chinese empire, a monarch would usually bestow the following ranks to his relatives or most loyal subjects:

    Male peerage

    1. Qinwang 亲王 : "Prince of the Blood" or Prince Imperial. This title is usually granted to the sons or brothers of an emperor. Wanyan Honglie of LOCH was a Prince Imperial, with the title of Prince of Zhao. In DOMD, Wu Sangui also carried the title of Pingxi Qinwang, "Imperial Prince who Pacified the West", a great honour and also rare due to the fact that Wu himself did not have Manchurian (royal) blood.

    2. Junwang 郡王 : Commandery Prince or Secondary Prince. This was the title usually granted to the sons of a Prince Imperial. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, Zheng Chenggong was also granted the title of Yanping Junwang "Prince of Yanping Commandery".

    3. Gong 公 : Duke

    4. Hou 侯 : Marquis

    Female peerage

    1. Gongzhu 公主 : Princess Imperial, daughters or sisters of an emperor.

    2. Junzhu 郡主 : Commandery Princess or Secondary Princess. Daughters of a Prince Imperial. Often, the daughters of Commandery Princes and Dukes were also titled Junzhu. Zhao Min of HSDS is a Commandery Princess, being the daughter of Prince Chagan Timur. In DOMD, Mu Jianping was also called a Junzhu, being the daughter of Mu Tianbo, Grand Duke of Yunnan.

    3. Junjun 郡君 : Commandery Lady, female equivalent of Marquis. Used during Han Dynasty, later almost abolished.

    Hope this helps,

    Lav
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    Senior Member dgfds01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laviathan
    In addition to what my dear friend Huang Yushi said...

    During the days of the Chinese empire, a monarch would usually bestow the following ranks to his relatives or most loyal subjects:

    Male peerage

    1. Qinwang 亲王 : "Prince of the Blood" or Prince Imperial. This title is usually granted to the sons or brothers of an emperor. Wanyan Honglie of LOCH was a Prince Imperial, with the title of Prince of Zhao. In DOMD, Wu Sangui also carried the title of Pingxi Qinwang, "Imperial Prince who Pacified the West", a great honour and also rare due to the fact that Wu himself did not have Manchurian (royal) blood.

    2. Junwang 郡王 : Commandery Prince or Secondary Prince. This was the title usually granted to the sons of a Prince Imperial. At the end of the Ming Dynasty, Zheng Chenggong was also granted the title of Yanping Junwang "Prince of Yanping Commandery".
    Hmm, I always thought these were Manchu/Qing titles. You learn something new everyday. I guess it makes sense that they got them from preceeding dynasties.

    Other princely ranks (I believe these are purely Manchu):

    Beile 貝勒: 3rd ranked prince. Held by some sons of the Emperor (the more favoured ones got the above titles.

    Beizi 貝子: 4th ranked prince.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laviathan
    3. Gong 公 : Duke

    4. Hou 侯 : Marquis
    These were the ranks of nobility. In addition are......

    Bo 伯 : Earl

    Zi 子 : Viscount. I believe this was one of Wei Xiaobao's titles.

    Nan 男: Baron.

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    Senior Member Extremer88's Avatar
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    Not forgettin 格格. The Manchu equivalent of 公主。
    ..ext88

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    And A Ge. The Manchu equivalent of an Imperial Prince.

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    Moderator Suet Seung's Avatar
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    Maybe English is just not specific with the difference between Princesses that is directly related to the Emperor/King or royal family and princesses with just the honorary title because they're part of noble family.

    Oh yeah, King and Emperor is not the same thing. I thought they were but they weren't.
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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Thanks for everybody's input. You've supplied some valuable and clarifying information.

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    Senior Member AnhHung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuangYushi
    ...characters like Fragrant/Smelly..
    lol, smelly

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    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Actually, Ge Ge is only equivalent to daughter of princess, and daughter of the emperor, but not the empress. And even then, you have at least three classes of Ge Ge, aacording to either her mother's rank or her father's rank. The Empress's daughter is still a Gong Zhu, for exmaple Jian Ning Gong Zhu.
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    Senior Member dgfds01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis
    Actually, Ge Ge is only equivalent to daughter of princess, and daughter of the emperor, but not the empress. And even then, you have at least three classes of Ge Ge, aacording to either her mother's rank or her father's rank. The Empress's daughter is still a Gong Zhu, for exmaple Jian Ning Gong Zhu.
    I think Gong Zhu is a title granted by the emperor, normally to favoured daughters or for political reasons. Ge Ge is the "automatic" title of imperial daughters, just like Ah Ge.

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    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    I read an interview of JY a long time ago, and one of the question was why Jian Ning's title was Gong Zhu and not Ge Ge. JY answered he used Gong Zhu because that's chinese word for Princess while Ge Ge was a Manchu word. Using Ge Ge would be like using the english word 'Princess' in the chinese text of DOMD.
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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    During Qing Dynasty:

    Daughter of Emperor and Empress (trueborn) = Gongzhu
    Daughter of Emperor and Concubine (baseborn) = Gege
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