Aisin Gioro

Aisin Gioro (Chinese: 愛新覺羅; pinyin: àixīn juéluó1; Japanese: Aishin Kakura) was the clan name of the Manchu emperors of the Qing dynasty and Manchukuo. The word aisin means gold in the Manchu language, but the meaning of gioro is unknown, probably surname.

It is notable that the Jin dynasty (jin means gold in Chinese) of the Jurchens, ancestors of the Manchus, was known as aisin gurun, and that the Qing dynasty was initially named amaga aisin gurun, or Later Jin dynasty. It has been suggested that Nurhaci, the founder of the Later Jin dynasty, added aisin to his original clan name of gioro, perhaps at the same time he proclaimed his new dynasty in 1616, but there is no definitive evidence to support this proposition. Since the fall of the Empire, a number of members of the family have changed their surnames to Jin (金) after the former dynasty. For example, Puyi's younger brother changed his name from Aixinjueluo Puren (愛新覺羅溥任) to Jin Youzhi (金友之) and his children in turn are surnamed Jin.

Family Naming Code

Before founding the Qing Dynasty, naming of children in the Aishin Gioro clan was done quite randomly. After taking control of China, however, the family gradually incorporated Han Chinese ways of naming. During the reign of the Kangxi Emperor, all of Kangxi's sons were to be named with a generation prefix preceding the given name. There were three characters chosen, Cheng(承), Bao(保), and Chang(长), before finally deciding on Yin (胤) in Kangxi-20. Following Kangxi, subsequent male offspring had a generation code placed in their name. Moreover, the names of brothers will often contain a similar Radical or meaning. Sometimes, an emperor will change the generation code of his brothers as a way of keeping his own unique.

Order Generation Code Radical Code Examples
1. Yongzheng Emperor Yin, 胤/Yun, 允 Fortune (Shi) 示 Yinzhi,胤祉
2. Qianlong Emperor Hong, 弘 Sun/Day (Ri) 日 Hongzhou, 弘晝
3. Jiaqing Emperor Yong, 顒/Yong, 永 Jade (Wang/Yu) 王 Aisin-Gioro Yongqi,永琪
4. Daoguang Emperor Min, 旻/Mian, 綿 Emotion (Xin) 心 Mianyu,綿愉
5. Xianfeng Emperor Yi, 奕 Literary (Yan) 言 Yicong,奕誴
6. Guangxu Emperor Zai, 載 Water (Shui) 水 Zaifeng,載灃
7. Xuantong Emperor Pu, 溥 Human (Single Ren) 人 Pujie,溥倢
All Subsequent Yu,毓、Heng,恒、Qi,启、Tao,焘、Kai,闿、Zeng,增、Qi,

Foundation myth

The Veritable Records and other documents contain the foundation myth of the Aishin Gioro clan:

There was a lake called Bulhūri at the foot of Bukūri Mountain, located to the east of the Changbai Mountains. When three angels bathed in that lake, a magpie left a fruit on the youngest angel Fekulen's clothes. She ate the fruit and became pregnant. She mothered Bukūri Yongšon, the founder of Aishin gioro. He was later welcomed by the people as the Beile. He settled at Odoli Castle on the Omohoi Plain and became the founder of the Manchu State.

This myth has interested many historians. Similar stories can be found in other northern people's mythology. Yongšon seems to have come from Chinese yingxiong (英雄; hero) and Odoli would be modern-day Hoenyŏng (會寧) in Hamgyŏngnamdo, North Korea. A recent study found that a 1635 article of Jiu Manzhou Dang (old Manchu archives), which was omitted from later documents, says that a man from the Hūrha tribe on the Upper Amur River told the exactly same myth. In fact, Kangxi period maps shows Bukūri Mountain and Bulhūri Lake near Heilongjiang. It is considered that the Manchu imperial family incorporated Hūrha's legend into their own foundation myth.

Although the Changbai Mountains (golmin šanggiyan alin in Manchu) are regarded as the birthplace of the Aishin Gioro clan, their relationship with this legend is questionable. As explained above, the mythical arena was near Heilongjiang, not the Changbai Mountains. In addition, a careful analysis on early Manchu records proved that the description of the Changbai Mountains at the beginning of this legend had been inserted for the first time in the Shunzhi-era version of the Veritable Records for Nurhaci.

From Fanca to Ningguta Beise

Suffered from tyranny, the people raided Odoli and killed all Bukūri Yongšon's descendants but Fanca. A magpie saved Fanca's life. Fanca's descendant Mengtemu went eastward to execute his ancestors' revenge in Hetu Ala and settled there. Mengtemu's sons were Cunšan and Cuyan. Cunšan's sons were Tolo, Toimo and Sibeoci Fiyanggū. Sibeoci Fiyanggū's son was Fuman and Fuman's six sons were called Ningguta Beise (Six Kings; or ningguta i mafa), who lived around Hetu Ala.

Mengtemu is identified as Möngke Temür, who left Odoli by Ming's invitation and was appointed as leader of the Jianzhou Left Guard. On the other hand, the founder of the Jianzhou Right Guard was Möngke Temür's half-brother Fanca. It is unclear whether he may not the same person as Mentemu's ancestor, or it was just a mistake by the Manchus. The Jianzhou Left Guard fell into chaos in the early 16th century. In addition, Sibeoci Fiyanggū and Fuman seem to have been fictions because they did not appear in Chinese or Korean records. Maybe they were fabricated by the imperial family to claim its linkage to Möngke Temür.

1 Although Aisin Gioro is usually pronounced "Aixin Jueluo" in Mandarin, some argue that it should be "Aixin Jiaoluo" since the only pronunciation of the character 覺 corresponding to Manchu gio is jiao.zh:爱新觉罗


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