Influential Figures

Since the 19th century, Hunan has been one of the provinces which nurture the most influential figures in Chinese history,
especially talents in politics and military.

Historical Figures

“Emphasizing statecraft and dare to be the first”, with this motto, Hunan nurtures generations of influential figures throughout Chinese history.

Cai Lun

Cai Lun is conventionally regarded as the inventor of paper and the paper making process, and in forms recognizable in modern times as paper. He was responsible for the first significant improvement and standardization of paper making by adding essential new materials into its composition.

Qu Yuan

Qu Yuan was a Chinese poet and minister who lived during the Warring States period of ancient China. He is known for his patriotism and contributions to classical poetry and verses, especially through the poems of the Chu Ci anthology (also known as The Songs of the South or Songs of Chu).

Figures in the Modern Times

In the 79 years from the Opium War to the May 4th Movement, multiple outstanding figures such as Wei Yuan, He Shaoji, Zuo Zongtang, Tan Sitong, Chen Tianhua, Huang Xing and Song Jiaoren have emerged in Hunan. During this period of time, 83 individuals of Hunan are listed in the Chinese Celebrity Dictionary which takes about 10.9% of all the celebrities in China.

Zeng Guofan

Zeng Guofan was an eminent Han Chinese official, military general and devout Confucian scholar of the late Qing Dynasty in China. Along with Li Hongzhang, Zuo Zongtang and Zhang Zhidong, the four of them are called the “Four Renowned Statesmen of the late Qing Dynasty”.

Wei Yuan

Wei Yuan was a Chinese scholar from Shaoyang, Hunan. Wei was deeply concerned with the crisis facing China in the early 19th century; while he remained loyal to the Qing Dynasty, he also sketched a number of proposals for the improvement of the administration of the empire. Wei advocated practical learning in opposition to the allegedly barren evidentiary scholarship as represented by scholars like Dai Zhen.

Figures in Contemporary Times

From the May 4th Movement to the new-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution and construction period, a large number of political and military leaders such as Mao Zedong, Cai Hesen, Ren Bishi, Liu Shaoqi, Peng Dehuai, He Long and Luo Ronghuan have emerged in Hunan.

Peng Dehuai

Peng Dehuai, born in Xiangtan, Hunan, was a prominent military leader of the Communist Party of China, and China's Defence Minister from 1954 to 1959.

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong, born in Xiangtan, Hunan, was a Chinese communist revolutionary poet, political theorist and founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he governed as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. He is the main founder of the Mao Zedong Thought.

Others

Numerous outstanding individuals in literature, art, science and education have emerged in Hunan, such as Qi Baishi, a master of art and Yuan Longping, father of hybrid rice, which makes Hunan truly “the Kingdom Of Chu, the home of talents. The Academy of Yuelu, the very cradle of all”.

Qi Baishi

Qi Baishi was born in 1863 in Xiangtan County, Hunan Province. He is perhaps the most noted contemporary Chinese painter, famed for the whimsical, often playful style of his watercolor works. The subjects of his paintings include almost everything, commonly animals, scenery, figures, toys, vegetables etc. Other artists praised Baishi for the "freshness and spontaneity that he brought to the familiar genres of birds and flowers, insects and grasses, hermit-scholars and landscapes".