Zhang (surname)

Zhang (surname)
Family name

(张) expansive bow, bowmaker

(章) State of Zhang

Zhang (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhāng) is among the most common Chinese surnames. In the 1990 edition of Guinness Book of Records, it was listed as the world's most common surname, with over 100 million people worldwide with this surname. It was also ranked third in the People's Republic of China by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in early 2006. [1]. The use of this surname dates back to about 4,700 years ago.[citation needed]

Zhang is pronounced and transliterated in a variety of ways. In Mandarin Chinese it is Hanyu Pinyin: Zhāng, Wade–Giles: Chang, Tongyong Pinyin: Jhāng. In Cantonese it is Yale: Jèung, Jyutping: Zoeng1, Hong Kong Government: Cheung. In Shanghainese, it is Tsan or Tsaon. In Min Nan, it is Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tiuⁿ, in Southeast Asia where a variety of dialects are spoken: Teo or Teoh in the Minnan/Teochew dialects, Chong in Hakka, Cheong in Cantonese, Tiong in Foochow and many other spellings based on the romanisation of the Chinese dialects used. The corresponding Korean surname is 장 which is frequently transliterated as Jang or Chang or (less frequently) Zang. Some confusion arises with the surnames Zhuang (莊) and Jiang (蔣) that are also written as 장 in Korean, and which are also frequently transliterated as Jang or Chang. The corresponding Vietnamese version is Trương or Trang.

Another Zhang, , is a less common surname which also has the same pronunciation of Zhāng in Mandarin, Cheung in Cantonese, and Jang in Korean. However, this name is pronounced differently in Minnan (Chiong) than Tiuⁿ (張). Likewise, the Vietnamese can clearly distinguish this name, pronounced Chương, or Trang from Trương (張). Although both of the Zhang (章) and (张/張) have the same pronunciation, both are not related and have different origins.


Character decomposition

The character is made of the characters (gōng, meaning bow) and (cháng, zhǎng, or zhàng, meaning long or length). 張 means to open up or to spread, but its more common meaning is a measure word for flat objects such as paper and mattresses, like the English sheet.

The character is made of the characters (yin, meaning "music note") and (shi, meaning "ten"). 章 means chapter because in classic Chinese ten music notes is known as a chapter.

History of the surname (張 or 张)

The origin of the surname Zhang is legendary. The fifth son of Huáng Dì (Emperor), the legendary supreme ancestor of all Han Chinese, was Qīng Yáng Shì (青阳氏). Qīng Yáng Shì's son Huī (挥) was inspired by the Chinese Arc Constellation—Tiān Gōng Xīng (天弓星) in the sky and invented the bow. Later Hui was assigned as Gōng Zhèng (弓正), the minister in charge of observing the Arc Constellation and making bows. Then Hui and his descendants were bestowed the surname Zhang, which, if broken into its constituent radicals, would mean "the master of bows" in Chinese. It is believed that the ancestors of Zhangs were archers and the bow as a totem of their tribe.[citation needed]

History of the surname (章)

The surname Zhang originated from Jiang (Chinese: ; pinyin: Jiang), which is the surname of the legendary Emperor Yan. When the State of Qi(齐国) was established, Jiang Ziya in turn gave lands to his many descendants, one of these small subordinate states was the State of Zhang(鄣国). After it was annexed by Qi, people from this state took Zhang as their surnames.

Prominent people with Chinese family name 張/张


Fictional characters

  • Chang Chong-Chen, a cartoon character in The Adventures of Tintin
  • Chang, Cho, character in the Harry Potter novels
  • Zhāng Tài-Yán, grandmaster of Hokuto Sōkaken in the manga and anime series Fist of the Blue Sky
  • Frank Zhang, Roman demigod son of Mars in The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

Government, military

Literature, writing, journalism

  • Chang, Eileen (1920–1995), Chinese writer.
  • Chang, Iris (1968–2004), American historian and journalist.
  • Chang, Jung, Chinese writer and author of Wild Swans.
  • Truong, Doris. President, Asian American Journalists Association
  • Zhāng Chéngzhì 张承志, Hui muslim writer and author of History of the Soul.
  • Zhāng Dài 張岱 (1597–1689), Ming Dynasty writer and historian.
  • Zhang Yue 張說, a poet and prime minister from the Tang Dynasty.
  • Zhāng Xīgūo 張系國 or Shi-kuo Chang, Taiwanese computer scientist and science fiction author.
  • Zhang Lijia 张礼家, Chinese writer and author of "Socialism is Great!"



  • Zhang Daqian, 張大千 (1899 – 1983) Chinese artist
  • Steven Ng-Sheong Cheung 張五常(1935–), Hong Kong born Chinese economist, whose contribution was acknowledged by Nobel Prize winners Ronald Coase and Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • Zhang Zhongjing, 張仲景 150 – 219 A.D. one of the most famous herbal doctors in Chines history. Written works included 傷寒論 and 金匱要略
  • Zhang Zihe, 張子和 1156 – 1228 A.D. famous herbal doctor
  • Zhang Jingyue, 張景岳 1583 – 1640 A.D. famous herbal doctor
  • Chang, Victor (1936–1991), Chinese-Australian cardiac surgeon
  • Thio Li-ann (Zhāng Líyǎn 张黎衍), Singaporean law professor
  • Zhang Baokang 張寳康 or Sheng-yen 聖嚴, Chinese Buddhist monk and religious scholar
  • Zhāng Dàolíng 张道陵 (Zhang Dao Spirit), (Eastern Han dynasty), ca 142 CE, founded the first Daoist religious sect – Zhengyi Dao, Tiān Shī Dào or Celestial Masters Dao
  • Zhang, Cecilia, kidnapped and murdered by Min Chen
  • Zhāng Guǒ Lǎo 張果老 or Elder Zhāng Guǒ, one of the Eight Immortals in Chinese mythology
  • Zhāng Hányùn 張含韻, also known as Baby Zhang or Kristy Zhang, Chinese singer and runner-up of the singing contest Super Girl 超級女聲
  • Zhāng Héng 張衡 (78–139), Chinese astronomer and mathematician
  • Zhāng Hóngbǎo 張宏寶 (1954–2006), founder and spiritual leader of Zhōng Gōng 中功
  • Zhāng Sānfēng 張三丰, semi-mythical Chinese Taoist priest
  • Zhāng Qiān 張騫 (born 195 BCE), Han Dynasty explorer
  • Qiulin Zhang (born 1964), French contralto opera singer of Chinese descent
  • Zhāng Zǐlín 張梓琳, winner of Miss World 2007
  • Zhāng Zéduān 張擇端 (1085–1145), Chinese painter

Prominent people with Chinese family name 章

Prominent people with Korean family name 장 (張/章)

Prominent people with Vietnamese family name Trương (張)

See also

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