Aisin Gioro

2013-01-05

Aisin Gioro was the family name of the Manchu emperors of the Qing Dynasty. The House of Aisin Gioro ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which established a republican government in its place. The word aisin means gold in the Manchu language, and "gioro" is the name of the place in present day Yilan, Heilongjiang Province. In Manchu custom, families are identified first by their Hala (哈拉), i.e. their family or clan name, and then by Mukūn (穆昆), the more detailed classification, typically referring to individual families. In the case of Aisin Gioro, Aisin is the Mukūn, and Gioro is the Hala. Other members of the Gioro clan include Irgen Gioro (伊尔根觉罗), Susu Gioro (舒舒觉罗) and Sirin Gioro (西林觉罗).

The Origins of Family Generation Names

Before the founding of the Qing Dynasty, the naming of children in the Aisin Gioro clan was quite random. The Manchu people originally did not use generation names before they moved into China. After taking control of China, however, the family gradually incorporated Han Chinese ways of naming.[4][5] 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. The Yongzheng Emperor's sons switched from Fu (福) to Hong (弘). Following Yongzheng, the Qianlong Emperor decided that all subsequent male offspring would have a generation code placed in their name according to a Generation Poem, of which Qianlong composed the first four characters, 永 綿 奕 載. Moreover, the names of brothers (born to the same father) will often contain a similar radical or meaning. The Aisin Gioro added this innovation to the generation name. A common radical was shared in the second character of the first name of royals who were in line to the throne, however, royals who were not in line to the throne did not share the radical in their name. In one case, the Yongzheng Emperor changed the generation code of his brothers as a way of keeping his own name unique. Such practices apparently ceased to exist after the Daoguang Era.

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