Contemporary figures in the Analects of Confucius: Zhu Tuo

Zhu Tuo (祝鮀) was a minister of the state of Wei responsible for the administration of its ancestral temple and other ritual matters. Confucius probably met him when he visited Wei in 496 BCE after leaving his home state of Lu for exile. 

Although Confucius voices his suspicion of of Zhu Tuo’s “smooth tongue” in 6.16 of the Analects, he does go on to commend him in 14.19 for the vital role he played along with his two fellow ministers Wangsun Jia and Kong Wenzi in keeping Wei functioning while it was under the capricious rule of the louche Duke Ling and and his lascivious consort Nanzi.

In some English translations of the Analects, Zhu Tuo is named Priest Tuo because he presided over ritual ceremonies as part of his ministerial duties.

Appearances in the Analects of Confucius
Book 6, Chapter 16
Book 14, Chapter 19

Book 6
Chapter 16
子曰:「不有祝鮀之佞,而有宋朝之美,難乎免於今之世矣。」
Confucius said: “It’s difficult to survive in an age like ours without the smooth tongue of Zhu Tuo and the good looks of Song Chao.”

Book 14
Chapter 19
子言衛靈公之無道也,康子曰:「夫如是,奚而不喪?」孔子曰:「仲叔圉治賓客,祝鮀治宗廟,王孫賈治軍旅,夫如是,奚其喪?」
Confucius said that Duke Ling of Wei didn’t follow the way. Ji Kangzi said: “If this is the case, how come he hasn’t lost his state?” Confucius said: “He has Kong Wenzi looking after guests and foreign delegations, Zhu Tuo taking care of the ancestral temple, and Wangsun Jia in charge of defense. With such officials as these, how could he possibly lose his state?”

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