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 after leaving his home state of Lu for exile in 496 BCE. 

Although Confucius voices his suspicion of of Zhu Tuo’s “smooth tongue” in Chapter 16 of Book 6 of the Analects, he does go on to commend him in Chapter 19 of Book 14 of for the vital role he played along with two other ministers in keeping Wei functioning while it was under the capricious rule of rule of the louche Duke Ling of Wei (衛靈公) and his scheming consort Nanzi (南子).

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

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

Book 6
Chapter 16
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 XIX
Confucius said that Duke Ling of Wei didn’t follow the Way. Ji Kangzi said: “If this is the case, how come he has not lost his state?” Confucius said: “He has Zhong Yuzhen looking after guests and foreign delegations, Priest 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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