Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chinese Mohe

The Mohe were a people in ancient Manchuria. They are sometimes considered the ancestors of medieval Jurchen and modern-day Manchus. According to some records, they originally dwelt near the and later migrated southward. According to Chinese records, they were governed by the kingdom, but broke free during the Chinese Three Kingdoms period. They subsequently became an autonomous state. They were involved in the early history of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The records of Baekje and Silla during the 1st century and 2nd century AD include numerous battles against the Mohe.

The Mohe were divided into various tribes, the most powerful of which were the Sumo Mohe. The Sumo Mohe were eventually conquered by Goguryeo, and the other Mohe tribes by Sui Dynasty China. Many Mohe moved back toward their northern homeland in this period. The "Mohe" section of the "Beidi Zhuan" of the "Jiu Tang Shu" states: "Their country is all comprised of some tens of 'bu' , each having a chief, some of whom are attached to the Goryeo, and some of whom serve as common people to the Tujue."

The Mohe also participated in the later kingdom of Balhae, 698-926. The founder of Balhae, Dae Joyeong was recorded to be a former Goguryeo general of Sumo Mohe stock , although the ''Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms'' written by Koreans several hundred years later states that he was of Goguryeo stock. After the fall of Balhae, few historical traces of the Mohe can be found, though they are considered to be the main ethnic group that became the Jurchen.

The name of the Mohe also appears as "Maka" in "Shin-Maka" or "New Mohe," the name of a dance and the musical piece that accompanies it, which was introduced to the Japanese court during the Nara Period or around the beginning of the Heian Period from the Balhae Kingdom. In modern Japanese historical texts, the name of the Mohe is annotated with the "kana" reading Makkatsu , which is probably a reading pronunciation based on the standard Sino-Japanese readings of the Chinese characters used to transcribe the ethnonym of the Mohe.

The ethnonym of the Mohe bears a notable resemblance to that of the later historically attested *Motgit , as well as to that of the medieval Merkits, who opposed the rise of the Mongols lead by Genghis Khan.

Mohe Tribes

According to some records, there were seven/eight Mohe tribes :

Notable personalities

Sumo Mohe/Yan Prefecture Mohe chieftains

* Tudiji ca. 580-620
* Li Jin-xing , Chinese name of the Mogher chieftain Tudiji's son
* Li Duozuo
* Qiqi Zhongxiang later known as Dae Jung-sang.

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