Stories of fraternal bonding in ancient China

Brotherhood: that (usually) naturally strong bond of men who grow up together, play together, get into trouble together, and sometimes quarrel or fight. Last week, social media celebrated this bond with Brother’s Day, but ancient China was rife with stories of brotherly pairs who exemplified fraternal love (or didn’t).

According to Confucian values, the ideal fraternal relationship is 兄友弟恭, meaning “The elder brother is friendly and the younger brother is respectful.” Because of the (all but defunct) One-Child policy, many of today’s youngsters don’t have brothers. But given the following famous pairs in history, this could be a good thing:

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author Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

Sun Jiahui is a freelance writer and former editor at The World of Chinese. She writes about Chinese language, society and culture, and is especially passionate about sharing stories of China's ancient past with a wider audience. She has been writing for TWOC for over six years, and pens the Choice Chengyu column.

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