Chinese: of uncertain origin, originating in
Shaanxi province. It may be a variant of another name from the same
region and pronounced the same way (see 4 below, ).
Chinese: the origin of this name is closely tied up
with that of Zhuang. During the Spring and Autumn period
(722–481 bc), many members of the ruling class of the state
of Chu adopted as their surname Zhuang, the posthumously given
name of a king of Chu. The name Zhuang was kept until the Eastern Han
dynasty (25–220), when, to avoid a taboo on having the same name as
the ruler (then Liu Zhuang), many people changed their surname from
Zhuang to Yan.
Chinese: from the ‘style name’
Yan. Yi Fu, a descendant of the grantee of the fief of Zhu (see
Zhu 1) during the Zhou dynasty had the ‘style name’ Yan.
Descendants adopted his style name as their surname.
Chinese: there are two accounts of the origin of this name: one a
place named Yan Village and the other Yan Town. Both places existed
during the Zhou dynasty (1122–221 bc).
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