Chinese Idiom About Arrogance: Yelang Thinks Too Highly of Itself

Yelang was located within the present-day Guizhou province and was isolated due to formidable mountains, hindering external communication. This isolation led the locals to be unaware of the vast territory of the Han Dynasty, resulting in the expression "Yelang thinks too highly of itself" to describe shallow knowledge and arrogance.
Chinese Idiom About Arrogance: Yelang Thinks Too Highly of Itself

"Yelang thinks too highly of itself" metaphorically describes someone ignorant of the world, with shallow knowledge, and boasting arrogance.

According to the records in "Records of the Grand Historian, Chapter on the Southwest Barbarians," "Yelang Kingdom, located along the Zangke River, a river over one hundred steps wide, suitable for the passage of boats." It was a small kingdom on the southwestern border during the Han Dynasty, situated in what is now the province of Guizhou, known as the "Yelang" Kingdom.

According to "Book of the Later Han, Chapter on the Chronicles of the Southern and the Southwest Barbarians," the legend tells of the Yelang King being an orphan, born and abandoned in a large bamboo tube in the river. He was rescued and raised by a washerwoman. As he grew up, his remarkable strength, courage, and extraordinary demeanor led him to establish himself as a king, adopting the surname "Zhu," which means bamboo.

Chinese Idiom About Arrogance: Yelang Thinks Too Highly of Itself

In the early days, Han envoys visited both the Dian Kingdom and the Yelang kingdom. Surprisingly, both kings inquired with unanimous curiosity: "When compared to our country, which is larger, Han or our kingdom?" Isolated by mountains and rivers, their geographical separation led them to believe that their territory was the largest, ignorant of the extensive expanse of the Han Dynasty. Hence, the expression "Yelang thinks too highly of itself" emerged to describe people with shallow knowledge and unwarranted arrogance. In the sixth year of Emperor Wu's Yuanding reign, after pacifying the southern barbarians, a Zangke commandery was established, Yelang's king submitted to the Han, and Emperor Wu granted him a royal seal, bringing Yelang into the Han Dynasty's fold.  Guizhou's historical interactions with the outside world have been influenced by its geographical features. With a topography that ranges from high in the west to low in the east, average elevations exceeding a thousand meters, and a landscape of plateaus, mountains, and hills forming numerous ranges, the province has been characterized by the proverb "Without three days of clear skies, without three miles of level ground," meaning the weather is unpredictable, and the terrain is rugged, offering insight into the local climate, topography, and the conditions of its people's lives.

We look forward to using the proverb "Yelang thinks too highly of itself" to help us, in this technologically advanced and information-explosive 21st century, eliminate the narrow-minded notion of "trying to see everything through a small opening". By learning from the experiences of our predecessors, we can engage in humble exploration and deeply contemplate the various challenges life presents. With the practice of " drawing inferences from one example to another" to minimize mistakes, we hope our lives can become more enriching and fulfilling. 

  • Those who are ignorant of the vastness of the world can be described as "Yelang thinks too highly of itself."
  • The proverb "Yelang thinks too highly of itself" serves as a reminder not to be self-righteous.
  • To avoid the habit of "Yelang thinks too highly of itself," one can bring about change through broadening one's horizons and engaging in humble discussions.

Written by Bubu
Sponsored by Mei-Hua Hall