Taishang Huang

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Taishang Huang
Chinese 太上皇

A Taishang Huang or Taishang Huangdi is a retired emperor who had, at least in name, abdicated in favor of someone else. Although technically no longer the reigning sovereign, there are instances where the emperor continued to exert considerable if not more power than the reigning emperor.

History[edit]

This title first began when Qin Shi Huangdi bestowed it upon his deceased father.[1]

Emperor Gaozu of Han had also bestowed this title on his living father.[2] He bestowed it onto his father to express filial piety and to preserve the social hierarchy between father and son.[2]

In 301 during the War of the Eight Princes, Sima Lun became emperor by forcing his puppet Emperor Hui of Jin to become Taishang Huang.[2] The title had always been an honorific before the 301 coup, but it had now become a tool of political infighting between opposing factions.[2]

In 617, Li Yuan—later known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang—bestowed Taishang Huang upon Emperor Yang of Sui.[2]

In 626 during the Xuanwu Gate Incident, Prince Li Shimin led his armed men to commit a bloody palace coup.[2][3] During the course of the coup, he succeeded in killing his brothers Crown Prince Li Jiancheng and Prince Li Yuanji.[3] Within three days, Emperor Gaozu created Li Shimin as his heir.[3] On the 9th day of the eight month, Emperor Gaozu abdicated in favor for his son Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong).[3] Emperor Gaozu would retire as Taishang Huang until his death in 635.[2][3]

In 756 during the An Lushan Rebellion, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang retired while in Shu.[4] Earlier, Emperor Xuanzong had been driven out of the capital Chang'an to Shu by the rebel forces. However, in response, his son had assumed the throne as Emperor Suzong of Tang. He would lead his forces against the rebels.

Instances of Chinese rulers who were granted the title Taishang Huang:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eisenberg, Andrew (2008). Kingship in Early Medieval China. Leiden: Brill. pp. 24–25. ISBN 9789004163812. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Eisenberg, Andrew (2008). Kingship in Early Medieval China. Leiden: Brill. p. 25. ISBN 9789004163812. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Wenchsler, Howard J. (1979). "The founding of the T'ang dynasty: Kao-tsu (reign 618–26)". The Cambridge history of China, Volume 3: Sui and T'ang China, 589–906, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-521-21446-7. 
  4. ^ Eisenberg, Andrew (2008). Kingship in Early Medieval China. Leiden: Brill. p. 26. ISBN 9789004163812. 
  5. ^ Wenchsler, Howard J. (1979). "The founding of the T'ang dynasty: Kao-tsu (reign 618–26)". The Cambridge history of China, Volume 3: Sui and T'ang China, 589–906, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-521-21446-7.