Emperor Gong of Song

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Emperor Gong of Song
Song Gongdi.jpg
Emperor of the Song dynasty
Reign 12 August 1274 – 4 February 1276
Predecessor Emperor Duzong
Successor Emperor Duanzong
Regent Grand Empress Dowager Xie
Empress Dowager Quan
Jia Sidao
Born Zhao Xian
(1271-11-02)2 November 1271
Died May 1323 (aged 51–52)
Wife Lady Borjigin
Concubine Mailaidi
Issue Zhao Zongpu
Era dates
Deyou (德祐; 1275–1276)
Posthumous name
Xiaogong Yisheng Huangdi
(孝恭懿聖皇帝)
House House of Zhao
Father Emperor Duzong
Mother Empress Quan
Emperor Gong of Song
Chinese 宋恭帝
Literal meaning "Respectful Emperor of the Song"
Zhao Xian
Traditional Chinese 趙㬎
Simplified Chinese 赵㬎
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhao.

Emperor Gong of Song (2 November 1271 – May 1323),[1] personal name Zhao Xian, was the 16th emperor of the Song dynasty in China and the seventh emperor of the Southern Song dynasty. The sixth son of his predecessor, Emperor Duzong, Zhao Xian came to the throne around the age of four, and reigned for less than two years before he was forced to abdicate in 1276. He was succeeded by his fifth brother, Zhao Shi (Emperor Duanzong).

Reign[edit]

Emperor Duzong died in 1274. His sixth son, Zhao Xian, who was then about four years old, was enthroned as the new emperor with assistance from the chancellor Jia Sidao. In the following year, Zhao Xian's grandmother (Grand Empress Dowager Xie) and mother (Empress Dowager Quan) became regents for the child emperor, although state and military power remained under Jia Sidao's control.[citation needed]

By the time Zhao Xian came to the throne, the Mongol Empire had already taken control of the northern and southwestern areas of China, crossed the Yangtze River and acquired key strategic locations such as Xiangyang. They were heading towards the Song capital at Lin'an (present-day Hangzhou). Grand Empress Dowager Xie pursued a dual-strategy to the pending destruction of the Song dynasty: On one hand, she ordered the people to rally behind their emperor and save the Song Empire. On the other hand, she tried to make peace with the Mongols. The Mongol army advanced further and captured Song territories and took control of various prefectures along the middle stretches of the Yangtze River.

In early 1275, Jia Sidao led an army of 30,000 to engage the Mongols at Wuhu. The Song army suffered defeat and not long afterward, bowing to public pressure, Grand Empress Dowager Xie ordered Jia Sidao's execution. However, the move came too late and the fall of the Song dynasty loomed closer.

By the middle of 1275, the Mongol army had controlled most of the Jiangdong[disambiguation needed] region, the southern part of present-day Jiangsu Province. On 18 January 1276, the Mongol general Bayan showed up with his army outside Lin'an. The Song imperial court sent Lu Xiufu to negotiate for peace with the enemy, but Lu was forced to surrender. Later that year, Grand Empress Dowager Xie brought the five-year-old Zhao Xian with her to the Mongol camp to surrender.

Remnants of the Song Empire fled southwards to Fujian and Guangdong provinces, where they continued to resist the Mongols. Zhao Xian's fifth brother, Zhao Shi (Emperor Duanzong), was enthroned as the new emperor. Zhao Shi died of illness in 1278 and was succeeded by his seventh brother, Zhao Bing.

In 1279, after the Battle of Yamen, Lu Xiufu brought Zhao Bing with him to Yashan (present-day Yamen, Guangdong Province), where they committed suicide by drowning themselves at sea. The death of Zhao Bing marked the end of the Song dynasty.

Ennoblement by the Yuan dynasty[edit]

After the fall of the Song dynasty, Zhao Xian was relocated to the Mongol capital at Dadu (present-day Beijing) then later to Shangdu. Some sources[which?] also claim that he lived in Qianzhou (謙州; present-day Tuva in South Central Siberia). His sojourns made him one of the most well-travelled Han Chinese emperors in Chinese history.

Journey to the Mongol capital[edit]

Soon after Zhao Xian surrendered, the Mongol general Bayan urged him to travel north for an audience with the Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan. As a result, in March 1276, Zhao Xian left Lin'an (present-day Hangzhou) and proceeded towards Shangdu. Grand Empress Dowager Xie remained behind due to illness so he was accompanied northwards by Empress Dowager Quan, the Lady of Long (隆國夫人; Emperor Duzong's mother), Zhao Yurui (趙與芮; Emperor Lizong's brother), Zhao Naiyou (趙乃猷), and members of the privy council Gao Yinggong (高應松) and Xie Tang (謝堂). The former emperor's entourage also included Weng Zhongde (翁仲德), Wang Yuanliang (汪元量), and other palace officials.

After they crossed the Yangtze River, two former generals, Li Tingzhi (李庭芝) and Miao Zaicheng (苗再成), planned to hijack a transport to carry them all but failed. The group arrived in Dadu in May, and then proceeded to Shangdu, where Kublai Khan received them in the Hall of Great Peace (大安殿). The Khan conferred the title "Duke of Ying" (瀛國公) on Zhao Xian and a princess title on Zhao Xian's Mongol wife, Lady Borjigin. Kublai Khan further ordered that Zhao Xian and Lady Borjigin be given a residence in Dadu and receive preferential treatment. In 1298, Zhao Xian was given permission to move his residence to Shangdu. Between 1314 and 1320, the Mongol ruler Emperor Yuanzong received the Goryeo ruler Chungseon at his court. Chungseon asked to see visit Zhao Xian's residence and composed a song about him.

Relocation to Tubo[edit]

Kublai Khan wanted to preserve some vestiges of the Song imperial clan and in October 1288 issued an edict ordering Zhao Xian to relocate to Tubo (present-day Tibet). There, Zhao Xian was to study the Brahmana and Tibetan classics. Other sources claim that while in Tubo, Zhao Xian decided to study Buddhism instead.[citation needed] Kublai Khan's motive for this edict is unclear, as is whether such a relocation constituted a banishment. The Khan may have acted out of genuine concern for the former emperor or he may have wished to remove the Song heir to the throne out of China proper.[2] In December 1288, Zhao Xian departed from Duosima (朵思麻; Standard Tibetan: མདོ་སྨད; Wylie: mdo smad) in present-day Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, for Wusizang (烏思藏; Standard Tibetan: དབུས་གཙང; Wylie: dbus gtsang) within the borders of present-day Tibet. He became a resident at the Sakya Monastery and was given the honorific title "Lecture Master Mubo" (木波講師). Later on, Zhao Xian took over as the head monk at the monastery, translating Buddhist texts between the Chinese and Tibetan languages under the name "Hezun" (合尊).

Death[edit]

According to Sakya's monastic succession records, in April 1323, the 52-year-old Zhao Xian received an imperial edict ordering him to commit suicide at Hexi (河西; present-day Zhangye, Gansu Province.[1] Many Ming dynasty historians[who?] believed that this was because Zhao Xian's poetry displeased the Mongol ruler, Emperor Yingzong.[citation needed]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Denis Twitchett; Paul Jakov Smith, eds. (2009). The Cambridge History of China. Volume 5. Part One: The Sung Dynasty and Its Precursors, 907–1279. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 929, 945. 
  2. ^ Other male members of the Song imperial clan survived the invasion, such as Zhao Mengfu, who was a well-known painter during the Yuan dynasty, and Zhao Yiguang who lived during the Ming dynasty.

External links[edit]

Emperor Gong of Song
Born: 1271 Died: unknown (possibly 1323)
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Duzong
Emperor of China
1274–1276
Succeeded by
Emperor Duanzong