Emperor Muzong of Liao

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Emperor Muzong of Liao
Emperor of the Liao dynasty
Reign 11 October 951 – 12 March 969
Predecessor Emperor Shizong
Successor Emperor Jingzong
Born Yelü Jing
Shulü (infant name)
(931-09-19)19 September 931
Died 12 March 969(969-03-12) (aged 37)
Era dates
Yingli (應曆; 951–969)
Posthumous name
Xiao'an Jingzheng Huangdi (孝安敬正皇帝)
Temple name
Father Emperor Taizong
Mother Empress Xiao Wen
Emperor Muzong of Liao
Traditional Chinese 遼穆宗
Simplified Chinese 辽穆宗
Yelü Jing
Chinese 耶律璟
Shulü (infant name)
Chinese 述律

Emperor Muzong of Liao (19 September 931 – 12 March 969), personal name Yelü Jing, infant name Shulü, was the fourth emperor of the Khitan-led Liao dynasty. He was the eldest son of the second Liao emperor, Emperor Taizong. He succeeded his cousin, Emperor Shizong, after the latter was murdered in 951.


Emperor Muzong's reign was plagued by plots and rebellions against him from both the imperial clan and the Xiao consort clan. He fired many ministers who worked for Emperor Shizong, and used force against those who dared to rebel against him. However, his brutal use of force and repression was eventually able to restore stability and the authority of the throne.

In June 952, his uncle wrote a letter to the Later Zhou dynasty, saying that "Emperor Muzong is a drunkard and has no ambition". Emperor Muzong discovered the letter and executed his uncle. In July 952, Emperor Shizong's brother, Yelü Loguo, attempted to rebel, but the emperor suppressed it and executed his brother. In October 953, Emperor Muzong's brother and several high-ranking officials plotted against him. Once again, the emperor discovered the plot and executed most of the plotters, but imprisoned his brother instead of killing him. A similar situation occurred in November 959, where his brother was spared, but the other plotters were killed.[citation needed]

Relations with other Chinese dynasties[edit]

The Later Zhou dynasty took advantage of Emperor Muzong's troubles to consolidate its position in northern China, a region that had been under the influence of the Khitans since earlier in the century. Despite this, the Northern Han dynasty, who remained under the protection of the Liao dynasty were able to maintain their independence.

The Later Zhou dynasty attacked Liao positions in 958 in an attempt to regain the Sixteen Prefectures. This provoked Emperor Muzong to lead a large army to the southern capital (present-day Beijing). Military confrontation was averted with the death of the Later Zhou emperor Chai Rong. Early the next year, Emperor Muzong returned to the capital.

Midway through Emperor Muzong's reign, the Northern Song dynasty had supplanted the last of the Five Dynasties, the Later Zhou dynasty. Relations between the Liao dynasty and Northern Song dynasty were peaceful during the reign of Emperor Muzong. Despite this peace, there were two issues outstanding between the two states that would result in war after Emperor Muzong's reign: those of the Sixteen Prefectures and Northern Han state. Neither of these issues would be resolved during the reign of Emperor Muzong. The two states began exchanging annual visits during the Chinese New Year. Profitable trade also continued to grow between the two sides.


Emperor Muzong, like Emperor Shizong before him, was an alcoholic and had many vices. His alcoholism earned him the nickname "Dozing Emperor". He had a violent temper and frequently killed people without reason. He also liked to hunt. Emperor Muzong's reign was one of the darkest in the history of the Liao dynasty, and his government was in shambles.[citation needed]

In February 969, Emperor Muzong went on a hunting trip. He and his servants drank and had a feast. After midnight, the emperor called for his servants to bring him food, but no one responded. He became angry and threatened to kill the chefs. The frightened chefs, along with other servants, sneaked into the emperor's tent and murdered him.[citation needed]


Mote, F.W. (1999). Imperial China: 900-1800. Harvard University Press. pp. 67–69. ISBN 0-674-01212-7. 

Note: This source used for the first two sections of this article, not the third.
Emperor Muzong of Liao
House of Yelü (916–1125)
Born: 931 Died: 969
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Shizong
Emperor of the Liao Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Jingzong