Emperor Tianzuo of Liao

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Yelu Yanxi
Emperor of Liao Dynasty
Reign February 12, 1101 – March 26, 1125
Predecessor Emperor Daozong
Born June 5, 1075
Died 1128[1] or 1156 [2] (aged 53 or 81)
Era dates
Qiantong 乾統 (1101–1110)
Tianqing 天慶 (1111–1120)
Baoda 保大 (1121–1125)
Father Yelu Jun 耶律濬[3]
Mother Lady Siao

The Emperor Tianzuo of Liao (Chinese: 遼天祚帝; pinyin: Liáo Tiānzuòdì) (June 5, 1075 – 1128 or 1156), born as Yelü Yanxi (Chinese: 耶律延禧; pinyin: Yēlǜ Yánxĭ), was the last Khitan emperor of the Liao Dynasty. He succeeded his grandfather Daozong, and reigned from February 12, 1101 to March 26, 1125.

Jurchen invasion[edit]

During the reign of Emperor Tianzuo, the Jurchens led by Aguda established the Jin dynasty in 1115. Aguda formed the Alliance on the Sea with the Song Dynasty against the Khitans, and began to establish authority over former Liao Dynasty territory in Mongolia. Tianzuo however proved incompetent in dealing with the Jurchen menace, and in 1115 a coup was attempted by Liao generals to install his uncle Yelü Chun to the throne but was thwarted. The Jurchens advanced from Manchuria in 1117, and captured the Liao dynasty's supreme capital in 1120, then its central capital in 1122.[4]

Another coup was attempted in 1121 to install Tianzuo's son, the prince of Jin, onto the throne, but was again thwarted. The prince was executed, and most of the coup organizers defected to the Jurchens' camp.[5] In 1122, Tianzuo fled the southern capital Nanjing (today's Beijing) to the western region. His uncle Yelü Chun then formed the short-lived Northern Liao in the southern capital, but died soon afterwards, and Nanjing was captured by the Jurchens at the end of 1122 or early 1123.

End of Liao Dynasty[edit]

After the end of the Northern Liao in Nanjing, a general Yelü Dashi (耶律大石) rejoined Tianzuo. In 1123, the Jurchens captured the Tianzuo's palace at Qingzhong (south of modern Hohhot), capturing members of his family. Tianzuo fled to seek refuge with the Xi Xia. Later Tianzuo expressed his intention to attack the Jurchens, but Yelü Dashi withheld his support, considering it folly as the Jurchens were too strong. In 1124, Yelü Dashi fled to the west with a band of his followers, and established the Western Liao dynasty. In 1125, Tianzuo was captured by the Jin dynasty, ending the Liao Dynasty.[6]


  • Prince of Liang (1081–1084)
  • Prince of Yan (1084–1101)
  • Emperor of Jian (1101–1125)
  • Prince of Haibin (1125)


  1. ^ History of Liao
  2. ^ Da Song Xuanhe Yishi (大宋宣和遗事)
  3. ^ Posthumous name: Emperor Daxiao Shunshen 大孝順聖皇帝
    Temple name: Shunzong 順宗
  4. ^ Biran, Michal. (2005). The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. p. 20. ISBN 0521842263. 
  5. ^ Biran, Michal. (2005). The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0521842263. 
  6. ^ Chinese History – Liao Dynasty
Emperor Tianzuo of Liao
House of Yelü (916–1125)
Born: 1075 Died: 1128 or 1156
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Daozong
Emperor of the Liao Dynasty
Succeeded by
Dynasty Dissolved
Emperor of Northern China
Succeeded by
Emperor Taizong of Jin