Emperor Zhenzong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Emperor Zhenzong of Song
Palace portrait on a hanging scroll, kept in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
Emperor of the Song dynasty
Reign 8 May 997 – 23 March 1022
Coronation 8 May 997
Predecessor Emperor Taizong
Successor Emperor Renzong
Born Zhao Dechang (968–983)
Zhao Yuanxiu (983–986)
Zhao Yuankan (986–995)
Zhao Heng (995–1022)
(968-12-23)23 December 968
Died 23 March 1022(1022-03-23) (aged 53)
Era dates
Xianping (咸平; 998–1003)
Jingde (景德; 1004–1007)
Dazhongxiangfu (大中祥符; 1008–1016)
Tianxi (天禧; 1017–1021)
Qianxing (乾興; 1022)
Posthumous name
Yingfu Jigu Shengong Rangde Wenming Wuding Zhangsheng Yuanxiao Huangdi
(膺符稽古神功讓德文明武定章聖元孝皇帝) (awarded in 1047)
Temple name
Zhenzong (真宗)
House House of Zhao
Father Emperor Taizong
Mother Consort Li
Emperor Zhenzong of Song
Chinese 宋真宗
Literal meaning "True Ancestor of the Song"
Zhao Dechang
Traditional Chinese 趙德昌
Simplified Chinese 赵德昌
Zhao Yuanxiu
Traditional Chinese 趙元休
Simplified Chinese 赵元休
Zhao Yuankan
Traditional Chinese 趙元侃
Simplified Chinese 赵元侃
Zhao Heng
Traditional Chinese 趙恆
Simplified Chinese 赵恒

Emperor Zhenzong of Song (23 December 968 – 23 March 1022), personal name Zhao Heng, was the third emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 997 to his death in 1022. His personal name was originally Zhao Dechang, but was changed to Zhao Yuanxiu in 983, Zhao Yuankan in 986, and finally Zhao Heng in 995. He was the third son of his predecessor, Emperor Taizong, and was succeeded by his sixth son, Emperor Renzong.

Emperor Zhenzong's reign was noted for the consolidation of power and the strengthening of the Song Empire. The empire prospered, and its military might was further reinforced. However, it would also mark the beginning of a foreign policy towards the Khitan-led Liao dynasty in the north that would ultimately result in humiliation. In 1004, the Khitans waged war against the Song Empire. Emperor Zhenzong, leading his army, struck back at the Khitans. Despite initial successes, in 1005, Emperor Zhenzong concluded the Shanyuan Treaty. The treaty resulted in over a century of peace, but at the price of the Song Empire agreeing to an inferior position to the Liao Empire, and also agreeing to pay an annual tribute of 100,000 ounces of silver and over 200,000 bolts of silk. The admission of inferiority would come to plague the foreign affairs of the Song Empire, while the payments slowly depleted the empire's coffers.

He was responsible for ordering the shipment of 30,000 bushels of quick-maturing rice seed from the Fujian Province to the lower Yangtze basin in 1011–1012, improving agriculture.

Emperor Zhenzong stressed the importance of Taoism at his imperial court. It was during his reign that the so-called Heavenly Texts, which glorified the Zhao family, were allegedly discovered. This was followed up by imperial sacrificial ceremonies carried out at Mount Tai. From 1013 to 1015, the emperor issued official decrees deifying the Jade Emperor as the highest ruler of Heaven.[1]

Champa rice was introduced to China from Champa during Emperor Zhenzong's reign.


A number of Chinese artifacts dating from the Tang dynasty and Song dynasty, some of which had been owned by Emperor Zhenzong were excavated and then came into the hands of the Kuomintang general Ma Hongkui, who refused to publicise the findings. Among the artifacts were a white marble tablet from the Tang dynasty, gold nails, and bands made out of metal. It was not until after Ma died, that his wife went to Taiwan in 1971 from the United States to bring the artifacts to Chiang Kai-shek, who turned them over to the Taipei National Palace Museum.[2]


  • Parents:
    • Zhao Jiong (太宗 趙炅; 939 – 997)
    • Lady Li (元德皇后 李氏; 943 – 997)
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Lady Pan (章懷皇后 潘氏; 968 – 989)
  2. Lady Guo (章穆皇后 郭氏; 975 – 1007)
    1. Zhao You (悼獻皇太子 趙佑; 995 – 1003)
    2. Unnamed son
    3. Unnamed son
  3. Lady Liu E (章獻皇后 劉娥; 968 – 1033)
  4. Lady Li (章懿皇后 李氏; 987 – 1032)
    1. Zhao Zhen (仁宗 趙禎; 1010 – 1063)
    2. Princess Jingyi (靜一帝姬)
  5. Lady Yang (章惠皇后 楊氏; 984 – 1036)
  6. Lady Shen (昭靜貴妃 沈氏; 994 – 1076)
  7. Lady Du Qiongzhen (貴妃 杜瓊真; d. 1046)
    1. Lady Zhao Zhichong (昭懷帝姬 趙志衝; d. 1047)
  8. Unknown
    1. Zhao Ti (溫王 趙禔)
    2. Zhao Zhi (昌王 趙只)
    3. Zhao Zhi (信王 趙祉)
    4. Zhao Qi (欽王 趙祈)

See also[edit]

  1. Chinese emperors family tree (middle)
  2. List of emperors of the Song dynasty
  3. Architecture of the Song dynasty
  4. Culture of the Song dynasty
  5. Economy of the Song dynasty
  6. History of the Song dynasty
  7. Society of the Song dynasty
  8. Technology of the Song dynasty


  1. ^ Jonathan D. Spence. God's Chinese Son. New York 1996. p.42
  2. ^ China archeology and art digest, Volume 3, Issue 4. Art Text (HK) Ltd. 2000. p. 354. 
Emperor Zhenzong
House of Zhao (960–1279)
Born: 997 Died: 1022
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Taizong
Emperor of the Song Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Renzong
Emperor of China