Emperor Zhenzong

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhao.
Emperor Zhenzong of Song
Emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty
Reign 8 May 997 – 23 March 1022
Predecessor Emperor Taizong
Successor Emperor Renzong
Born (968-12-23)23 December 968
Died 23 March 1022(1022-03-23) (aged 53)
Empress / Wife Princess Pan
Empress Guo
Empress Liu
Imperial Concubine Consort Yang (楊淑妃)
Consort Li
Consort Shen (沈充媛)
Consort Cao (曹婉儀)
Consort Dai (戴婉儀)
Consort Chen (陳司衣)
Consort Du (杜氏)
Consort Xu (徐夫人)
  • Zhao Ti (趙褆), son
  • Zhao You (趙祐), son
  • Zhao Zhi (趙祇), son
  • Zhao Zhong (趙祉), son
  • Zhao Gui (趙祈), son
  • Zhao Zhen (Emperor Renzong), son
  • Princess Hui
  • Princess Sheng
Full name
Family name: Zhào ()
Given name:
Déchāng () (968-983)
Yuánxiū () (983-986)
Yuánkǎn () (986-995)
Héng () (995-1022)
Era dates
Xiánpíng () 998-1003
Jǐngdé () 1004-1007
Dàzhōngxiángfú () 1008-1016
Tiānxǐ () 1017-1021
Qiánxīng () 1022
Posthumous name
Short: Never used short
Full: Emperor Yìngfú Jígǔ Shéngōng Ràngdé Wénmíng Wǔdìng Zhāngshèng Yuánxiào (皇帝)[1]
Temple name
Zhēnzōng (; "True Ancestor")
House House of Zhao
Father Emperor Taizong of Song
Mother Consort Li (李夫人)

Zhao Heng (趙恆) (968–1022), formally Emperor Zhenzong (眞宗), was the 3rd emperor of imperial China's Song Dynasty. He reigned from his father Emperor Taizong's death in 997 until his own death in 1022, when he was succeeded by his son Emperor Renzong.

Emperor Zhenzong's reign was noted for the consolidation of power and the strengthening of the dynasty. The country prospered, and its military might was further reinforced. However, it would also mark the beginning of a foreign policy towards the Khitan Empire (Liao Dynasty) in the north that would ultimately result in humiliation. In 1004, the Khitan waged war against the Song empire. Zhenzong, leading his army, struck back at the Khitan. Despite initial successes, in 1005 Zhenzong concluded the Shanyuan Treaty. The treaty resulted in over a century of peace, but at the price of the Song dynasty agreeing to an inferior position to the Khitan, 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 dynasty, while the payments slowly depleted the empire's coffers.

Zhenzong founded a celebrated ceramic kiln at Jingdezhen in 1004, which continued to produce porcelain for China's imperial use until the fall of the Qing Dynasty 900 years later. He was also 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.

Zhenzong stressed the importance of Daoism at 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 sacrifices carried out at Mount Tai. From 1013 to 1015 he issued official decrees deifying the Jade Emperor as the highest ruler of Heaven.[2]

Champa rice was introduced to China from Champa during his 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 Muslim General Ma Hongkui, who refused to publicize 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 America to bring the artifacts to Chiang Kai-shek, who turned them over to the Taipei National Palace Museum.[3]

Personal information[edit]

  • Father
  • Mother
    • Empress Li, posthumously honored as Empress Yuande (元德皇后)
  • Wife
    • Princess Pan (968–989), eighth daughter of Pan Mei, died before Zhenzong's accession and was posthumously honored as Empress Zhanghuai (章怀皇后)
    • Empress Guo (975–1007), second daughter of Guo Shouwen (郭守文) and granddaughter of military officer Guo Hui (郭暉), mother of Crown Prince You, formally Empress Zhangmu (章穆皇后)
    • Empress Liu (968–1033), daughter of Liu Tong (劉通) and Lady Pang, formally Empress Zhangxianmingsu (章獻明肅皇后)
    • Empress Li (987–1032), daughter of Li Rende (李仁德), mother of Prince Zhen, posthumously honored as Empress Zhangyi (章懿皇后)[4]
    • Empress Yang (984–1036), daughter of Yang Zhiyan (楊知儼), posthumously honored as Empress Zhanghui (章惠皇后)
  • Concubine
    • Consort Shen (994–1076), daughter of Shen Jizong (沈繼宗) and granddaughter of Chancellor Shen Lun (沈倫), formally Consort Zhao Jing
    • Consort Du
    • Consort Cao
    • Consort Chen
    • Consort Dai
    • Consort Xu
    • Consort Chen[5]
  • Sons
    • Zhao Ti (趙褆), the Prince of Wen (溫王), died young
    • Zhao You (趙祐), Crown Prince Daoxian (悼獻太子)
    • Zhao Zhi (趙祇), the Prince of Chang (昌王), died young
    • Zhao Zhong (趙祉), the Prince of Xin (信王)
    • Zhao Gui (趙祈), the Prince of Qin (欽王), died young
    • Zhao Zhen 趙禎 (30 May 1010 – 30 April 1063), Emperor Renzong
  • Daughters
    • Princess Hui (惠國公主), died young
    • Princess Sheng (升國大長公主), previously Princess Lu (魯國大長公主), initially Princess Wei (衛國長公主)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ This is the final version of the posthumous name given in 1047.
  2. ^ Jonathan D. Spence. God's Chinese Son. New York 1996. p.42
  3. ^ China archeology and art digest, Volume 3, Issue 4. Art Text (HK) Ltd. 2000. p. 354. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  4. ^ Initially Zhenzong's concubine, she was elevated posthumously to the rank of Empress
  5. ^ Not the same as the above
Emperor Zhenzong
House of Zhao (960–1279)
Born: 997 Died: 1022
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Taizong of Song
Emperor of the Song Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Renzong of Song
Emperor of China