|Part of the Jin–Song Wars|
Bianjing on the map of modern Henan
|Northern Song dynasty||Jin dynasty|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Emperor Qinzong of Song||
Emperor Taizong of Jin |
First siege: 200,000|
Second siege: 70,000
First siege: 100,000|
Second siege: 150,000
|Casualties and losses|
|Many members of the Song imperial family abducted. Devastating destruction to government and civilians.||Unknown|
The Jingkang Incident (靖康事變; Jìngkāng shì biàn), also known as the Humiliation of Jingkang (靖康之恥; Jìngkāng zhī chǐ) and the Disorders of the Jingkang Period (靖康之亂; Jìngkāng zhī luàn) took place in 1127 during the Jin–Song Wars when the forces of the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty besieged and sacked Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng), the capital of the Han Chinese-led Song dynasty. The Jin forces captured the Song ruler, Emperor Qinzong, along with his father, Emperor Huizong, and many members of the imperial family and officials of the Song imperial court.
This event marked the end of the era known as the Northern Song dynasty, when the Song dynasty controlled most of China. Some members of the Song imperial family, most notably Zhao Gou (later Emperor Gaozong), managed to escape to southern China, where they reestablished the Song dynasty (as the Southern Song dynasty) in the new capital, Lin'an (present-day Hangzhou). This event also greatly contributed to the return of the descendants of Emperor Taizu to the line of succession, as most of Emperor Taizong's descendants were abducted; Emperor Gaozong himself failed to produce an heir as well.
This event was referred to as the "Jingkang Incident" because it took place during the Jingkang era of the reign of Emperor Qinzong; "Jingkang" was the era name of Emperor Qinzong's reign.
In 1120, under the Alliance Conducted at Sea, the Jin and Song dynasties agreed to form a military alliance against the Liao dynasty and, if victorious, divide up the Liao territories. The Jin would get a large portion of the northern land and the Song would get a smaller portion in the southern region called the Sixteen Prefectures.
The Jin army sacked the Liao capital of Shangjing and ended the Liao dynasty. The Song army in the south, however, could not even penetrate the Liao's defensive positions and the army was defeated by the remaining Liao troops afterwards. This exposed the limitation of the Song army as well as the corruption and bureaucracy in the Song imperial court. In the end, the Jin took control of all former Liao territories.
After the fall of the Liao dynasty, the Song dynasty wanted the Sixteen Prefectures as promised. The Jin dynasty sold the land at a price of 300,000 bolts of silk and 200,000 ounces of silver. This price was considered to be extremely generous because it was the tribute that the Song was previously paying to the Liao annually since the Chanyuan Treaty of 1005.
Prelude to the war
According to the Twenty-Four Histories, in 1123, three years after the fall of Liao, a Jin general Zhang Jue (張覺) defected to the Song dynasty. Since he was governor of the Jin-controlled Pingzhou Prefecture, an area just north of the Sixteen Prefectures on the other side of the Great Wall, Pingzhou Prefecture was also merged into Song territory. The Song imperial court initially welcomed the defection and awarded Zhang Jue an honorific title and land. The Jin dynasty, on the other hand, sent a small army aimed to overturn the defection but was defeated by Zhang Jue's troops.
Soon after that, the Song imperial court realised that Zhang Jue's defection would only result in hostility from the north. Zhang Jue was executed in the winter of 1123. This came too late: in the fall of 1125, Emperor Taizong of the Jin dynasty issued an order to launch a full-scale attack on Song territories.
First Siege of Bianjing
The Jin armies invaded Song territory from the west and from the north. The Jin northern army advanced quickly, sacking Qinhuangdao in October 1125, followed Baoding, Dingzhou, Zhengding and Xingtai in January 1126. This army, commanded by Wolibu (Wanyan Zongwang), did not meet much resistance as most of the Song generals surrendered themselves and their cities as soon as the Jin army arrived. On the other hand, the Jin western army, commanded by Nianhan (Wanyan Zonghan), was held up near the cities of Datong and Taiyuan from the very beginning and did not make much progress for the rest of the war. In February 1126, the Jin northern army crossed the Yellow River and began the siege of Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng), the Song capital. Before the invaders surrounded the city, Emperor Huizong had abdicated in favour of his eldest son, Emperor Qinzong, and fled to the countryside with his entourage. The Jin northern army faced difficult siege fighting that was not well-suited for cavalry. At the same time, the Jin western army was still held up in the Datong area and could not come to the aid of the northern army. In an effort to end the battle sooner, Emperor Qinzong sent his ninth brother, Zhao Gou to the enemy camp for peace talks. The Jin emperor, Emperor Taizong, ordered Zhao Gou taken hostage until the Song imperial court came up with a ransom. Eventually, the Song imperial court came forth with the ransom and the city of Taiyuan was also given to Jin as a gift in good faith. Zhao Gou was released and the Jin northern army started to withdraw.
Second Siege of Bianjing
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Everything went back to normal as soon as the Jin forces retreated. Lavish parties continued to be held daily at the imperial palace. Emperor Huizong returned to Bianjing from the countryside. Song generals suggested that large numbers of troops ought to be garrisoned along the border of the Yellow River. Emperor Qinzong rejected the proposal by citing that the Jin forces might never come back. Many experienced generals who defended the city in the first siege of Bianjing were removed from the capital and posted elsewhere in the country. Many army groups were decommissioned or sent back to their prefectures of origin.
Three months after the first siege of the city, the Jin imperial court sent two ambassadors to Song. The two ambassadors were nobles from the former Liao dynasty. Emperor Qinzong misjudged the situation and believed that they could be used to turn against the Jin ruler, Emperor Taizong. Emperor Qinzong sent a coded letter which was sealed in candle wax, inviting them to join Song to form an anti–Jin alliance. The two handed the letter to Emperor Taizong right away. Furious, Emperor Taizong ordered an even bigger army to attack Song. This second campaign would eventually topple the Northern Song dynasty.
Since most of the Jin troops just returned from their first expedition and had not even unpacked, the army was quickly mobilised. Following precedents set in the previous campaign, the Jin army divided into two groups, Wolibu's northern army and Nianhan's western army, even daring to take the same routes again.
In September 1126, the two Jin army groups set foot in Song territory. Unlike the previous battle, however, the western army was able to sack Datong within only one month. Cities like Luoyang and Zhengzhou surrendered themselves, clearing the way to Bianjing. The northern army, having sacked Baoding, Dingzhou and Zhengding in September, regrouped and crossed the Yellow River in November. It then went on a rampage and sacked Qingfeng, Puyang and other satellite cities around Bianjing in December. By the middle of December, the two forces regrouped at Bianjing and the capital was finally besieged.
Unlike the first siege, Bianjing's defences in the second siege had some fatal flaws:
- Due to the lack of experienced generals and personnel, the whole defence process was unorganised with no prioritisation.
- The Jin army was much bigger than the last time. Emperor Taizong sent a 150,000 strong force, having learnt from the first siege, when the western army was held up in Datong and could not advance on Bianjing. This time, however, Datong was sacked within a month, and the full strength of the western army was under the city walls.
- Although Emperor Qinzong called for help and many responded, the rapidity of deployment of Jin troops made it impossible to aid the city. Song troops from all over the country, including Zhao Gou's troops came to Bianjing but were not able to get into the city.
- Emperor Qinzong's trust in a minister who claimed he could summon "divine soldiers" from Heaven to the battleground was misplaced, causing much wasted time and human lives.
On 20 March 1127, Jin troops summoned the two captured emperors to their camps. Awaiting them was a directive from Emperor Taizong that they were to be demoted to commoners, stripped of their ceremonial trappings and Jin troops would compound the imperial palace. This was just the beginning of weeks of looting, rape, arson and execution of prisoners of war and civilians.
According to The Accounts of Jingkang, Jin troops looted the entire imperial library and the decorations in the palace. Jin troops also abducted all the female servants and imperial musicians. The imperial family was abducted and their residences were looted. All the female prisoners were ordered, on pain of death, to serve the Jin aristocrats no matter what rank in society they had previously held. A Jin prince wanted to marry Emperor Huizong's daughter, Zhao Fujin, who had been another man's wife. Later on, the emperor's concubines were also given to the prince by Emperor Taizong. To avoid captivity and slavery under the Jurchens, many palace women committed suicide.
Emperor Taizong feared that the remaining Song troops would launch a counter-offensive to reclaim the capital. Therefore, he set up in Bianjing a puppet government for the lands south of the Yellow River, called Chu (楚), and ordered all the assets and prisoners to be taken back to the Jin capital – Shangjing (in present-day Harbin). The captives marched to the Jin capital along with the assets. Over 14,000 people, including the Song imperial family, went on this journey. Their entourage — almost all the ministers and generals of the Northern Song dynasty — suffered from illness, dehydration and exhaustion, and many never made it. Upon arrival, each person had to go through a ritual where the person has to be naked and wearing only sheep skins. Contrary to what was previously thought, the ceremony was drawn from ancient Han Chinese customs, drawn together by Jin experts on China rather than a Jurchen ritual. Empress Zhu committed suicide because she could not bear the humiliation. Men were sold into slavery in exchange for horses with a ratio of ten men for one horse. Women, especially former Song princesses, became palace slaves in a part of the Jin palace called the laundry hall (浣衣院) and others were taken as slaves by Jin princes and others. Some Song princesses became Jin princes' concubines. Someone bought an "ex–royal" for less than ten ounces of gold.
The Song male Chinese princes who were captured were given Khitan women to marry from the Liao dynasty palace by the Jin Jurchens, who had also defeated and conquered the Khitan. The original Chinese wives of the Song princes were confiscated and replaced with Khitan ones. One of the Song Emperor Huizong's sons was given a Khitan consort from the Liao palace and another one of his sons was given a Khitan princess by the Jin at the Jin Supreme capital. The Jin Jurchens continued to give new wives to the captured Song royals, the grandsons and sons of Song Emperor Huizong after they took away their original Chinese wives. The Jin Jurchens told the Chinese Song royals that they were fortunate because the Liao Khitan royals were being treated much worse by the Jurchen than the Song Chinese royals, Jurchen soldiers were given the children of the Liao Khitan Tianzuo Emperor as gifts while the Song Emperor was allowed to keep his children while he was in captivity. The Jurchens had sacked and destroyed the Khitan Liao supreme capital and burned the ancestral tombs of the Liao Emperors. Emperor Tianzuo of Liao was executed by the Jurchens during a polo match. Khitan Liao royal princesses from the Yelü family and Xiao family were also distributed to Jurchen Jin princes as concubine. Jurchen Prince Wanyan Liang married the Khitan women Lady Xiao (蕭氏), Consort Chen (宸妃)Lady Yelü (耶律氏), Consort Li (麗妃) Lady Yelü (耶律氏), Consort Rou (柔妃) and Lady Yelü (耶律氏), Zhaoyuan (昭媛). Before the Jurchens overthrew the Khitan, married Jurchen women and Jurchen girls were raped by Liao Khitan envoys as a custom which caused resentment by the Jurchens against the Khitan. Song princesses committed suicide to avoid rape or were killed for resisting rape by the Jin.
Aftermath and appraisal
- The scale of destruction and devastation was unprecedented: treasures, art collections, scrolls from the imperial library and human lives were lost on a scale that the Chinese had never seen before.[dubious ] Due to the heavy damage to the country's economy and military, and the loss of talented manpower, the Southern Song dynasty did not recover the lost territories, despite constant fighting between the Song and Jin, the territory was ruled by non-Han Chinese emperors. It would take another 200 years, until the Ming dynasty, to claim back all the territories that the Song dynasty lost.
- Many foreign-sounding, non-traditional Chinese family names existing in China today can date back to this incident, as the Han Chinese were forced to adapt Jurchen family names. In fact, many members of the imperial family of the Qing dynasty had the surname "Gioro" (e.g. Aisin Gioro, Irgen Gioro); it is believed that they were the descendants of Emperor Huizong and Emperor Qinzong.
- This invasion, combined with the later Mongol rule, were speculated to have caused China's advance into capitalism to fall behind by several centuries; although the Ming dynasty later restored the old order, their own fall to the Manchus was to stagnate China once more. This view is supported by the fact that the Song economy had been advanced, and exhibited many features of capitalism. According to this view, the Jingkang Incident holds historic significance in regard to China's decline in the modern age.
- Researchers in China who published their findings in the People's Political Consultative Daily in 2001, pointed out that this incident led to the transformation of women's rights after the Song dynasty. Since the members of the imperial family who were captured were sold as slaves or concubines, Chinese rulers after the Song dynasty emphasised the importance of sexual norms, especially a woman's chastity and loyalty towards her husband. Chinese rulers of later dynasties instructed that when a woman is confronted between the choice of survival or the honour of chastity, survival is not an option.
In popular culture
- This incident was referred to as the "Lingering Humiliation of Jingkang" (靖康恥，猶未雪，臣子恨，何時滅) in Man Jiang Hong, a lyrical poem commonly attributed to the Song dynasty general Yue Fei, but was actually written by an anonymous poet in the Ming dynasty.
- In The Legend of the Condor Heroes, a wuxia novel by Louis Cha, this national humiliation inspired the Quanzhen Taoist Qiu Chuji to name the two main characters, Guo Jing and Yang Kang, who were born soon afterwards in the storyline.
- In Bandit Kings of Ancient China, a video game by Koei, failure to win the game before 1127 results in the Jurchens occupying the entire China in January 1127, ending the game.
- Guy Gavriel Kay liberally fictionalises the incident in River of Stars, an alternate historical fiction novel for adults. Kay uses alternate names for historic places and fictional characters.
- Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. (2013). Emperor Huizong (Harvard University Press; 2013) 661 pages; scholarly biography online review
- Ebrey, Patricia Buckley. (1999). The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-66991-X (paperback).
- Jing-shen Tao (1976) The Jurchen in Twelfth-Century China. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-95514-7.
- Franke, Herbert and Denis Twitchett. Alien Regimes and Border States, 907–1368 (Cambridge History of China, vol. 6). Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-521-24331-9. Partial text on Google Books.
- Kaplan, Edward Harold. Yueh Fei and the founding of the Southern Sung. Thesis (Ph. D.) -- University of Iowa, 1970. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1970.
- Coblin, W. South (2002). "Migration History and Dialect Development in the Lower Yangtze Watershed". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 64 (3): 533. doi:10.1017/s0041977x02000320.
- "Twenty - Four Histories, History of Jin" 《金史·太宗本纪》：『十一月壬子，命宗望問闍母罪，以其兵討張覺。』 ("November of 壬子 year, the [Jin] emperor sent troops for Zhang Jue's defection.")
- "Twenty - Four Histories, History of Liao" 《遼史·天祚帝本纪》：『金人克三州，始來索倉，王安中諱之。索急，斬一人貌類者去。金人曰，非倉也，以兵來取。安中不得已，殺倉，函其首送金。』 ("After Jin troops sacked three cities, Jin sent diplomats for Zhang Jue. Panicking, Wang Anzhong (a Song general) killed someone who looked like Zhang Jue and sent the head to Jin. The Jin realised it was a ruse and attacked Song again.")
- "Twenty - Four Histories, History of Jin" 《金史·叛臣列傳》：『安中不得已，引覺出。數以罪，覺罵宋人不容口，遂殺覺函其首以與金人。』("Wang Anzhong was forced to behead Zhang Jue and send the head to Jin.")
- "Twenty - Four Histories, History of Jin" 《金史·太宗本纪》：『十月甲辰，詔諸將伐宋。以諳班勃極烈杲兼領都元帥，移賚勃極烈宗翰兼左副元帥先鋒，經略使完顏希尹為元帥右監軍，左金吾上將軍耶律余睹為元帥右都臨，自西京入太原。六部路軍帥撻懶為六部路都統，斜也副之，宗望為南京路都統，闍母副之，知樞密院事劉彥宗兼領漢軍都統，自南京入燕山。』("October of 甲辰 year, the [Jin] emperor appointed a few generals and attacked Song from the west and north.")
- Jing-shen Tao, "The Jurchen in Twelfth-Century China". University of Washington Press, 1976, ISBN 0-295-95514-7. Pages 20-21. Tao refers to the Western and Northern Force as the Western and Eastern Armies, respectively.
- Bowman, John Stewart (2000). Columbia chronologies of Asian history and culture. Columbia University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-231-11004-9.
- The bulletin of Sung and Yüan studies (1987), Cornell University Department of History, issues 19–21
- "The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證)，「二十四日，开宝寺火。二十五日，虏索国子监书出城。」次年正月，「二十五日，虏索玉册、车辂、冠冕一应宫廷仪物，及女童六百人、教坊乐工数百人。二十七日，虏取内侍五十人」("On the 24th, Kaibao Temple was set ablaze. On the 25th, the books from the Imperial College were confiscated." "On January 25th of the following year, jade books, chariots, imperial headwear, ceremonial instruments, and 600 young girls and several hundred imperial musicians were seized. On the 27th, some 50 servants were abducted.)
- "The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證) 「二十七日，金兵掠巨室，火明德刘皇后家、蓝从家、孟家，沿烧数千间。斡离不（完颜宗望）掠妇女七十余人出城。」("On the 27th, Jin troops plundered the residencies of Empress Lui, Lan Cong, Meng and torched thousands of others. Wolibu (Wanyan Zongwang) abducted over 70 women.")
- "The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證) 「烈女张氏、曹氏抗二太子意，刺以铁竿，肆帐前，流血三日。初七日，王妃、帝姬入寨，太子指以为鉴，人人乞命。」("Because the maiden martyrs Mistress Zhang and Mistress Cao resisted the Second Prince's ambitions, they were impaled with metal rods and placed in front of a tent where they bled to death in three days. On the 7th day of the month, the other concubines entered the stockade. The prince used the example of Zhang and Cao as a warning, and they all begged for their lives.)
- "The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證) 完颜宗翰大怒道：「昨奉朝旨分虏，汝何能抗令？堂上客各挈二人。」徽宗道：「上有天，下有帝，人各有女媳。」然而无用，设也马北上途中就以富金为妻，回到上京后，金太宗诏许，「赐帝姬赵富金、王妃徐圣英、宫嫔杨调儿、陈文婉侍设也马郎君为妾。」 (An angry Wanyan Zonghan said: "Yesterday I was ordered to separate the prisoners, how can you refuse to obey? Our men shall each take two women." Emperor Huizong replied, "Above there is Heaven, and below emperors and the people have their daughters and daughters-in-law." His protest proved ineffective. Sheyema married Zhao Fujin during his journey back north. After Sheyema arrived in the Supreme Capital, the Jin Emperor Taizong delivered the following edict: "The Imperial Princess Zhao Fujin, along with Concubines Xu Shengying, Yang Diao'er and Chen Wenwan are hereby bestowed upon Prince Sheyema.")
- Peter Allan Lorge (2005). War, politics and society in early modern China, 900-1795. Taylor & Francis. p. 54. ISBN 0-415-31690-1.
Many palace women drowned themselves rather than be given to the Jurchen invaders.
- "The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證) 「临行前俘虏的总数为14000名，分七批押至北方，其中第一批宗室贵戚男丁二千二百余人，妇女三千四百余人」，靖康二年三月二十七日，「自青城国相寨起程，四月二十七日抵燕山，存妇女一千九百余人。」("There were 14,000 captives divided into seven groups when the march commenced. The first group, composed of imperial family members and nobles, contained 2,200 males and 3,400 females and departed on the 27th day of the third month from the Qingcheng stockade. When it arrived in Yanshan on the 27th day of the following month, just over 1,900 females remained.")
- Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (2014). Emperor Huizong (illustrated, reprint ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 493. ISBN 0674726421.
- "The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證) 设也马北上途中就以富金为妻，回到上京后，金太宗诏许，「赐帝姬赵富金、王妃徐圣英、宫嫔杨调儿、陈文婉侍设也马郎君为妾。」 Sheyema married Zhao Fujin during his journey back north. After Sheyema arrived in the Supreme Capital, the Jin Emperor Taizong delivered the following edict: "The Imperial Concubine Zhao Fujin, along with Concubines Xu Shengying, Yang Diao'er and Chen Wenwan are hereby bestowed upon Prince Sheyema.""The Accounts of Jingkang" (靖康稗史箋證) 「以八金买倡妇，实为亲王女孙、相国侄妇、进士夫人」 ("For eight pieces of gold, one purchased a singer who had been a prince's granddaughter, prime minister's daughter-in-law, and minister's wife.")
- Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (2014). Emperor Huizong (illustrated, reprint ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 488. ISBN 0674726421.
- Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (2014). Emperor Huizong (illustrated, reprint ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 482. ISBN 0674726421.
- Tillman, Hoyt Cleveland (1995). Tillman, Hoyt Cleveland; West, Stephen H. (eds.). China Under Jurchen Rule: Essays on Chin Intellectual and Cultural History (illustrated ed.). SUNY Press. p. 27. ISBN 0791422739.
- Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (2014). Emperor Huizong (illustrated, reprint ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 468. ISBN 0674726421.
- 徐夢莘. 三朝會盟北編
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- 《黑龙江志稿•氏族》：「觉罗者，传为宋徽、钦之后。」("People who held the surname "Gioro" were believed to be the descendants of Emperors Huizong and Qinzong.)
- Li Bo, Zheng Yin, "5000 years of Chinese history", page 874-880
- <<靖康之難中恥辱的女性>> (The Women in the Jingkang Incident)，People's Political Consultative Daily, Oct 23rd, 2001
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- James T.C. Liu. "Yueh Fei (1103-41) and China's Heritage of Loyalty." The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 31, No. 2 (Feb., 1972), pp. 291-297
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- Baker, Christopher. allgame ((( Bandit Kings of Ancient China > Overview ))). Allgame. Retrieved 2009-02-02.