Jingtai Emperor

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Jingtai Emperor
7th Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Reign22 September 1449 – 11 February 1457
Coronation22 September 1449
PredecessorEmperor Yingzong (as the Zhengtong Emperor)
SuccessorEmperor Yingzong (as the Tianshun Emperor)
Born21 September 1428
Died14 March 1457(1457-03-14) (aged 28)
Empress Xiaoyuanjing
(m. 1449; dep. 1452)

Empress Suxiao
(died 1456)
IssuePrincess Gu'an
Full name
Family name: Zhu (朱)
Given name: Qiyu (祁鈺)
Era name and dates
Jingtai (景泰): 14 January 1450 – 14 February 1457
Posthumous name
Emperor Gongren Kangding Jing[1]
Temple name
Ming Daizong [2]
HouseHouse of Zhu
FatherXuande Emperor
MotherEmpress Dowager Xiaoyi
Jingtai Emperor
Literal meaning"Exalted View"

The Jingtai Emperor (景泰 IPA: [tɕìŋtʰâɪ]) (21 September 1428 – 14 March 1457), born Zhu Qiyu, was Emperor of China from 1449 to 1457. The second son of the Xuande Emperor, he was selected in 1449 to succeed his older brother, the Zhengtong Emperor, when the latter was captured by Mongols following the Tumu Crisis. He reigned for 8 years before being removed from the throne by his brother, who was restored as the Tianshun Emperor. The Jingtai Emperor's era name, "Jingtai", means "Exalted View".

Early life[edit]

The future Jingtai Emperor was born on September 21, 1428 with the name Zhu Qiyu. On August 3, 1449, he was appointed regent by his older half-brother the Zhengtong Emperor.

Zhu Qiyu would ascend the throne in 1449 after his older brother, the Zhengtong Emperor was defeated and taken prisoner by the Oirat Mongols of Esen Khan.


During his reign, aided by the able minister Yu Qian, Jingtai paid particular attention to matters affecting his country. He repaired the Grand Canal as well as the system of dykes along the Yellow River. As a result of his administration, the economy prospered and the dynasty was further strengthened.

The Zhengtong Emperor was released in 1450 after the Mongols learned that the Ming government had installed Zhu Qiyu as the new emperor. After that, Jingtai continued to rule as emperor while his brother was granted the title of Retired Emperor and lived in obscurity.

Deposition and Death[edit]

Jingtai reigned for eight years. When his death was imminent in 1457, he refused to name an heir, particularly because his own son had died mysteriously — perhaps poisoned. The sidelined Zhengtong Emperor saw an opportunity to regain the throne and through a military coup overthrew the Jingtai Emperor. Zhengtong adopted a new era name, "Tianshun", and is henceforth known as the Tianshun Emperor. Jingtai was demoted to the Prince of Cheng, the title he had held before ascending the throne, and was placed under house arrest in Xiyuan (西苑).[3] Jingtai died a month later with some sources hinting that he was murdered by eunuchs on the order of the Tianshun Emperor.

After the Jingtai Emperor's death, the Tianshun Emperor denied his brother's rightful honor to be buried at the Ming Dynasty Tombs (together with his predecessors) located north of Beijing. He was instead buried well away from that locale in the hills west of Beijing and was buried as a prince rather than an emperor. His posthumous name was also shortened to five characters, instead of the normal seventeen, to reflect his demoted status.


  • Parents:
    • Zhu Zhanji, Xuanzong (宣宗 朱瞻基; 16 March 1399 – 31 January 1435)
    • Empress Dowager Xiaoyi, of the Wu clan (孝翼皇太后 吳氏; 1397 – 16 January 1462)
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Empress Xiaoyuanjing, of the Wang clan (孝淵景皇后 汪氏; 1427–1507)
    1. Princess Gu'an (固安郡主; 1449–1491), first daughter
    2. Second daughter
  2. Empress Suxiao, of the Hang clan (肅孝皇后 杭氏; d. 1456)
    1. Zhu Jianji, Crown Prince Huaixian (懷獻皇太子 朱見濟; 1 August 1448 – 21 March 1453), first son

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Demoted to the princely rank by his brother, the restored Tianshun Emperor, he received the posthumous name Li ( – "the Rebellious", "the Violent") when he died in 1457; however, his nephew, the Chenghua Emperor, restored his imperial title in 1476 and changed his posthumous name to Emperor Gongren Kangding Jing
  2. ^ Was denied a temple name by his brother, the restored Tianshun Emperor, but in 1644 the Prince of Fu (福王), the new self-proclaimed emperor of the Southern Ming dynasty, conferred on him the temple name Daizong, which is accepted in most history books, unlike the temple name of the Jianwen Emperor, also conferred by the Prince of Fu, but not recorded in most history books. "Dai" (代) means "proxy", in reference to the Jingtai Emperor being a regent emperor only, as his brother had been taken prisoner by the Mongols
  3. ^ Present day Zhongnanhai to the west of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Jingtai Emperor
Born: 21 September 1428 Died: 14 March 1457
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Zhengtong Emperor
Emperor of China
Succeeded by
Tianshun Emperor