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Feng County, Jiangsu
|Died||197 BC (aged 80)|
Liu Taigong (simplified Chinese: 刘太公; traditional Chinese: 劉太公; pinyin: Liú Tàigōng, literally meaning "a senior person named Liu"; died 197 BC), was the father of Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han dynasty, which ruled over China for more than 400 years.
Not much is recorded about Taigong historically. He was born and likely lived his early life in present-day Feng County, Jiangsu. His personal name is not known. Some historical sources says his name is Liu Zhijia (simplified Chinese: 刘执嘉; traditional Chinese: 劉執嘉), although this name is likely chosen after Liu Bang became Emperor. He likely came from a humble, rural background.
After Taigong's son Liu Bang became emperor, Liu Bang continued to visit his father once a week. However, upon hearing from an advisor that it was no longer appropriate for Taigong to "receive" his son, as Taigong was technically one of his subjects, Taigong began to greet his son in deprecatory fashion, honoring the latter's status as emperor. Upon learning the reason behind his father's actions, Liu Bang honored Taigong with the title Taishang Huang after Liu Bang declared himself emperor. The title nominally elevated Liu's status in court protocol as to remain consistent with Confucian norms of filial piety.
Taigong is the only person in history to have held the title of "Taishang Huang" without himself having been emperor. It would be 450 years before the next person was bestowed the title (in recorded history): the Emperor Hui of Jin.
Taigong died at the Royal Palace of Xiang Yang in 197 BC.
- Liu Ren, Duke Fufeng (父豐公 劉仁)
- Consorts and Issue:
- Empress Zhaoling, of the Wang clan (昭靈皇后 王氏), personal name Hanshi (含始)
- Retired Empress, of the Li clan (太上皇后 李氏)
- Liu Jiao, Prince Chuyuan (楚元王 劉交; d. 179 BC), fourth son
Title last held byKing Zhuangxiang of Qin
| Retired Emperor of China
201 BC – 197 BC
Title next held byEmperor Hui of Jin