Tie Xuan

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Tie Xuan (1366–1402),[1] courtesy name Dingshi (鼎石), was born in Dengzhou, Henan during the Yuan dynasty and was a Semu Hui. He served as a loyal officer to the deposed Ming-dynasty emperor Jianwen. During the Jingnan Campaign, when the Prince of Yan Zhu Di (later the Yongle Emperor) rebelled against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, Tie Xuan refused to support Zhu Di. He was sentenced to death by having his limbs torn off and fried in oil. Later generations honored him for his unyielding loyalty. In various regions of China, there are temples set up in Tie's honor to offer rituals to him. In the Southern Ming period, he was honored with the title of Grand Protector 太保 and given the posthumous name Zhongxiang (忠襄) (loyal assistant). Later, during Qianlong's reign in the Qing dynasty, he was given the posthumous name Zhongding (忠定).


Early life[edit]

During the reign of the first Ming emperor, Taizu Hongwu, he did well in his studies, and after graduating, he was appointed to an official position. Later, he was granted the post of military governor, and oversaw cases and resolved them quickly. Ming Taizu was happy with his performance and gave him the courtesy name Dingshi (鼎石).[2] In the early years of Jianwen's reign, he was appointed to a high administrative position in Shandong province. When Li Jinglong and his army were sent north to fight against Zhu Di, Tie Xuan gave them military rations and supplies. In the third year of Jianwen (1400), Li Jinglong was defeated at Baigou River. He escaped alone on horseback to Dezhou, where the guards at the gate saw him and despaired at his losses. Tie Xuan and those who helped the army of Gao Yi were also deeply saddened. He went from Linyi straight to Jinan, with Sheng Yong and Song Can's army to fight to the death in defense.[3] The Prince of Yan's army went charging to Dezhou, and Li Jinglong ran to Tie Xuan. Dezhou was lost. The Yan troops got millions more of their war supplies and then they went to fight in Jinan. Li Jinglong lost again and went south.[4]

Fight against the Yan army[edit]

On the 15th day of the 5th month, Zhu Di's army attacked Jinan, and Tie Xuan and Sheng Yong defended the city. Zhu Di sent them a letter urging them to surrender, but it failed.[5] On the 17th day of the 5th month, Zhu Di's Yan army diverted a river by digging into its embankment and released water into the city.[6] Tie Xuan, realizing that the situation was not encouraging, sent 1,000 men to feign surrender.[7] Zhu Di was overjoyed, and the Yan army's officers and soldiers all cheered.Tie Xuan ordered the rest of his warriors to lie on top of the city walls and wait for Zhu Di to enter. They were to ambush him by throwing down iron panels; a supporting ambush was to take place at the broken bridge. Soon after, when Zhu Di did not yet enter the city, the iron panels were unexpectedly thrown down. Zhu Di was greatly alarmed and fled. The troops hidden for the ambush were exposed, and the bridge between was also not yet cut off. Zhu Di urged his horse to run quickly and go. Furious, Zhu Di decided to use cannons to bombard the city. Tue Xuan wrote on some wooden tablets, "The sublime Emperor's spirit tablet" (高皇帝神牌) several times and hung them down from the top of the city walls. The Yan army was obliged to cease the bombardment.[8] After more than three months under siege, Jinan continued to defend itself. At that time the pacification troops there numbered 200,000 and they planned to recover the city of Dezhou. The Prince of Yan was fearful so he lifted the siege to return north.[9] Zhu Di himself launched his troops again. The offensive was set and determined, but after less than two days, he abandoned it and departed. He believed that only by taking Jinan could he cut off the north-south passage. On the spot, he delimited the boundary and guard. It was not difficult for the Yingtianfu (the Nanjing-based government of the Jianwen Emperor) to take it. Consequently, he took advantage of Li Jinglong's dash. With all his strength, he attacked, thinking that he must attack and seize Jinan. Because of Tie Xuan, he failed and he was frustrated. The Jianwen Emperor heard this and was very pleased. He dispatched an official to go and show appreciation, to bestow gold, to confer upon him the title "the third." (三世) Tie Xuan entered the palace to pay his respects and offer thanks. The Jianwen emperor again honored him with a banquet and reception. All of Tie Xuan's suggestions were imposed and adopted. Tie Xuan was promoted to the Shandong left minister position in its government.[10] In the 12th month of that year, he was promoted to an official in the Ministry of War.[11] The Jianwen Emperor replaced Sheng Yong with Li Jinglong as General of Yan, and he assigned Tie Xuan to participate in military affairs.[12][13] That winter, Sheng Yong defeated Zhu Di at Dongchang and beheaded his general, Zhang Yu. Zhu Di fled back to Beiping (now Beijing). Since then, the Yan troops all went via Xuzhou, Pei County, to go south. They would not dare again to go via Shandong.[14]

As the Yan troops day by day advanced, the Jianwen Emperor ordered the Liaodong military official Yang Wen to command 100,000 troops to go ahead and link up with Tie Xuan, to break off the Yan troop's escape route. Yang Wen's army arrived at Zhigu (in Tianjin), and was defeated by the Yan General Song Gui; not one of them arrived in Jinan. In the fourth month of the fourth year of Jianwen (1402), the Yan army, at the south of the Xiaohe River, the central army fought Tie Xuan and the various generals and beheaded many. Both sides linked up to fight at Lingbi, but the pacification soldiers were dispersed and captured. After this, Sheng Yong was also defeated. The Yan troops crossed the river, and attacked Tie Xuan's soldiers stationed at Huaishang. That army was also defeated.[15]

Unyielding and dying[edit]

Soon after Tie Xuan's soldiers were defeated, Tie Xuan was captured. But, he refused to surrender. In court he sat with his back turned in order to insult Zhu Di. Zhu Di ordered him to turn around, but Tie Xuan refused to listen, even after his ears and nose were cut off. Zhu Di commanded that his flesh be cooked and then stuffed into his mouth, asking, "Is it not sweet?" Tie Xuan replied sternly, "The flesh of a faithful official and filial son, why would it not be sweet?" Thereupon, his limbs were torn off. Tie Xuan died after incessant torture. After he died they again used oil to cook his corpse. During the course of events, he wished to face north to worship, but the heat caused oil to unexpectedly splash and drop.[16] Tie Xuan's wife, Mrs. Yang, and their two daughters were put into the Royal Academy (China), and forced to become prostitutes. His son, Tie Fu'an, was exiled to Hechi, and his 83-year-old father, Tie Zhongming, and his mother, Mrs. Xue, were exiled to Hainan.[17] Mrs. Yang died of illness; the two daughters refused to agree to be disgraced. Later, after Zhu Di pardoned them, they were married off to scholars. Tie Xuan's second son, Tie Fushu, fled to Manchuria beyond the wall.[18]

Although the Ming Chengzu Emperor Zhu Di hated Tie Xuan, he still praised his loyalty.[19] At the beginning of Ming Shenzong (the Wanli Emperor)'s rule, an imperial edict was issued ordering the offering of "sacrifices to the Jianwen Emperor's court at all the officials' native villages." Tie Xuan was decorated as the seventh ranking loyal official to Jianwen in his temple. In the time of the Southern Ming's Hongguang Emperor, Zhu Yousong, the title "Grand Protector" (太保) was posthumously conferred upon Tie Xuan, as well as the posthumous name Zhongxiang (忠襄).[20] Qing Gaozong conferred the posthumous name Zhongding (忠定). In various locations in Shandong, there are many Tie Gong (鐵公) temples, all offering sacrifices to Tie Xuan. Jinan's Da Ming lakeside has a Tie Gong temple. The people of Jinan regard his spirit as their local city god because he was a native of their city.


  1. ^ 国朝献徵录》(卷38):“时年三十七,十月十七日也。”
  2. ^ 国朝献徵录》(卷38):“铁鼎石,名铉,邓州丰和乡人。幼处州校,聪敏迈伦。既入国学,学问益大,除礼科给事中,迁五军都督府断事官。高庙每试以盘根错节,知其能,喜而字之曰鼎石。法司有疑狱未决,多属铉以成。”
  3. ^ 革除逸史》:“五月辛未,景隆自德州潜出,奔济南。癸酉,燕将张信入德州,夺军饷百万,转掠济南。参政铁铉、都督盛庸、参赞高魏自临邑入济南。”
  4. ^ 明史》(卷142):“鐵鉉,鄧人。洪武中,由國子生授禮科給事中,調都督府斷事。嘗讞疑獄,立白。太祖喜,字之曰「鼎石」。建文初,為山東參政。李景隆之北伐也,鉉督餉無乏。景隆兵敗白溝河,單騎走德州,城戍皆望風潰。鉉與參軍高巍感奮涕泣,自臨邑趨濟南,偕盛庸、宋參軍等誓以死守。燕兵攻德州,景隆走依鉉。德州陷,燕兵收其儲蓄百餘萬,勢益張。遂攻濟南,景隆復大敗,南奔。”
  5. ^ 明通鑑》(卷12):“燕師遂圍濟南,鉉與庸等乘城守禦。王知不可驟克,令射書城中趣降。”
  6. ^ 明太宗實錄》(卷6):“辛巳,隄水灌濟南城。”
  7. ^ 《明通鑑》卷十二:鉉乃佯令守陴(牆頭)者皆哭,撤守具,遣千人出城詐降。王大喜,軍中懽呼。鉉設計,預懸鐵板城門上,伏壯士闉堵(甕城)中,候燕王入,下板擊之,又設伏,斷城外橋以遏歸師。
  8. ^ 明通鑑》(卷12):“初,燕王之攻真定也,三日不下,即解兵去。惟自以得濟南足以斷南北道,即不下金陵,畫疆自守,亦足以徐圖江、淮,故乘此大破景隆之銳,盡力攻之,期於必拔。不意鉉等屢挫其鋒,又令守陴者詈燕,燕王益憤,乃以大炮攻城。城中不支,鉉書高皇帝神牌,懸之城上,燕師不敢擊。”
  9. ^ 明史》(卷142):“鉉與庸等乘城守禦。燕兵堤水灌城,築長圍,晝夜攻擊。鉉以計焚其攻具,間出兵奮擊。又遣千人出城詐降。燕王大喜,軍中皆歡呼。鉉伏壯士城上,候王入,下鐵板擊之。別設伏、斷橋。既而失約,王未入城板驟下。王驚走,伏發,橋倉卒不可斷,王鞭馬馳去。憤甚,百計進攻。凡三閱月,卒固守不能下。當是時,平安統兵二十萬,將復德州,以絕燕餉道。燕王懼,解圍北歸。”
  10. ^ 革除逸史》:“八月戊申,济南围解。以铁铉为山东左布政使,有功将士姜贵等五十四人升赏有差。”
  11. ^ 明史》(卷111):“十二月任督军。”
  12. ^ 明通鑑》(卷12):“九月,辛未,擢鐵鉉山東布政使,參贊軍務,尋進兵部尚書。封盛庸為曆城侯,授平燕將軍,以代景隆,都督陳暉、平安副之。詔庸屯德州,平安及吳傑屯定州,徐凱屯滄州,相為犄角以困北平。”
  13. ^ 国朝献徵录》(卷38):“当世荣之时,李景隆以败军召还,命历城侯盛庸出印代之。铉趋朝谢恩蒙,赐宴碗肉,几所建白,皆如其言。陞山东布政使,不数日拜兵部尚书,参佐盛庸。凡运筹策申军政粮草,主将多倚藉之。”
  14. ^ 明史》(卷142):“燕王自起兵以來,攻真定二日不下,即捨去。獨以得濟南,斷南北道,即畫疆守,金陵不難圖。故乘大破景隆之銳,盡力以攻,期於必拔,而竟為鉉等所挫。帝聞大悅,遣官慰勞,賜金幣,封其三世。鉉入謝,賜宴。凡所建白皆採納。擢山東布政使。尋進兵部尚書。以盛庸代景隆為平燕將軍,命鉉參其軍務。是年冬,庸大敗燕王於東昌,斬其大將張玉。燕王奔還北平。自燕兵犯順,南北日尋幹戈,而王師克捷,未有如東昌者。自是燕兵南下由徐、沛,不敢復道山東。”
  15. ^ 明史》(卷142):“比燕兵漸逼,帝命遼東總兵官楊文將所部十萬與鉉合,絕燕後。文師至直沽,為燕將宋貴等所敗,無一至濟南者。四年四月,燕軍南綴王師於小河,鉉與諸將時有斬獲。連戰至靈璧,平安等師潰被擒。既而庸亦敗績。燕兵渡江,鉉屯淮上,兵亦潰。”
  16. ^ 明史纪事本末》(卷18):“兵部尚书铁铉被执至京,陛见,背立廷中,正言不屈,令一顾不可得,割其耳鼻,竟不肯顾。爇其肉,纳铉口中,令啖之,问曰:“甘否?”铉厉声曰:“忠臣孝子肉有何不甘!”遂寸磔之,至死,犹喃喃骂不绝。文皇乃令舁大镬至,纳油数斛熬之,投铉尸,顷刻成煤炭;导其尸使朝上,转展向外,终不可得。文皇大怒,令内侍用铁棒十馀夹持之,使北面。笑曰:“尔今亦朝我耶!”语未毕,油沸蹙溅起丈馀,诸内侍手糜烂弃棒走,尸仍反背如故。文皇大惊诧,命葬之。”
  17. ^ 明史》(卷142):“燕王即皇帝位,執之至。反背坐廷中嫚罵,令其一回顧,終不可,遂磔於市。年三十七。子福安,戍河池。父仲名,年八十三,母薛,並安置海南。”
  18. ^ 明史纪事本末》(卷18):“妻杨氏并儿女发教坊司,杨氏病死,二女终不受辱,久之,铉同官以闻,文皇曰:“渠竟不屈耶?”乃赦出,皆适士人。”
  19. ^ 罪惟录》:「對群臣言,每稱鉉忠。」
  20. ^ 爝火录》(卷6):“追补建文死节诸臣赠谥,立祠祀之。……铁铉赠太保,谥“忠襄”。”