Zhao Defang

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhao.
Zhao Defang
Born 958
Died 18 April 981(981-04-18)
  • Lady Jiao (焦氏)
  • Lady Fu (符氏)
  • Lady Wang (王氏)
  • Lady Li (李氏)
  • Zhao Weixu (趙惟敘), son
  • Zhao Weixian (趙惟憲), son
  • Zhao Weineng (趙惟能), son
  • daughter (m. Pan Weixi 潘惟熙)
Full name
Family name: Zhào ()
Given name: Défāng ()
Posthumous name
House House of Zhao
Father Emperor Taizu of Song
Mother Lady He (賀氏)

Zhao Defang (趙德芳) (959–981), was an imperial prince of imperial China's Song Dynasty. He was the fourth son of Emperor Taizu and the younger brother of Zhao Dezhao.

His great-great-great-great-grandson was Emperor Xiaozong of Song.


In 976, Zhao Defang had his first official appointment as the Defense Commissioner of Guizhou, which was quickly followed by appointments of Prefect of Xingyuan (興元, today's Hanzhong), Military Commissioner of Shannanxi Circuit (山南西道, around today's Sichuan) and chancellor. In the winter of 978 he was named Grand Commandant of Inspection (檢校太尉). He died in 981 from an unnamed illness at the young age of 23. Emperor Taizong, his uncle, visited his coffin in tears and cancelled imperial court meetings for 5 days to commemorate him.[1]

In fiction[edit]

In popular stories, including the Generals of the Yang Family legends and Seven Heroes and Five Gallants, Zhao Defang is known as the "Eighth Prince" (八王爺) or "Eighth Virtuous Prince" (八賢王), but this character seems to be a "merger" between Zhao Defang and Zhao Defang's cousin Zhao Yuanyan.

The breakdown:

Zhao Defang (fictional) Zhao Defang (historical) Zhao Yuanyan (historical)
Emperor Taizu's son
Emperor Taizong's nephew
Emperor Zhenzong's cousin
Emperor Taizu's son
Emperor Taizong's nephew
Emperor Zhenzong's cousin
Emperor Taizu's nephew
Emperor Taizong's son
Emperor Zhenzong's brother
nicknamed "Eighth Virtous Prince" Emperor Taizu's 4th son
no reputation
Emperor Taizong's 8th son
known for his virtues
already an adult during Emperor Taizong's reign (976–997) born in 959 born in 985
served during Emperor Zhenzong's reign (997–1022)
served and died during Emperor Renzong's reign (1022–1063)
died in 981 died in 1044

The "Eighth Virtuous Prince" in Seven Heroes and Five Gallants was clearly based on the historical Zhao Yuanyan, who

Notes and references[edit]