Zhao Hongyin

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Zhao Hongyin
a posthumous portrait on a hanging scroll, kept in National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
Personal details
Died (956-09-03)3 September 956
Full name Surname: Zhào ()
Given name: Hóngyīn ()
Father Zhao Jing (趙敬)
Mother Lady Liu (劉氏)
Zhao Hongyin
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Zhao Hongyin (趙弘殷) (899-956) was a military general in imperial China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.

After his death, his son Zhao Kuangyin founded the Song Dynasty in 960. Another son Zhao Kuangyi would also become a Song emperor. For this reason, Zhao Hongyin is posthumously honored as "Emperor Xuanzu (宣祖) of Song". All emperors of the Song dynasty were his descendants via either Emperor Taizu (most emperors of the Southern Song) or Emperor Taizong (most emperors of the Northern Song).

Early life[edit]

The young Zhao Hongyin was a skilled horse archer. He originally served the warlord Wang Rong for the de facto independent Zhao State, and was once ordered by Wang to lead 500 cavalries to assist their ally Li Cunxu in battles, presumably against the Later Liang. Impressed by his bravery, Li kept Zhao as part of his imperial army after the fall of Zhao in 921.[1]

It was also around this period that he married Lady Du who was 3 years his junior.[2] According to popular rumour a few decades after his death, when Zhao Hongyin first came to the area by himself, he encountered a snowstorm and had to beg for food from servants in official Du Shuang's (杜爽) house. After a few days, the servants noticed that he was hardworking and persuaded Du to keep him in the house. A few months later, the family arranged for him to marry their eldest daughter.[3]


  • Parents:
    • Zhao Jing (翼祖 趙敬; 872 – 933)
    • Posthumous empress Liu (簡穆皇后 劉氏)
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Empress dowager Du (昭憲皇太后 杜氏; 902 – 961)
    1. Zhao Guangji (邕王 趙光濟)
    2. Princess Gongxian (恭獻帝姬)
    3. Zhao Kuangyin (太祖 趙匡胤; 927 – 976)
    4. Princess Gongyi (恭懿帝姬; d. 973)
    5. Zhao Jiong (太宗 趙炅; 939 – 997)
    6. Zhao Guangzan (岐王 趙光贊)
  2. Lady Geng (陳夫人 耿氏)
    1. Zhao Tingmei (涪悼王 趙廷美; 947 – 984)


  1. ^ Song Shi, vol. 1
  2. ^ Song Shi, vol. 242 mentions that the marriage took place when Lady Du, born around 902, was just entering adulthood.
  3. ^ Dong Qi Jishi, vol. 1
  • (in Chinese) Toqto'a; et al. (1345). Song Shi (宋史) [History of Song]. 
  • (in Chinese) Fan Zhen. Dong Qi Jishi (東齋記事) [Notes of Eastern Qi].