Emperor Jingzong of Liao

Emperor Jingzong of Liao (1 September 948 – 13 October 982), personal name Yelü Xian, courtesy name Xianning, was the fifth emperor of the Khitan-led Liao dynasty.

Emperor Jingzong of Liao
Emperor of the Liao dynasty
Reign13 March 969 – 13 October 982
PredecessorEmperor Muzong
SuccessorEmperor Shengzong
BornYelü Xian
1 September 948
Died13 October 982 (aged 34)
EmpressXiao Yanyan
ConcubineConsort Bohai (渤海妃)
IssueYelü Longxu
Yelü Longqing
Yelü Longyou
Yelü Yaoshinu
Yelü Guanyinnü
Yelü Changshounü
Yelü Yanshounü
Yelü Shuge
Era dates
Baoning (保寧; 969–979)
Qianheng (乾亨; 979–982)
Posthumous name
Xiaocheng Kangjing Huangdi (孝成康靖皇帝)
Temple name
FatherEmperor Shizong
MotherXiao Sagezhi
Emperor Jingzong of Liao
Traditional Chinese遼景宗
Simplified Chinese辽景宗
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinLiáo Jǐngzōng
Yelü Xian
Traditional Chinese耶律賢
Simplified Chinese耶律贤
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinYēlǚ Xián
Xianning (courtesy name)
Traditional Chinese賢寧
Simplified Chinese贤宁
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinXiánníng


Yelü Xian succeeded Emperor Muzong in 969 after the latter was murdered by his servants during a hunting trip. He had support from both the Khitan and Han Chinese ruling elites.

Emperor Jingzong made several important contributions to the Liao dynasty. He employed Han Chinese officials in his government, appointing one as the Minister of Southern Affairs and the Duke of Qin. This allowed the government to run more efficiently and sped up the transformation of Khitan society into a feudal society. He cracked down on corruption in the government, firing those who were bribed or incompetent. Emperor Jingzong also accepted criticisms willingly. He stopped hunting frequently after an official made a connection between hunting and Emperor Muzong's death, and Emperor Jingzong began to prepare war against his southern neighbours.

Emperor Jingzong's first conflict with the Northern Song dynasty came with the Song invasion of the Northern Han dynasty. However, the Liao reinforcements were destroyed by a Song army, and Song later destroyed Northern Han. The Song army followed up the victory with an attack on Beijing, the Liao dynasty's southern capital. However, the Liao army completely routed the Song army, with Emperor Taizong of Song fleeing the battlefield. Several battles followed, with a stalemate between the Liao and Song dynasties.

On October 13, 982, Emperor Jingzong died on his way back from a hunting trip.


  • Toqto'a; et al. (1344). Liao Shi (遼史) [History of Liao] (in Chinese).
  • Twitchett, Denis C.; Tietze, Klaus-Peter (1994). "The Liao". In Franke, Herbert; Twichett, Denis C. The Cambridge History of China Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907—1368. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43–153. ISBN 0521243319.
Emperor Jingzong of Liao
House of Yelü (916–1125)
Born: 948 Died: 982
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Muzong
Emperor of the Liao Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Shengzong
Emperor Shizong of Liao

Emperor Shizong of Liao (29 January 919 – 7 October 951), personal name Wuyu, sinicised name Yelü Ruan, was the third emperor of the Khitan-led Liao dynasty. He was the son of Yelü Bei, the eldest son of Abaoji (Emperor Taizu), the founder of the Liao dynasty. He came to power in 947 after the death of his uncle, Emperor Taizong, who raised him in his father's absence.

Emperor Taizong of Song

Zhao Jiong (20 November 939 – 8 May 997), known as Zhao Guangyi from 960 to 977 and Zhao Kuangyi before 960, also known by his temple name Taizong after his death, was the second emperor of the Song dynasty in China. He reigned from 976 to his death in 997. He was a younger brother of his predecessor Emperor Taizu, and the father of his successor Emperor Zhenzong.

Why Emperor Taizong succeeded his brother rather than Emperor Taizu's grown sons (Zhao Dezhao and Zhao Defang, who both died in their twenties during his reign) is not entirely understood by later historians. According to official history, his succession was confirmed by Emperor Taizu on their mother Empress Dowager Du's deathbed as a result of her instruction. A popular story dating back from at least the 11th century suggests that Emperor Taizong murdered his brother in the dim candlelight when the sound of an axe was allegedly heard. Whatever the truth, Zhao Guangyi had been prefect of the Song capital Kaifeng since 961 where he gradually consolidated power. He was the only living prince during Emperor Taizu's reign (as Prince of Jin) and placed above all grand councilors in regular audiences.

In the first three years of his reign, he intimidated the Qingyuan warlord Chen Hongjin and Wuyue king Qian Chu into submission and easily conquered Northern Han, thus reunifying China Proper for the first time in 72 years. However, subsequent irredentist wars to conquer former Tang dynasty territories from the Liao dynasty in the north and the Early Lê dynasty in the southwest proved disastrous: after the failures in the Battle of Gaoliang River and the Battle of Bạch Đằng, the Sixteen Prefectures and Northern Vietnam (at least in their entirety) would remain beyond Chinese control until the Ming dynasty in the 14th century.

Emperor Taizong is remembered as a hardworking and diligent emperor. He paid great attention to the welfare of his people and made the Song Empire more prosperous. He adopted the centralization policies of the Later Zhou, which include increasing agricultural production, broadening the imperial examination system, compiling encyclopaedias, expanding the civil service and further limiting the power of jiedushis.

All subsequent emperors of the Northern Song were his descendants, as well as the first emperor of the Southern Song. However, from Emperor Xiaozong onwards, subsequent emperors were descendants of his brother, Emperor Taizu. This largely stemmed from the Jingkang Incident, whereby most of Emperor Taizong's descendants were abducted by the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty, forcing Emperor Gaozong to seek a successor among Taizu's descendants, as Gaozong's only son had died young.

Empress Xiao

Empress Xiao may refer to:

Yu Daolian (died 366), Jin dynasty empress, posthumously known as Empress Xiao

Empress Xiao (Sui dynasty) (566–648), empress consort of the Sui dynasty


Jingzong are different temple names used for emperors of China. It may refer to:

Emperor Jingzong of Tang (809–827, reigned 824–827), emperor of the Tang dynasty

Wang Yanxi (died 944, reigned 939–944), emperor of the Min dynasty

Emperor Jingzong of Liao (948–982, reigned 969–982), emperor of the Liao dynasty

Emperor Jingzong of Western Xia (1003–1048, reigned 1038–1048), emperor of Western Xia

List of Chinese monarchs

This list of Chinese monarchs includes rulers of China with various titles prior to the establishment of the Republic in 1912. From the Zhou dynasty until the Qin dynasty, rulers usually held the title "king" (Chinese: 王; pinyin: wáng). With the separation of China into different Warring States, this title had become so common that the unifier of China, the first Qin Emperor Qin Shihuang created a new title for himself, that of "emperor" (pinyin: huángdì). The title of Emperor of China continued to be used for the remainder of China's imperial history, right down to the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. While many other monarchs existed in and around China throughout its history, this list covers only those with a quasi-legitimate claim to the majority of China, or those who have traditionally been named in king-lists. The following list of Chinese monarchs is in no way comprehensive.

Chinese sovereigns were known by many different names, and how they should be identified is often confusing. Sometimes the same emperor is commonly known by two or three separate names, or the same name is used by emperors of different dynasties. The tables below do not necessarily include all of an emperor's names – for example, posthumous names could run to more than twenty characters and were rarely used in historical writing – but, where possible, the most commonly used name or naming convention has been indicated.

These tables may not necessarily represent the most recently updated information on Chinese monarchs; please check the page for the relevant dynasty for possible additional information.

Follow these links to see how they are related:

Family tree of ancient Chinese emperors → Chinese emperors family tree (early) → Chinese emperors family tree (middle) → Chinese emperors family tree (late)

List of Generals of the Yang Family characters

This is a list of Generals of the Yang Family characters. While some characters are historical, their stories have been fictionalized. Due to the existence of multiple versions (novels, regional Chinese opera, pingshu and screen adaptations) of the saga, some fictional characters are either omitted completely or take on a different name in a given version.

List of Khitan inscriptions

The list of Khitan inscriptions comprises a list of the corpus of known inscriptions written in the Khitan large script and the Khitan small script. These two scripts were used by the Khitan people in northern China during the 10th through 12th centuries for writing the extinct Khitan language. The Khitan language was in use during the Liao Dynasty (907–1125), the Kara-Khitan Khanate (1124–1218) and the Jin dynasty (1115–1234), but the last recorded Khitan speaker, Yelü Chucai, died in 1243, and the language probably became extinct soon afterwards.There are no surviving examples of printed texts in the Khitan language, and aside from five example Khitan large characters with Chinese glosses in a book on calligraphy, Shūshǐ huìyào (書史會要), written by Tao Zongyi (陶宗儀) in the mid 14th century, there are no Chinese glossaries or dictionaries of Khitan. The Khitan language is therefore little understood, and the two Khitan writing systems are only partially deciphered.The main source of Khitan texts are monumental inscriptions, mostly comprising memorial tablets buried in the tombs of Khitan nobility. Only one monument in a Khitan script was known before the 20th century, the Record of the Younger Brother of the Emperor of the Great Jin Dynasty (Langjun xingji 郎君行記), which has stood in front of the tomb of Empress Wu of Tang since at least 1618. Until the 1920s it was believed to be written in the Jurchen script. Only after the discovery of the memorial tablets of Emperor Xingzong of Liao and his consort was it realized that the Record of the Younger Brother of the Emperor and the Liao-dynasty memorial tablets were both written in a Khitan script. Several more memorial tablets in the same script were discovered during the 1930s, including memorials for Emperor Daozong of Liao and his consort. Initially it was not clear whether the script inscribed on these memorial tablets was the Khitan large script, recorded to have been devised in 920, or the Khitan small script, recorded to have been devised about 925. A different, unknown script, which appeared more similar to Chinese (incorporating many characters borrowed directly from Chinese), had been discovered on a temple monument in 1935, as well as on a memorial to Xiao Xiaozhong in 1951; and in 1962 Jin Guangping suggested that these two monuments were written using the Khitan large script, and that the Record of the Younger Brother of the Emperor and the imperial memorial tablets were written using the Khitan small script. This identification of the two Khitan scripts is now widely accepted.

There are about 15 known monuments with inscriptions in the Khitan large script, ranging in date from 986 to 1176, and about 40 known monuments with inscriptions in the Khitan small script, ranging in date from 1053 to 1171. The two scripts are mutually exclusive (never occurring together on the same monument), but it is not known why the Khitan people used two different scripts, or what determined the choice of which script to use.

In addition to monumental inscriptions, short inscriptions in both Khitan scripts have also been found on tomb murals and rock paintings, and on various portable artefacts such as mirrors, amulets, paiza (tablets of authority given to officials and envoys), and special non-circulation coins. A number of bronze official seals with the seal face inscribed in the Khitan large script are also known. The Khitan characters on these seals are engraved in a convoluted calligraphic style that imitates the Chinese "nine-fold" seal script style of calligraphy.


Qianheng (乾亨) was a Chinese era name used by several emperors of China. It may refer to:

Qianheng (917–925), era name used by Liu Yan (emperor), emperor of Southern Han

Qianheng (979–983), era name used by Emperor Jingzong of Liao

Song conquest of Northern Han

The Conquest of Northern Han by Song (Chinese: 宋灭北汉之战) occurred in 979, when the forces of the Song Dynasty captured the Northern Han capital of Taiyuan in present-day Shanxi Province after a two-month siege. A relief attempt by the forces of the Liao Dynasty, which was allied to Northern Han, was easily defeated by the Song. Yelü Dilie, a cousin of Emperor Jingzong of Liao, was killed along Yelü Sha's son Yelü Deli (Chinese: 耶律德裏).

Temple name

Temple names are commonly used when naming most Chinese, Korean (Goryeo and Joseon dynasties), and Vietnamese (such dynasties as Trần, Lý, and Lê) monarchs. They should not be confused with era names and posthumous names.

Compared to posthumous names, the use of temple names is more exclusive. Both titles were given after death to a ruler, but unlike the often elaborate posthumous name, a temple name almost always consists of only two characters:

an adjective: chosen to reflect the circumstances of the emperor's reign (such as "Martial" or "Lamentable"). The vocabulary overlaps with that of posthumous titles' adjectives, but for one emperor, the temple name's adjective character usually does not repeat as one of the many adjective characters in his posthumous name. The usual exception is "Filial" (孝). The founders are almost always either "High" (高) or "Grand" (太).

"emperor": either zǔ (祖) or zōng (宗).

Zu ("forefather") implies a progenitor, either a founder of a dynasty or a new line within an existing one. Zu is also given to monarchs with great accomplishment. The equivalent in Korean is jo (조), and tổ in Vietnamese.

Zong ("ancestor") is used in all other rulers. It is rendered as jong (종) in Korean, and tông in Vietnamese.The "temple" in "temple name" refers to the "grand temple" (太廟), also called "great temple" (大廟) or "ancestral temple" (祖廟), where crown princes and other royalty gathered to worship their ancestors. The ancestral tablets in the grand temple recorded the temple names of the rulers.

In earlier times, only rulers had temple names, such as Taihao (太昊). Temple names were assigned sporadically from the Shang dynasty and regularly from the Tang dynasty. Some Han emperors had their temple names permanently removed by their descendants in 190 AD. Temple names are the usual way to refer to emperors from the Tang dynasty up to the Ming dynasty. For the Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty (from 1368 AD), era names are often used instead.

In Korea, temple names are used to refer to kings of the early Goryeo (until 1274 AD), and kings and emperors of Joseon. For the Korean Empire, era names should be used, but the temple names are often used instead. In Vietnam, most rulers are known by their temple names, with the exception of Tây Sơn and Nguyễn monarchs, who are better known by their era names.

Numerous individuals who did not serve as monarch during their lifetime were posthumously promoted to "emperor" or "king" by their descendants and given temple names.

The Great Emperor in Song Dynasty

The Great Emperor in Song Dynasty is a 2015 Chinese historical TV series directed by Gao Xixi, starring Chen Jianbin as Emperor Taizu of Song (Zhao Kuangyin) who founded the Song dynasty and reunified most of China proper.

The series was filmed at the Hengdian World Studios in 2012, but was not broadcast until 2015.

Timeline of Chinese history

This is a timeline of Chinese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in China and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of China. See also the list of rulers of China, Chinese emperors family tree, dynasties in Chinese history and years in China.

Dates prior to 841 BC, the beginning of the Gonghe Regency, are provisional and subject to dispute.

Timeline of Mongolian history

This is a timeline of Mongolian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Mongolia and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Mongolia. See also the list of Presidents of Mongolia.

Timeline of the Khitans

This is a timeline of the Khitans.

Timeline of the Song dynasty

This is a timeline of the Song dynasty.

Xiao Guanyin

Xiao Guanyin (蕭觀音; 1040–13 December 1075), known as the Yide Empress (懿德皇后) during her tenure from 1055 to 1075, and as Xuanyi Empress (宣懿皇后) after her death, was an empress consort of the Liao dynasty, married to her cousin Emperor Daozong of Liao. She was falsely accused of adultery and forced to commit suicide.

Xiao Guanyin was described as "exceedingly beautiful". A sinicized Khitan, she was a pipa virtuoso and wrote songs as well as Chinese poetry. Fourteen of her poems have survived, which have all been translated into English.

Xiao Yanyan

Xiao Yanyan (Chinese: 蕭燕燕; 953–1009) was a Khitan empress of imperial China's Liao dynasty. Her another Chinese name was Xiao Chuo (蕭綽). Her original Khitan family name was Bali (拔裏氏). She married Emperor Jingzong of Liao. At his death in 982, she became regent for her son Emperor Shengzong. She was formally referred to as Empress Dowager Chengtian (承天皇太后).

She commanded her own army of 10,000 cavalry which she stayed at the head of until she was near the age of sixty. Song dynasty troops attacked the Liao in 986, but they were pushed back and later defeated in 989. She was known for her great skills in civil administration and retained great influence until her death.

Yelü Xiezhen

Hanyin Xiezhen (韩隱•斜軫) of the Yelü clan (died 999) was a Khitan general and politician in ancient China's Liao Dynasty.

In 969 Yelü Xiezhen became an important general under Emperor Jingzong of Liao. Along with Yelü Xiuge and Yelü Sha, he fought the Song forces many times. In 986 he captured Song general Yang Ye with the help of Yelü Xidi.

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