Emperor Qinzong

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Emperor Qinzong of Song
Emperor of the Song dynasty
Reign 19 January 1126 – 20 March 1127
Coronation 19 January 1126
Predecessor Emperor Huizong
Successor Emperor Gaozong
Born Zhao Huan
23 May 1100
Died 14 June 1161(1161-06-14) (aged 61)
Era dates
Jingkang (靖康; 1126–1127)
Posthumous name
Gongwen Shunde Renxiao Huangdi
Temple name
Qinzong (欽宗)
House House of Zhao
Father Emperor Huizong
Mother Empress Xiangong
Emperor Qinzong of Song
Traditional Chinese 宋欽宗
Literal meaning "Venerate Ancestor of the Song"
Zhao Ji
Traditional Chinese 趙桓
Marquis Chonghun
Chinese 重昏侯
Literal meaning Doubly Besotted Marquis

Emperor Qinzong of Song (23 May 1100 – 14 June 1161), personal name Zhao Huan, was the ninth emperor of the Song dynasty in China and the last emperor of The Northern Song Dynasty.

Emperor Qinzong was the eldest son and heir apparent of Emperor Huizong. His mother was Emperor Huizong's empress consort, Empress Wang. In 1126, when the forces of the Jurchen-led Jin Empire invaded the Song Empire beginning the first siege of Bianjing. Frightened, Emperor Huizong abdicated and passed on his throne to Emperor Qinzong, and then assumed the title Taishang Huang ("Retired Emperor") himself and fled to the countryside.


Left to deal with the Jin invasion by himself, Emperor Qinzong appointed the general Li Gang (李綱) to lead the Song military to fend off the invaders. However, Emperor Qinzong was not a decisive leader and often made poor judgments. Eventually, he removed Li Gang from his appointment in the hope of starting peace talks with the Jin Empire and sent his younger brother Zhao Gou to negotiate but he was captured and ransomed. This may contribute to Emperor Gaozong’s decision to not rescue Qinzong. The first siege of Bianjing ended after Qinzong gave a city to the Jins. Emperor Huizong returned after hearing that the siege was over. Qinzong rejected a statement to reinforce the northern borders reasoning that they may never come back and sent his generals to other parts of the country. A second siege began after Qinzong told two nobles from the former Liao Dynasty to join a Anti-Jin alliance but unfortunately, the two Liao nobles betrayed Qinzong by telling Emperor Taizong of Jin and in retaliation, sent a even bigger army aganist the Song.


Since Qinzong mistakenly removed the army to post in different parts of the country, the Jin forces eventually breached the walls of the Song capital, Bianjing, in 1127 and occupied the city in an event historically known as the Jingkang Incident ("Jingkang" was the era name of Emperor Qinzong's reign). Emperor Qinzong, along with his father Emperor Huizong and the rest of their family, were taken prisoner by Jin forces. This event also marked the end of the Northern Song. Qinzong's brother Zhao Gou managed to escape to southern China, where he reestablished the empire as the Southern Song dynasty and became historically known as Emperor Gaozong.

Life in the Jin Dynasty

Emperor Qinzong and his father were demoted to the status of commoners on 20 March 1127 and deported to Huining Prefecture, the Jin capital, on 13 May 1127. In 1128, the two former Song emperors were forced to wear mourning dresses and pay homage to the ancestors of the Jin Emperors at their ancestral temple in Huining Prefecture.[1][2] Furthermore, the Jurchen ruler, Emperor Taizong, gave the two former Song emperors contemptuous titles to humiliate them: Emperor Qinzong was called "Marquis Chonghun" (重昏侯; literally "Doubly Besotted Marquis") while Emperor Huizong was called "Duke Hunde" (昏德公; literally "Besotted Duke").[2]

In 1141, as the Jin Empire normalised relations with the (Southern) Song Empire, the Jurchens renamed Emperor Qinzong's title to the more neutral-sounding "Duke of Tianshui Commandery" (天水郡公), which is based on a commandery located in the upper reaches of the Wei River. A few months later, the former emperor started receiving a stipend due to his nobility status. He lived the rest of his life as a captive in the Jin Empire, which used him as a hostage to put pressure on the Song Empire.[2]

In 1142, Emperor Gaozong signed the Treaty of Shaoxing which made peace with the Jin Dynasty. This destroyed Qinzong’s chance of returning.

In 1156, in an act of humiliation, the Jin Emperor who at the time was the Prince of Hailing ordered him and the former Emperor Tianzuo of Liao to compete in a match of polo. Emperor Qinzong was weak and frail, thus quickly fell off the horse. Emperor Tianzuo himself despite being very old, was more familiar to horse riding, tried to escape but was shot to death by Jurchen archers.

Emperor Qinzong died as a sick and broken man in 1161 having spent two-thirds of his life in the Jin Dynasty.[3] He was 61. His temple name means "Venerate Ancestor".


  • Parents:
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Empress Zhu (仁懷皇后 朱氏; 1102 – 1127)
    1. Zhao Chen (皇太子 趙諶; 1117 – 1128)
    2. Princess Roujia (柔嘉公主; b. 1121)
  2. Second rank consort Zhu (慎德妃 朱氏; 1110 – 1142)
    1. Zhao Jin (趙謹; b. 1127)
    2. Lady Zhao (b. 1130)
  3. Sixth rank consort Zheng (才人 鄭慶雲), personal name Qingyun
    1. Zhao Xun (趙訓; b. 1129)
  4. Sixth rank consort Di (才人 狄玉輝; b. 1114), personal name Yuhui
    1. Lady Zhao (b. 1129)

See also

  1. Chinese emperors family tree (middle)
  2. List of emperors of the Song dynasty
  3. Architecture of the Song dynasty
  4. Culture of the Song dynasty
  5. Economy of the Song dynasty
  6. History of the Song dynasty
  7. Society of the Song dynasty
  8. Technology of the Song dynasty
  9. Jin–Song Wars


  1. ^ Tao, p. 32
  2. ^ a b c Franke (1994), p. 233-234.
  3. ^ Mote F.W. (2003). Imperial China 900-1800. Harvard University Press. p. 291. ISBN 0674012127.
Emperor Qinzong
Born: May 23 1100 Died: June 14 1161
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Huizong
Emperor of the Song Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Gaozong
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