Zhu Biao

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Zhu Biao
Zhu Biao and Empress Ma.jpg
Painting of Zhu Biao and his mother
Crown Prince of the Ming Dynasty
(as Grand Imperial Son)
Tenure 1368–1392
Successor Zhu Yunwen
as Grand Imperial Grandson
Born 10 October 1355
Anhui, Yuan Empire
Died 17 May 1392(1392-05-17) (aged 36)
Burial Dongling (東陵), Purple Mountain, Nanjing, Ming Empire
Full name
Family name: Zhu ()
Given name: Biao ()
Posthumous name
Crown Prince Yiwen (懿文太子)
Emperor Xiao Kang (孝康皇帝)
Temple name
Ming Xingzong (明兴宗)
Father Hongwu Emperor
Mother Empress Ma

Zhu Biao (Chinese: t , s , p Zhū Biāo; 10 October 1355 – 17 May 1392) was the Hongwu Emperor's first son and crown prince of the Ming Empire. His early death created a crisis in the dynasty's first succession that was resolved by the successful usurpation of his brother Zhu Di as the Yongle Emperor, an act with far-reaching consequences for the future of China.

While his father completed his rebellion against the Yuan Dynasty, Zhu Biao was generally kept away from the front lines and provided with the most esteemed Confucian scholars of his time as tutors. Particularly by comparison with his father or brother, Zhu Biao is remembered as being soft-hearted. The official History of Ming records him once questioning his father why so many of the ministers and generals who had aided him in forming the Ming Empire were being rewarded with death or banishment. His father replied that they were like thorns on a vine; not trusting Zhu Biao to do it himself, the Hongwu Emperor was kindly removing them before passing it on to his son.

Like his son, the Jianwen Emperor, Zhu Biao had a deep appreciation for traditional Chinese culture: he was involved in a survey of Xi'an and Luoyang as potential capitals for the dynasty when he fell ill and died in 1392 at the age of 36. He was posthumously honored with the title Crown Prince Yiwen (懿文太子) by his father and Xingzong (明兴宗), Emperor Kang (康皇帝, lit. "Emperor of Health") by his son.

After his younger brother Zhu Di usurped the throne, he was posthumously demoted back to Crown Prince Yiwen. During Southern Ming, he was again posthumously restored as Xingzong and Emperor Kang.

Generation Poem

After his first son, Zhu Xiongying, Zhu Biao followed the practice of including a generation name into the personal names of his other children. The names followed a generation poem:[1]




This poem would've governed the first character of the personal names of the next 20 emperors of China, but only the first two were officially ever used. After the usurpation of the Prince of Yan Zhu Di, the Jianwen Emperor was said to have died in a fire and his surviving children were killed or kept in isolation to prevent rivals from the throne, and the younger sons of Zhu Biao were also kept under house arrest or killed. But during Republic of China, the politician Wang Pixu (王丕煦) wrote a county chronicle for Laiyang, in which it was recorded that Zhu Yuntong had many descendants there through his son Zhu Wenkun (朱文坤).


  • Parents:
    • Zhu Yuanzhang (高皇帝 朱元璋; 1328 – 1398)
    • Empress Ma (孝慈高皇后 馬秀英; 1332 – 1382), personal name Xiuying
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Posthumous empress Chang (孝康皇后 常氏; 1355 – 1378)
    1. Zhu Xiongying (虞懷王 朱雄英; 1374 – 1382)
    2. Lady Zhu
    3. Lady Zhu
    4. Zhu Yuntong (吳悼王 朱允熥; 1378 – 1417)
  2. Crown princess consort Lü (懿文皇太子妃 呂氏)
    1. Zhu Yunwen (惠宗 朱允炆; b. 1377)
    2. Zhu Yunjian (衡愍王 朱允熞; 1385 – 1402)
    3. Zhu Yunxi (徐簡王 朱允熙; 1391 – 1407)
  3. Unknown
    1. Princess Jiangdu (江都郡主)
    2. Princess Yilun (宜倫郡主)
    3. Unnamed daughter
    4. Princess Nanping (南平郡主; d. 1412)


  1. ^ "Generation Names of the Ming Imperial Clan" ("明宗室世系命名"). (in Chinese)
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