Northern Qi

Last updated
Qi

550–577
China and the surrounding area in 565 AD.png
Asia in 565 AD, showing the Northern Qi Dynasty and its neighbors
China Divisions in 572.png
Administrative divisions in 572 AD
Capital Yecheng [1]
Government Monarchy
Emperor 
 550–559
Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi
 559–560
Emperor Fei of Northern Qi
 560–561
Emperor Xiaozhao of Northern Qi
 561–565
Emperor Wucheng of Northern Qi
 565–577
Gao Wei
 577
Gao Heng
Historical era Northern Dynasties
 Established
9 June [2] 550
  Gao Wei and Gao Heng's capture by Northern Zhou, usually viewed as disestablishment
28 February [3] 577
  Gao Shaoyi's capture by Northern Zhou
27 July 580 [4]
Area
557 [5] 1,500,000 km2 (580,000 sq mi)
Currency Chinese coin,
Chinese cash
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Eastern Wei
Northern Zhou Blank.png
Today part of China

The Northern Qi (simplified Chinese :北齐; traditional Chinese :北齊; pinyin :Běi Qí; Wade–Giles :Pei3-Ch'i2), also called Later Qi and Gao Qi, was one of the Northern dynasties of imperial China history and ruled northeastern China from 550 to 577. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Wenxuan, and it was ended following attacks from Northern Zhou.

Contents

History

Mural painting from the tomb of Gao Yang. Mural Painting from the Tomb of Kao Yang, Northern Ch'i 1.jpg
Mural painting from the tomb of Gao Yang.

Northern Qi was the successor state of the Chinese Xianbei state of Eastern Wei and was founded by Emperor Wenxuan. Emperor Wenxuan had an Han father Gao Huan (specially, he is a Xianbei in cultural conception), and a Xianbei mother, Lou Zhaojun. [6] [7] As Eastern Wei's powerful minister Gao Huan was succeeded by his sons Gao Cheng and Gao Yang, who took the throne from Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei in 550 and established Northern Qi as Emperor Wenxuan.

Paintings on north wall of Xu Xianxiu Tomb.jpg
Paintings on east wall of Xu Xianxiu Tomb.jpg
Paintings on west wall of Xu Xianxiu Tomb.jpg
Mural paintings of court life in Xu Xianxiu's Tomb, Northern Qi Dynasty, 571 AD, located in Taiyuan, Shanxi province

Northern Qi was the strongest state out of the three main states (the other two being Northern Zhou state and Chen Dynasty) in China when Chen was established. Northern Qi however was plagued by violence and/or incompetent emperors (in particular Houzhu), [8] corrupt officials, and deteriorating armies. In 571, an important official who guide the emperors Emperor Wucheng and Houzhu, He Shikai, was killed. Houzhu attempted to strengthen the power of throne, instead he triggered a series of purges that became violent in late 573. [8]

In 577, Northern Qi was assaulted by Northern Zhou, a northwestern kingdom with poorer resources. [9] The Northern Qi, with ineffective leadership, quickly disintegrated within a month, with large scale defections of court and military personnel. [10] Both Houzhu and the last emperor Youzhu were captured, and both died in late 577. Emperor Wenxuan's son Gao Shaoyi, the Prince of Fanyang, under protection by Tujue, later declared himself the emperor of Northern Qi in exile, but was turned over by Tujue to Northern Zhou in 580 and exiled to modern Sichuan. It is a matter of dispute whether Gao Shaoyi should properly be considered a Northern Qi emperor, but in any case the year 577 is generally considered by historians as the ending date for Northern Qi.[ citation needed ]

Emperors

Posthumous Name Personal NamePeriod of Reign Era Names
Wenxuan Gao Yang550-559Tianbao (天保) 550-559
Gao Yin 559-560Qianming (乾明) 560
Xiaozhao Gao Yan560-561Huangjian (皇建) 560-561
Wucheng Gao Zhan561-565Taining (太寧) 561-562
Heqing (河清) 562-565
Gao Wei 565-577 [note 1] Tiantong (天統) 565-569
Wuping (武平) 570-576
Longhua (隆化) 576
Gao Heng 577 [note 2] [note 3] Chengguang (承光) 577

Emperors family tree

Emperors family tree
Gao Huan
高欢 (496-547)
Gao Cheng
高澄 (521-549)
Gao Yang 高洋 (526–559)
Wenxuan
(r. 550-559)
Empress Gao
高皇后
Gao Yan 高演 (535-561)
Xiaozhao
(r. 560-561)
Gao Zhan 高湛 (537–569)
Wucheng
(r. 561-565)
Gao Jie
高湝(?-577)
Gao Changgong
高长恭 d.573
Prince of Lanling 蘭陵王
Gao Yanzong
高延宗 (?-578; r.576)
Gao Yin 高殷 (545-561)
Fei
(r. 559-560)
Gao Shaoyi
高紹義
(b. 546; r.578-580)
Gao Bainian
高百年 556–564
Gao Wei 高緯 (557–577)
Houzhu
(r. 565-577)
Gao Yan
高儼

(558–571)
Gao Heng 高恆 (570–577)
Youzhu
(r. 577)

Northern Qi arts

Northern Qi jar with olive green glaze with Central Asian dancer and musicians 550 577.jpg
Earthenware jar with green glaze Northern Qi 550 577.jpg
Northern Qi earthenware with multicultural motifs 550 to 577.jpg
Left image: Northern Qi jar with Central Asian dancer and musicians, 550-577. [11]
Middle image: Earthenware jar with Central Asian face, Northern Qi 550-577.
Right image: Northern Qi earthenware with multicultural (Egyptian, Greek, Eurasian) motifs, 550-577. [12]

Northern Qi ceramics mark a revival of Chinese ceramic art, following the disastrous invasions and the social chaos of the 4th century. [13] Northern Qi tombs have revealed some beautiful artifacts, such as porcelain with splashed green designs, previously thought to have been developed under the Tang dynasty. [11]

Markedly unique from earlier depictions of the Buddha, Northern Qi statues tend to be smaller, around three feet tall, and columnar in shape. [14]

Northern Qi Bodhisattva, Changzi-xian, Shanxi, dated 552. NorthernQiBuddha.JPG
Northern Qi Bodhisattva, Changzi-xian, Shanxi, dated 552.

A jar has been found in a Northern Qi tomb, which was closed in 576, and is considered as a precursor of the Tang Sancai style of ceramics. [15]

Also, brown glazed wares designed with Sasanian-style figures have been found in these tombs. [11] These works suggest a strong cosmopolitanism and intense exchanges with Western Asia, which are also visible in metalworks and relief sculptures across China during this period. [11] Cosmopolitanism was therefore already current during the Northern Qi period in the 6th century, even before the advent of the notoriously cosmopolitan Tang dynasty, and was often associated with Buddhism. [11] [16]

Identity

Tomb of Northern Qi Dynasty in Jiuyuangang, Xinzhou, Mural 02.jpg
Tomb of Northern Qi Dynasty in Jiuyuangang, Xinzhou, Mural 01.jpg
Murals from a tomb of Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577 AD) in Jiuyuangang, Xinzhou, showing a rural hunting scene on horseback

The Northern Qi, although founded by a ruler of mixed Han/Xianbei origin, strongly asserted their Xianbei ethnic cultural identity. They regarded surviving ethnic Tuoba (themselves also Xianbei) and non-Chinese of the Northern Wei court and as well as literati of all ethnicities as near Chinese, referring to them as Han'er or Chinese kids (漢兒). [10] However they made use of Chinese and sometimes Central Asian courtiers. [17] While some Qi elite families had expressed strongly anti-Chinese sentiments due to unclear reasons, they may also lay claim to Chinese elite origin. [8] Emperor Wenxuan's father Gao Huan himself, who was reported as having said to his soldiers in the Xianbei language: "You guys are our proud military men and the lowly Chinese are just your working slaves", [18] [19] was descended from the Chinese Gao family of Bohai (渤海高氏) in what is now modern Hebei. [20] He had become Xianbeified as his family had lived for some time in Inner Mongolia after his grandfather was relocated from Bohai. [21] [22]

Religions

A Chinese scholar translated the Buddhist text Nirvana Sutra text into a Turkic language during this era. Some Zoroastrianism influences that went into previous states continued onto the state of Northern Qi court, such as the love for Persian dogs (sacred in Zoroastrianism) as they were taken as pets by nobles and eunuchs. The Chinese utilized a number of Persian artifacts and products. [23]

Northern Qi Great Wall

Faced with the threat of the Göktürks from the north, from 552 to 556 the Qi built up to 3,000 li (about 1,600 kilometres (990 mi)) of wall from Shanxi to the sea at Shanhai Pass. [24] In 552, the Great Wall was built, starting at the northwest frontier, starting from Lishi (离石) and expanding towards west Shuoxian (朔县), with total length of over 400 kilometers. [25] In 555, Emperor Wenquan commanded to repair and rebuild the existing Great Wall of Northern Wei. Over the course of the year 555 alone, 1.8 million men were mobilized to build the Juyong Pass and extend its wall by 450 kilometres (280 mi) through Datong to the eastern banks of the Yellow River. In 557 a secondary wall was built inside the main one, starting from east of Pianguan (偏关), passing Yanmen Pass, Pingxing (平型) Pass, and continuing to Xiaguan (下关) in Shanxi Province. In 563, Emperor Wucheng built a section of frontier wall along the Taihang Mountains on the border of Shanxi and Hebei provinces. These walls were built quickly from local earth and stones or formed by natural barriers. Two stretches of the stone-and-earth Qi wall still stand in Shanxi today, measuring 3.3 metres (11 ft) wide at their bases and 3.5 metres (11 ft) high on average. In 577 the Northern Zhou conquered the Northern Qi and in 580 made repairs to the existing Qi walls. The route of the Qi and Zhou walls would be mostly followed by the later Ming wall west of Gubeikou.

See also

Notes

  1. Gao Wei's cousin Gao Yanzong the Prince of Ande (Gao Cheng's son) briefly declared himself emperor around the new year 577 after the soldiers guarding the city of Jinyang (晉陽, in modern Taiyuan, Shanxi) demanded that he claim the title when Gao Wei abandoned Jinyang. Gao Yanzong, however, was almost immediately defeated and captured by Northern Zhou troops, and therefore is generally not considered a true Northern Qi emperor.
  2. In 577, Gao Wei, then with the title Taishang Huang (retired emperor), tried to issue an edict on his son's behalf yielding the throne to his uncle (Gao Huan's son) Gao Jie (高湝) the Prince of Rencheng, but the officials he sent to deliver the edict to Gao Jie surrendered to Northern Zhou rather than delivering the edict to Gao Jie, who was subsequently also captured by Northern Zhou troops. It is questionable whether Gao Jie was even aware of the edict, and in any case, Gao Jie never used imperial title.
  3. As noted above, Emperor Wenxuan's son Gao Shaoyi tried to establish a Northern Qi court in exile on Tujue's territory, but was not successful in his efforts in recapturing formerly Northern Qi territory, and was eventually turned over by Tujue to Northern Zhou. Most historians do not consider him a true Northern Qi emperor, although the matter remains in controversy.

Related Research Articles

Northern Wei

The Northern Wei, also known as the Tuoba Wei (拓跋魏), Later Wei (後魏), was a dynasty founded by the Tuoba (Tabgach) clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 AD, during the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change", the Northern Wei Dynasty is particularly noted for unifying northern China in 439: this was also a period of introduced foreign ideas, such as Buddhism, which became firmly established. The Northern Wei were referred to as "Plaited Barbarians" by writers of the Southern dynasties, who considered themselves the true upholders of Chinese culture.

Eastern Wei

The Eastern Wei followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei, and ruled northern China from 534 to 550. As with Northern Wei, the ruling family of Eastern Wei were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei.

Northern Zhou

The Northern Zhou followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the Northern Dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was eventually overthrown by the Sui Dynasty. Like the preceding Western and Northern Wei dynasties, the Northern Zhou emperors were of Xianbei descent.

Taspar Qaghan or Tatpar Qaghan was the third son of Bumin Qaghan and Wei Changle (長樂公主), and the fourth khagan of the Turkic Khaganate (572–581).

Empress Gao was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Xiaowu.

Empress Gao was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Eastern Wei — a branch successor state to Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Xiaojing, Eastern Wei's only emperor.

Gao Huan (496–547), Xianbei name Heliuhun (賀六渾), formally Prince Xianwu of Qi (齊獻武王), later further formally honored by Northern Qi initially as Emperor Xianwu (獻武皇帝), then as Emperor Shenwu (神武皇帝) with the temple name Gaozu (高祖), was the paramount general and minister of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei and Northern Wei's branch successor state Eastern Wei. Though being ethnically Chinese, Gao was deeply affected by Xianbei culture and was often considered more Xianbei than Chinese by his contemporaries. During his career, he and his family became firmly in control of the government of Eastern Wei, and eventually, in 550, his son Gao Yang forced Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei to yield the throne to him, establishing the Gao clan as the imperial clan of a new Northern Qi state.

Emperor Wenxuan of (Northern) Qi ( 齊文宣帝) (526–559), personal name Gao Yang, courtesy name Zijin (子進), Xianbei name Hounigan (侯尼干), was the first emperor of the Northern Qi. He was the second son of Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan. Following the death of his brother and Gao Huan's designated successor Gao Cheng in 549, Gao Yang became the regent of Eastern Wei. In 550, he forced Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei to yield the throne to him, ending Eastern Wei and starting Northern Qi.

Princess Pingyi (馮翊公主), later honored as Empress Wenxiang (文襄皇后), formally posthumously honored as Empress Jing by Northern Qi, was a princess of the Chinese dynasty Northern Wei and its branch successor state Eastern Wei. She was the sister of Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei, and the wife of Eastern Wei's paramount official Gao Cheng, son of Gao Huan.

Lou Zhaojun, formally Empress Ming, was an empress dowager of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. She was the wife of Gao Huan, the paramount general of Northern Wei and its branch successor state Eastern Wei, and during Gao Huan's lifetime was already influential on the political scene. After Gao Huan's death, she continued to exert influence through the regency of her son Gao Cheng, and then as empress dowager after another son Gao Yang seized the throne from Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei and established Northern Qi. She continued to serve as grand empress dowager through the reigns of Gao Yang's son Emperor Fei, and then again as empress dowager during the reigns of two more of her own sons, Emperor Xiaozhao and Emperor Wucheng.

Emperor Wucheng of Northern Qi ( 齊武成帝) (537–569), personal name Gao Zhan, nickname Buluoji (步落稽), was an emperor of Northern Qi. In traditional Chinese historiography, he was presented as a minimally competent ruler who devoted much of his time to feasting and pleasure-seeking, neglecting the affairs of the state. The state was governed with assistance from his adviser He Shikai and other appointed administrators. In 565, he passed the throne to his young son Gao Wei, taking the title Taishang Huang, but continued to make key decisions. He died in 569, and the Northern Qi would fall in 577.

Gao Wei (高緯) (557–577), often known in history as Houzhu of Northern Qi ( 齊後主), courtesy name Rengang (仁綱), sometimes referred to by his later Northern Zhou-created title of Duke of Wen (溫公), was an emperor of Northern Qi. During his reign, Northern Qi's imperial administration was plunged into severe corruption and wastefulness, with the military suffering after Gao Wei killed the great general Hulü Guang in 572. Rival Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou launched a major attack in 576, and Northern Qi forces collapsed. Gao Wei, who formally passed the throne to his son Gao Heng, was captured while trying to flee to Chen Dynasty, and later that year, the Northern Zhou emperor executed him and almost all members of his clan.

Empress Hulü was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. She was Gao Wei's first empress, and she was a daughter of the general Hulü Guang.

Hulü Guang (斛律光) (515–572), courtesy name Mingyue (明月), was a general of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. During the late years of the dynasty—the reigns of Emperor Wucheng and Gao Wei, traditionally viewed as a period of corruption and debauchery when Northern Qi's once-powerful status was deteriorating—Hulü was viewed as the key pillar to the state and its army, maintaining the army's strength against rivals Northern Zhou and Chen Dynasty. The powerful officials Zu Ting and Mu Tipo, who had disagreements with him, however, falsely accused him of plotting treason, and in 572, Gao Wei believed those accusations and killed Hulü. Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou was very glad over the news and declared a general pardon, and in 578, Northern Qi fell to Northern Zhou.

Gao Yanzong (高延宗), often known by his princely title of Prince of Ande (安德王), was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi who briefly claimed imperial title in 577 for three days as his cousin, the emperor Gao Wei fled in the face of an attack by rival Northern Zhou. Traditional historians usually did not consider him an emperor of Northern Qi.

Gao Heng, often known in history as the Youzhu of Northern Qi ( 齊幼主), was briefly an emperor of Northern Qi. In 577, Northern Qi was under a major attack by rival Northern Zhou. Gao Heng's father Gao Wei, then emperor, wanted to try to deflect ill omens that portended a change in imperial status. He and therefore passed the throne to Gao Heng. Later that year, after they fled in face of Northern Zhou forces' arrival, they were captured and taken to the Northern Zhou capital Chang'an. There in winter 577, Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou ordered them, as well as other members of the Gao clan, to commit suicide. Northern Qi territory was seized by Northern Zhou, although for several years Gao Wei's cousin Gao Shaoyi claimed the imperial title in exile, under Tujue's protection.

Gao Shaoyi (高紹義), often known by his princely title of Prince of Fanyang (范陽王), was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi, who claimed the Northern Qi throne in exile under the protection of Tujue after rival Northern Zhou seized nearly all of Northern Qi territory and captured the emperors, Gao Shaoyi's cousin Gao Wei and Gao Wei's son Gao Heng in 577. In 580, Tujue, after negotiating a peace treaty with Northern Zhou, turned Gao Shaoyi over to Northern Zhou, and he was exiled to modern Sichuan, ending his claim on the Northern Qi imperial title. Most traditional historians do not consider Gao Shaoyi a true emperor of Northern Qi.

Gao Anagong (高阿那肱) was a Xianbei official of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. He was a close associate of the emperor Gao Wei, and late in Gao Wei's reign dominated the political scene along with Mu Tipo and Han Zhangluan. While probably not as corrupt as Mu and Mu's mother and Gao Wei's wet nurse Lu Lingxuan, he was known for incompetence. In 577, with Northern Qi under major attack by rival Northern Zhou, after Gao Wei fled the capital Yecheng, Gao Anagong betrayed him and gave him false information, allowing Northern Zhou forces to capture him. In 580, with Northern Zhou in civil war between the regent Yang Jian and the general Yuchi Jiong, Gao Anagong was on Yuchi's side and, after Yuchi's defeat, was executed.

Chen Yueyi, later Buddhist nun name Huaguang (華光), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.

Military history of the Northern and Southern dynasties

The military history of the Northern and Southern dynasties encompasses the period of Chinese military activity from 420 to 589. Officially starting with Liu Yu's usurpation of the Jin throne and creation of his Liu Song dynasty in 420, it ended in 589 with the Sui dynasty's conquest of Chen dynasty and reunification of China. The first of the Northern dynasties did not however begin in 420, but in 386 with the creation of Northern Wei. Thus there is some unofficial overlap with the era of the Sixteen Kingdoms.

References

Citations

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