Tuoba Huang

Last updated
Tuoba Huang
Crown Prince of Northern Wei
DiedJuly 29, 451(451-07-29) (aged 23)
Spouse Consort Yujiulü
Posthumous name
Crown Prince Jingmu 景穆太子
Emperor Jingmu 景穆皇帝
Temple name
Gongzong 恭宗
Father Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei

Tuoba Huang (拓拔晃) (428 – July 29, 451 [1] ), Xianbei name Tianzhen (天真), formally Crown Prince Jingmu (景穆太子) (literally "the decisive and solemn crown prince"), later further formally honored as Emperor Jingmu (景穆皇帝) with the temple name Gongzong (恭宗) by his son Emperor Wencheng, was a crown prince of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was the oldest son of Emperor Taiwu, and was created crown prince in 432 at the age of four, and as he grew older, Emperor Taiwu transferred more and more authority to him. However, in 451, he incurred the wrath of his father due to false accusations of the eunuch Zong Ai, and many of his associates were put to death. He himself grew ill in fear, and died that year.

Xianbei ancient people in Manchuria and Mongolia

The Xianbei were an ancient nomadic people that once resided in the eastern Eurasian steppes in what is today Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Northeastern China. They originated from the Donghu people who splintered into the Wuhuan and Xianbei when they were defeated by the Xiongnu at the end of the 3rd century BC. The Xianbei were largely subordinate to larger nomadic powers and the Han dynasty until they gained prominence in 87 AD by killing the Xiongnu chanyu Youliu. However unlike the Xiongnu, the Xianbei political structure lacked the organization to pose a concerted challenge to the Chinese for most of their time as a nomadic people. After suffering several defeats by the end of the Three Kingdoms period, the Xianbei migrated south and settled in close proximity to Chinese society and submitted as vassals, being granted the titles of Dukes. As the Xianbei Murong, Tuoba and Duan tribes were one of the Five Barbarians who were vassals of the Han Chinese Western Jin and Eastern Jin dynasties, they took part in the Uprising of the Five Barbarians as allies of the Han Chinese Eastern Jin against the other four barbarians, the Xiongnu, Jie, Di and Qiang. The Xianbei were at one point all defeated and conquered by the Di Former Qin empire before it fell apart at the Battle of Fei River at the hands of the Eastern Jin. The Xianbei later founded their own states and reunited northern China as the Northern Wei. These states opposed and promoted sinicization at one point or another but trended towards the latter and had merged with the general Chinese population by the Tang dynasty.

Temple names are posthumous titles that were given to East Asian monarchs. The practice of honoring monarchs with temple names began during the Shang dynasty in China and had since been adopted by other dynastic regimes in the Sinosphere, with the notable exception of Japan. Temple names should not be confused with era names and posthumous names.

Emperor Wencheng of Northern Wei ( 魏文成帝) (440–465), Chinese name Tuoba Jun (拓拔濬), Xianbei name Wulei (烏雷), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He became emperor in the aftermaths of the eunuch Zong Ai's assassination of his grandfather Emperor Taiwu and uncle Tuoba Yu, and he was generally described by historians as a ruler who sought foremost to allow his people to rest after his grandfather's expansionist policies and extensive campaigns, who also reformed the laws to become more lenient.


Early life

Tuoba Huang was born in 428, as Emperor Taiwu's oldest son. His mother's name was render as Consort He (賀夫人), but since both the Helan (賀蘭) and Helai (賀賴) clans later changed their names to He (during the reign of Tuoba Huang's great-grandson Emperor Xiaowen), it is unclear whether her name was Helan or Helai. She died the year that she gave birth to him, suggesting that she might have died in childbirth, but there is no conclusive evidence that it happened.

Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei Emperor of northern wei dynasty

Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei ( 魏孝文帝), personal name né Tuoba Hong (拓拔宏), later Yuan Hong (元宏), or Toba Hung II, was an emperor of the Northern Wei from September 20, 471 to April 26, 499.

In 432, Emperor Taiwu created Tuoba Huang crown prince, at the same time that he created one of his consorts, Consort Helian, empress. He became a highly ranked official in his father's administration that same year, although, at age four, the position was likely nominal. In 433, Emperor Taiwu tried to negotiate a marriage between Crown Prince Huang and one of the daughters of Emperor Wen of Liu Song, but Emperor Wen, while not immediately rejecting the proposal, did not agree either.

Crown prince Heir to the throne

A crown prince is the male heir apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The female form of the title is crown princess, which may refer either to an heir apparent or, especially in earlier times, to the wife of the person styled crown prince.

Empress Helian (赫連皇后), formally Empress Taiwu (太武皇后), was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Taiwu.

In 439, when Emperor Taiwu was on a campaign to conquer Northern Liang, he had Crown Prince Huang assume imperial authority at the capital Pingcheng (平城, in modern Datong, Shanxi), assisted by the high-ranking official Qiumuling Shou (丘穆陵壽), to guard against a Rouran attack. However, Qiumuling, not believing that Rouran would actually attack, took little actual precautions, and when Rouran's Chilian Khan Yujiulü Wuti attacked, Pingcheng was caught nearly defenseless. Qiumuling wanted to escort Crown Prince Huang to the hills south of Pingcheng and take up defense position there, but at the opposition of Emperor Taiwu's wet nurse Empress Dowager Dou, Crown Prince Huang remained in Pingcheng, and when Northern Wei forces subsequently defeated Rouran forces, Yujiulü Wuti was forced to withdraw. (By this point, although he was only 11, Crown Prince Huang was apparently already participating in major military and policy decisions, as he had opposed his father's Northern Liang campaign, but was overruled by his father, who trusted Cui Hao's advice that Northern Liang was easily defeatable.)

Northern Liang former country

The Northern Liang was a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms in China. It was ruled by the Juqu family of Lushui Hu origin. Although the ethnic Han Chinese Duan Ye was initially enthroned as the Northern Liang ruler with support from the Juqu clan, Duan was subsequently overthrown in 401 and Juqu Mengxun was proclaimed monarch.

Datong Prefecture-level city in Shanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Datong is a prefecture-level city in northern Shanxi Province in the People's Republic of China. It is located in the Datong Basin at an elevation of 1,040 metres (3,410 ft) and borders Inner Mongolia to the north and west and Hebei to the east. It had a population of 3,318,057 during the 2010 census, of whom 1,629,035 lived in the built-up area made of the three urban districts of Chengqu, Kuangqu and Nanjiao.

Shanxi Province

Shanxi is a landlocked province in Northern China. The capital and largest city of the province is Taiyuan, while its next most populated prefecture-level cities are Changzhi and Datong. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋", after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn period.

By 442, Crown Prince Huang appeared to be already a devout Buddhist, and when his father, at the suggestion of Cui and the Taoist monk Kou Qianzhi, built the very high and difficult-to-construct Jinglun Palace (靜輪宮), he tried to oppose on account of cost, but Emperor Taiwu did not agree.

Kou Qianzhi (365–448) was a Taoist reformer who reenvisioned many of the ceremonies and rites of the Way of the Celestial Master form of Taoism and reformulated its theology into a new movement known as The Northern Celestial Masters. His influence was such that he had Taoism established as the official state religion of the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534); this act, however, embroiled Taoism in long and often bloody factional political struggles. There was a saying Kou Qianzhi once secluded in Mount Huashan for his Taoism meditation.

In 443, Crown Prince Huang accompanied his father on a campaign against Rouran, and when they suddenly encountered Yujiulü Wuti, Crown Prince Huang advised an immediate attack, but Emperor Taiwu hesitated, allowing Yujiulü Wuti to escape. From that point on, Emperor Taiwu began to listen to Crown Prince Huang's advice in earnest, and in winter 443, he authorized Crown Prince Huang to carry out all imperial duties except the most important ones, under assistance from Qiumuling, Cui, Zhang Li (張黎), and Tuxi Bi (吐奚弼). Crown Prince Huang soon instituted a policy to encourage farming—by mandatorily requiring those who had extra cattle to loan them to those without, to be animals of burden, with the lease being paid for by those without cattle by tilling the grounds of the cattle owners, increasing the efficiency of the farmlands greatly.

After Emperor Taiwu's partial transfer of authority

In 446, while Emperor Taiwu was attacking the Xiongnu rebel Gai Wu (蓋吳), he found a large number of weapons in Buddhist temples in Chang'an. Believing that the monks were aligned with Gai, he slaughtered the monks in Chang'an. Cui Hao used this opportunity to encourage Emperor Taiwu to slaughter all monks throughout the empire and destroy the temples, statues, and sutras, and notwithstanding Kou Qianzhi's opposition, Emperor Taiwu proceeded to slaughter the monks in Chang'an, destroy the statues, and burn the sutras. He then issued an empire-wide prohibition of Buddhism. Crown Prince Huang, however, used delaying tactics in promulgating the edict, allowing Buddhists to flee or hide, but it was said that not a single Buddhist temple remained standing in Northern Wei. This was the first of the Three Disasters of Wu.

Xiongnu an ancient confederation of nomadic Steppe peoples

The Xiongnu were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.

Changan Ancient capital and city of China

Chang'an was an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese since it was a capital that was repeatedly used by new Chinese rulers. During the short-lived Xin dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; the old name was later restored. By the time of the Ming dynasty, a new walled city named Xi'an, meaning "Western Peace", was built at the Sui and Tang dynasty city's site, which has remained its name to the present day.

By 450, Crown Prince Huang appeared to be in direct conflict with Cui over administration of the state. When Cui recommended a number of men to be commandery governors, Crown Prince Huang objected strenuously, and yet the men were commissioned over his objection at Cui's insistence. It appeared that Crown Prince Huang had a hand when, later in 450, Cui was put to death with his entire clan, on account of having defamed imperial ancestors, as Crown Prince Huang argued hard to spare one of Cui's staff members, Gao Yun, and during that process, Gao gave some statements regarding Cui that could be viewed either as exculpatory or inculpatory.

In fall of 450, when Liu Song's Emperor Wen sent his general Wang Xuanmo (王玄謨) to attack Huatai (滑台, in modern Anyang, Henan), Emperor Taiwu personally led an army to relieve Huatai, and subsequently, after defeating Wang, advanced deeply into Liu Song territory, all the way to the Yangtze River. During Emperor Taiwu's campaign against Liu Song, pursuant to his instructions, Crown Prince Huang was on the northern border, defending against a potential Rouran attack.

Death and aftermaths

Crown Prince Huang was described to be high observant, but trusting of his associates and also spending much effort on managing orchards and farms, to earn money from them. Gao Yun tried to advise him against engaging in commercial ventures and in overly delegating authorities, but he did not listen. Rather, in 451, he became embroiled in a conflict with the eunuch Zong Ai, whose corruption he had found out and whom he disliked immensely. Zong, apprehensive that Crown Prince Huang's trusted associates Chouni Daosheng (仇尼道盛) and Ren Pingcheng (任平城) would accuse him of crimes, acted peremptorily and accused Chouni and Ren of crimes. In anger, Emperor Taiwu executed Chouni and Ren, and many other associates of Crown Prince Huang were entangled in the case and executed as well. In fear, Crown Prince Huang became ill and died.

Emperor Taiwu soon became aware that Crown Prince Huang was not involved in any crimes, and he regretted his actions greatly. Around the new year 451, he created Crown Prince Huang's oldest son Tuoba Jun the Prince of Gaoyang, but soon removed that title on the account that the crown prince's oldest son should not be a mere imperial prince—a strong sign that he was intending to create Tuoba Jun crown prince eventually. Zong, in fear that Emperor Taiwu would punish him, assassinated Emperor Taiwu in spring 452, and then seized power, killing a number of officials and Crown Prince Huang's younger brother Tuoba Han (拓拔翰) the Prince of Dongping, while making another younger brother of Crown Prince Huang's, Tuoba Yu the Prince of Nan'an emperor. Zong controlled the imperial regime, and when Tuoba Yu tried to assert his own power in fall 452, Zong assassinated him as well. Officials led by Yuan He, Baba Kehou (拔拔渴侯), Dugu Ni (獨孤尼), and Buliugu Li rose against Zong and killed him, making Tuoba Jun emperor, and Tuoba Jun, after he took the throne as Emperor Wencheng, posthumously honored Tuoba Huang as an emperor.



  1. 兩千年中西曆轉換

Related Research Articles

Tuoba Liwei was the first leader of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei people, from 219-277. He was the ancestor of the future Northern Wei Dynasty and was thus posthumously honored as Emperor Shenyuan, with the temple name Shizu. Later, Emperor Wen of Western Wei changed his temple name to Taizu.

Emperor Wen of Song Emperor of the Liu Song Dynasty

Emperor Wen of (Liu) Song, personal name Liu Yilong (劉義隆), courtesy name Che'er (車兒), was an emperor of the Chinese dynasty Liu Song. He was the third son of the dynastic founder Emperor Wu. After his father's death in 422, Liu Yilong's eldest brother Liu Yifu took the throne as Emperor Shao. In 424, a group of officials, believing Emperor Shao to be unfit to be emperor, deposed Emperor Shao and placed Liu Yilong on the throne as Emperor Wen.

Emperor Daowu of Northern Wei ( 魏道武帝) (371–409), personal name Tuoba Gui (拓拔珪), né Tuoba Shegui (拓拔渉珪), was the founding emperor of the Northern Wei. He was the grandson of the last prince of Dai, Tuoba Shiyijian, and after the fall of the Dai state to Former Qin in 376 had been presumed to be the eventual successor to the Dai throne. After Former Qin fell into disarray in 383 following its defeat by Jin forces at the Battle of Fei River, Tuoba Gui took the opportunity to reestablish Dai in 386, but soon changing the state's name to Wei and declared himself a prince. He was initially a vassal of Later Yan. However, after he defeated the Later Yan emperor Murong Bao in 397 and seized most of Later Yan's territory, he claimed imperial title in 398.

Emperor Mingyuan of Northern Wei ( 魏明元帝), Chinese name Tuoba Si (拓拔嗣), Xianbei name Mumo (木末), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was the oldest son of the founding emperor Emperor Daowu. During his reign, Northern Wei's territory did not expand as much as it did under either his father's reign or the reign of his son Emperor Taiwu, but he helped the state stabilize over northern China, and started the tradition of meeting with important imperial officials to listen to their advice and make final decisions. He is generally regarded by historians to be an intelligent and rational ruler.

Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei, personal name Tuoba Tao (拓拔燾), Xianbei name Buri or Bili (佛貍), was an emperor of Northern Wei. He was generally regarded as a capable ruler, and during his reign, Northern Wei roughly doubled in size and united all of northern China, thus ending the Sixteen Kingdoms period and, together with the southern dynasty Liu Song, started the Southern and Northern Dynasties period of ancient China history. He was a devout Taoist, under the influence of his prime minister Cui Hao, and in 444, at Cui Hao's suggestion and believing that Buddhists had supported the rebellion of Gai Wu (蓋吳), he ordered the abolition of Buddhism, at the penalty of death. This was the first of the Three Disasters of Wu for Chinese Buddhism. Late in his reign, his reign began to be cruel, and his people were also worn out by his incessant wars against Liu Song. In 452, he was assassinated by his eunuch Zong Ai, who put his son Tuoba Yu on the throne but then assassinated Tuoba Yu as well. The other officials overthrew Zong and put Emperor Taiwu's grandson Tuoba Jun on the throne as Emperor Wencheng.

Cui Hao (崔浩), courtesy name Boyuan (伯淵), was a prime minister of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. Largely because of Cui's counsel, Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei was able to unify northern China, ending the Sixteen Kingdoms era and, along with the southern Liu Song, entering the Southern and Northern Dynasties era. Also because of the influence of Cui, who was a devout Taoist, Emperor Taiwu became a devout Taoist as well. However, in 450, over reasons that are not completely clear to this day, Emperor Taiwu had Cui and his cadet branch executed.

Juqu Mujian, named Juqu Maoqian (沮渠茂虔) in some sources, formally Prince Ai of Hexi (河西哀王), was a king of the Xiongnu state Northern Liang—with most Chinese historians considering him the last king, although with some considering his brothers Juqu Wuhui and Juqu Anzhou to be kings of the state as well. By the time that Juqu Mujian succeeded his father Juqu Mengxun in 433, Northern Liang appeared to be stronger than ever, yet was under the shadow of the much stronger state Northern Wei, to which Northern Liang was nominally a vassal. In 439, Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei launched a major campaign against Northern Liang and captured both his capital Guzang and Juqu Mujian himself. Juqu Mujian remained an honored Northern Wei subject as Emperor Taiwu's brother-in-law until 447, when Emperor Taiwu, believing him to be trying to rebel, forced him to commit suicide.

Consort Yujiulü, formally Empress Gong, was a consort of Tuoba Huang, a crown prince of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. She was the mother of Emperor Wencheng.

Tuoba Yu (拓拔余), formally Prince Yin of Nan'an (南安隱王), Xianbei name Kebozhen (可博真), was briefly an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was placed on the throne by the eunuch Zong Ai after Zong assassinated his father Emperor Taiwu in spring 452, and Zong was largely in control of the regime during his reign. Later in the year, when Tuoba Yu tried to assert his own authority, Zong had him assassinated as well, but then was overthrown by a group of officials, who put Tuoba Yu's nephew Tuoba Jun on the throne as Emperor Wencheng.

Zong Ai (宗愛) was a eunuch who briefly came to great power in the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei in 452 after assassinating Emperor Taiwu and making his son Tuoba Yu emperor.

Emperor Xianwen of Northern Wei ( 魏獻文帝) (454–476), personal name Tuoba Hong, Xianbei name Didouyin (第豆胤), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was the first emperor in Chinese history who, after retiring in favor of his son Emperor Xiaowen to become Taishang Huang in 471, continued to hold on to power until his death in 476—when the official history states vaguely that he may have been killed by his stepmother Empress Dowager Feng.

Yuan He (源賀), né Tufa Poqiang (禿髮破羌), Xianbei name Hedouba (賀豆跋), formally Prince Xuan of Longxi (隴西宣王), was a high-level official of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was a son of Southern Liang's last prince Tufa Rutan, and after Southern Liang's destruction he fled to Northern Wei and began to serve as an official, gradually reaching positions of great power during the reigns of Emperor Wencheng and Emperor Xianwen.

Buliugu Li (步六孤麗), more commonly known in historical accounts as his Chinese name Lu Li (陸麗), Xianbei nickname Yili (伊利), formally Prince Jian of Pingyuan (平原簡王), was a high-level ethnic Xianbei official for the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei who served mostly during the reign of Emperor Wencheng.

Yifu Hun or Yi Hun, Xianbei surname is Yifu (乙弗), Xianbei personal name is Bu (步) X X, was a high-level official of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei, who effectively briefly served as the regent for Emperor Xianwen.

Gao Yun, courtesy name Bogong (伯恭), formally Duke Wen of Xianyang (咸陽文公), was an official during the reigns of five emperors of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei.

Yuan Xie (元勰), né Tuoba Xie, courtesy name Yanhe (彥和), formally Prince Wuxuan of Pengcheng (彭城武宣王), later posthumously honored as Emperor Wenmu (文穆皇帝) with the temple name of Suzu (肅祖), was an imperial prince of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was a son of Emperor Xianwen, and he often assisted his brother Emperor Xiaowen both in military and governmental matters. After Emperor Xiaowen's death, he briefly served as regent for Emperor Xiaowen's son Emperor Xuanwu. Eventually, due to suspicions and jealousy of Emperor Xuanwu's uncle Gao Zhao, Emperor Xuanwu believed false reports that Yuan Xie was going to rebel, and forced him to commit suicide. He was later posthumously honored as an emperor by his son Emperor Xiaozhuang, although subsequently Emperor Jiemin retracted the honors.

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 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.