Li Jing (Southern Tang)

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Li Jing
Emperor Yuanzong of (Southern) Tang (more...)
2nd ruler of Southern Tang
Predecessor Li Bian (Emperor Liezu), father
Successor Li Yu, son
Born 916 or January 917
Died August 12, 961
Spouse Empress Zhong
Concubine Lady Ling (凌氏)
Among others
  • Li Hongji, son
  • Li Hongmao (李弘茂), son
  • Li Yu, son
  • Li Congshan, son
  • Li Congyi (李從益), son
  • Li Congqian (李從謙), son
  • Li Congdu (李從度), son
  • Li Congxin (李從信), son
Full name
Surname: Xú (), changed to Lǐ () with father
Given name: Jǐngtōng (), changed to Jǐng () and eventually to Jǐng ()
Era dates
Bǎodà (保大) 943-957
Zhōngxīng (中興) 958
Jiāotài (交泰) 958
(Subsequently adopted the era names of Later Zhou and Song)
Posthumous name
Full: Emperor Míngdào Chóngdé Wénxuān Xiào (皇帝)
Temple name
Yuánzōng ()
Father Li Bian
Mother Empress Song

Li Jing (李璟, later changed to 李景) (916[1] – August 12, 961[2][3]), originally Xu Jingtong (徐景通), briefly Xu Jing (徐璟) in 937-939, also known by his temple name Yuanzong (元宗), was the second ruler (sometimes called Zhongzhu (中主, "Middle Ruler")) of imperial China's Southern Tang state during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. He reigned his country from 943 until his death.

During Li Jing's earlier reign, he expanded Southern Tang's borders by extinguishing a few smaller neighboring states: Yin In 945, Min in 946, and Chu in 951. However, the warfare also exhausted the wealth of the country, leaving it ill-prepared to resist the Later Zhou invasion in 956. Forced to cede all prefectures north of the Yangtze River, he also had to relinquish his title as an emperor and accept Later Zhou's overlordship in 958, and later Song Dynasty's overlordship after 960 when Song succeeded Later Zhou.

Accession to the throne

Li Jing’s father, Li Bian, posthumously known as Xianzhu (先主), founded the Southern Tang in 937 when he usurped the Wu Kingdom from within. Li came to the throne upon his father’s death in 943.

Territorial expansion

Of all of the leaders of the Ten Kingdoms, Li Jing was one of the most successful at expanding his domains. He did not wait long to begin that process. The year of his elevation to the throne, the neighboring Kingdom of Min suffered internal turmoil when a member of the ruling family rebelled and created the separate state of Yin. The Min Kingdom asked the Southern Tang for assistance. Rather than offering assistance, Li Jing ordered that Southern Tang forces move in and annex the rebel territory. By 945, the Southern Tang had incorporated virtually all of Min into its own domains.

In 951, another neighboring kingdom was experiencing internal turmoil, this one on the southwest border. The ruling family of Chu was having internal dissention, which gave rise to disorder. Li Jing took advantage of this turmoil to move in and annexed the kingdom to the growing Southern Tang.

"Playing Go in Front of Screens" (重屏會棋圖) by the Southern Tang court painter Zhou Wenju, depicting Li Jing and his brothers Li Jingsui, Li Jingda and Li Jingguo playing a game of go.

Relations with the North

The Later Zhou held power in the north from 951. It was the first Han Chinese dynasty to rule the north since 923 after a succession of three Shatuo Turk dynasties. The Later Zhou was looking to expand its influence southward in an effort to reunify the Chinese realm. Feeling the pressure from the north, Li Jing accepted the overlordship of the Later Zhou in 958 and accepted the latter's era name.


Li Jing died in 961, three years after accepting overlordship of the Later Zhou and the year following the formation of the Song Dynasty, which would eventually reunify nearly all of China. He was succeeded by his son, Li Houzhu.



  • Kurz, Johannes L. (2011). China's Southern Tang Dynasty (937-976). Routledge. ISBN -9780415454964.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Mote, F.W. (1999). Imperial China (900-1800). Harvard University Press. pp. 11, 13–14. ISBN 978-0-674-01212-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Wang Yanzheng of Min
Ruler of China (Southern Fujian) (de facto)
Succeeded by
Liu Congxiao
Emperor of China (Southern Fujian) (de jure)
Succeeded by
Li Yu
Emperor of China (Northwestern Fujian)
Preceded by
Li Bian (Emperor Liezu)
Emperor of Southern Tang
Emperor of China (Jiangxi/Southern Jiangsu/Southern Anhui)
Emperor of China (Central Jiangsu/Central Anhui/Eastern Hubei)
Succeeded by
Guo Rong of Later Zhou
Preceded by
Zhuo Yanming
Emperor of China (Northeastern Fujian) (de jure)
With: Shi Chonggui of Later Jin
Succeeded by
Shi Chonggui of Later Jin / Qian Hongzuo of Wuyue
Preceded by
Liu Chengyou of Later Han
Emperor of China (Northwestern Hunan) (de jure)
Succeeded by
Guo Wei of Later Zhou
Emperor of China (Southeastern Hunan) (de jure)
Emperor of China (Northeastern Guangxi) (de jure)
Succeeded by
Liu Sheng of Southern Han
Preceded by
Ma Xichong of Chu
Ruler of China (Southeastern Hunan) (de facto)
Succeeded by
Liu Yan