Cuyen (Manchu: ᠴᡠᠶᡝᠨ; Möllendorff: cuyen; Abkai: quyen; 1580 – 14 October 1615) was a Manchu prince and eldest son of the Jurchen ruler Nurgaci, the early patriarch of the Qing dynasty. An accomplished warrior, Cuyen was instrumental in the consolidation of Nurgaci's authority among rival Jurchen clans. He also served as the primary civil administrator for intermittent periods in the regime founded by Nurgaci. Eventually, however, he lost favour with his father because he tried to cast sorcery spells against other princes, and was placed in solitary confinement. He died in captivity a few years later.
|Reign||? - 1615|
|Died||14 October 1615(aged 34–35)|
Lady Yehe Nara
Nikan, Prince Jingjinzhuang of the First Rank
|Mother||Tunggiya Hahana Jacing|
|Manchu script name|
Cuyen was born in 1580, probably somewhere in the present-day Jilin province in northeastern China, to a prominent family of Jianzhou Jurchens. He is the grandson of Taksi and eldest son of Nurgaci, who at the time was just beginning to rise to prominence in the Jurchen tribe he belonged. Cuyen's mother was Hahana Jacing of the Tunggiya clan, Nurgaci's primary wife, who also gave birth to the prince Daišan.
Cuyen was an able warrior, and spent much of his youth assisting his father in consolidating power in the Manchuria region. His fought in his first major battle against the Anculakit, a rival Jurchen tribe, in 1598, when he was merely 18 years old. When he returned victorious from the field, his father Nurgaci bestowed upon him high honours, granting him the title of Hung Baturu. This later led to some Chinese accounts to refer to Cuyen by the nickname Hong Batu (roughly, "red guy grasping a rabbit").
Cuyen's next major expedition was sometime around 1608. He and his brother Daišan stormed the town of Fio Hoton (belonging to present-day Sanjiazi Manchu Village, Hunchun, Yanbian) in an attempt to complete the resettlement of another Jurchen tribe who was said to be suffering oppression from the Ula clan, a strategic rival to Nurgaci. However, this put Cuyen at odds with his uncle Šurhaci, a younger brother of Nurgaci, whose daughters had married men from the Ula clan and who had, presumably, wanted to leverage this alliance with Ula to challenge Nurgaci politically. Cuyen again went to war against Ula several years later and took a mountain fortress in the process.
Nurgaci had named Cuyen his heir apparent sometime during Cuyen's youth, and by the early 1600s, Cuyen held significant political authority, especially during periods when his father left the Jurchen capital for military excursions to outlying areas. However, Cuyen's involvement in civil and administrative affairs evoked jealousy and resentment from his brothers and other prominent princes that comprised the elite Jurchen inner circle. Eventually several of his brothers and male cousins petitioned Nurgaci to complain about Cuyen's behavior. Chief among the grievances was the unequal distribution of loot from battle and Cuyen's supposed propensity to grant large holdings for himself. In response, Nurgaci reprimanded Cuyen and implored him to be more magnanimous towards his brothers.
In 1612, when Nurgaci left on another military campaign against the Ula, he gave Daišan an especially prominent role at court to "assist" Cuyen while the latter was serving as a de facto chief administrator in the Jurchen capital. In practice, Daišan acted as a check on Cuyen who had at this point lost the confidence of his father. Nurgaci had realized at some point that it was no longer tenable to give Cuyen a special position without alienating other princes who had served with equal levels of distinction and merit. Possibly as a result of Cuyen's own incompetence at balancing the interests of the princes at court, Nurgaci had, in his later years, shown a preference towards governing by consensus of the 'roundtable' of princes instead of giving primacy to one prince.
During the 1612 Ula campaign, it was said that Cuyen had attempted using sorcery to curse the other princes, seemingly in an attempt to enhance his own position. This turned out to be the final straw. Infuriated by the fact that Cuyen did not heed lessons from the past and continued to engage in hostilities against other princes, Nurgaci sentenced Cuyen to solitary confinement. He died in captivity two years later. His official biography stated that he was executed by Nurgaci, though the true circumstances of his death was not clear. An unconfirmed Ming dynasty account apparently believed that Cuyen counseled against incursions into Ming territory in China proper, thereby incurring the wrath of Nurgaci. However, this version is not supported by evidence.
Title and inheritanceEdit
Cuyen was created a beile before 1598. He was posthumously granted the title Crown Prince Guanglue (廣略太子). It is not clear why Cuyen was granted a great title despite having fallen out with his father. The title was changed to Beile Guanglue (廣略貝勒) during the reign of Nurgaci's son and successor, Huangtaiji. Eventually the title beile was standardized to a "third-grade prince". The title was successively downgraded in later generations. His descendants were a largely unremarkable branch of the Aisin Gioro clan; some became minor officials.
- Consorts and Issue:
- Primary consort, of the Gorolo clan (嫡福晉 郭絡羅氏)
- Primary consort, of the Yehe Nara clan (嫡福晉 葉赫那拉氏)
- Dudu, Prince Anping of the Third Rank (安平貝勒 杜度; d. June/July 1642), first son
- Guohuan (國歡), second son
- Nikan, Prince Jingjinzhuang of the First Rank (敬謹莊親王 尼堪; 1 July 1610 – 23 December 1652), third son
- Second daughter, personal name Jinai (濟鼐)
- Married Manzhuxili (滿珠習禮)