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The Eastern Wei (/w/;[4] simplified Chinese: 东魏; traditional Chinese: 東魏; pinyin: Dōng Wèi) 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.

Eastern Wei

Eastern Wei and neighbors
Eastern Wei and neighbors
CapitalLuoyang (534)
Yecheng (534–550)
• 534–550
Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei
• Established
8 November[1] 534
• Disestablished
7 June[2] 550
550[3]1,000,000 km2 (390,000 sq mi)
CurrencyChinese coin,
Chinese cash
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Northern Wei
Northern Qi
Today part ofChina

In 534 Gao Huan, the potentate of the eastern half of what was Northern Wei territory following the disintegration of the Northern Wei dynasty installed Yuan Shanjian a descendant of the Northern Wei as ruler of Eastern Wei. Yuan Shanjian was a puppet ruler as the real power lay in the hands of Gao Huan. Several military campaigns were launched against the neighboring Western Wei in an attempt to reunify the territory once held by the Northern Wei, however these campaigns were not successful, and in 547 Gao Huan died. His sons Gao Cheng and Gao Yang were able to pursue his policy of controlling the emperor, but in 550 Gao Yang deposed Yuan Shanjian and founded his own dynasty, the Northern Qi.



Buddha triad, Eastern Wei (534-550), China.
Standing Buddha Triad, China - Limestone, Eastern Wei dynasty, 6th century, China.

The Buddhist art of the Eastern Wei displays a combination of Greco-Buddhist influences from Gandhara and Central Asia (representations of flying figures holding wreaths, Greek-style folds of the drapery), together with Chinese artistic influences.

Eastern Wei Buddhist stele

Ruler Edit

Posthumous name (諡號) Personal name Period of Reigns Era name (年號) and their according range of years
Northern dynasty
Eastern Wei Dynasty 534-550
Convention: Eastern Wei + posthumous name
Xiao Jing Di (孝靜帝 xiào jìng dì) Yuan Shanjian (元善見 yuán shàn jiàn) 534-550 Tianping (天平 tiān píng) 534-537
Yuanxiang (元象 yuán xiàng) 538-539
Xinghe (興和 xīng hé) 539-542
Wuding (武定 wǔ dìng) 543-550



  1. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 156.
  2. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 163.
  3. ^ Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.", Social Science History Vol. 3, 115-138 (1979)
  4. ^ "Wei". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.