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Emperor Jingzong of Liao (1 September 948 – 13 October 982), personal name Yelü Xian, courtesy name Xianning, was the fifth emperor of the Khitan-led Liao dynasty.

Emperor Jingzong of Liao
Emperor of the Liao dynasty
Reign13 March 969 – 13 October 982
PredecessorEmperor Muzong
SuccessorEmperor Shengzong
BornYelü Xian
1 September 948
Died13 October 982(982-10-13) (aged 34)
EmpressXiao Yanyan
ConcubineConsort Bohai (渤海妃)
IssueYelü Longxu
Yelü Longqing
Yelü Longyou
Yelü Yaoshinu
Yelü Guanyinnü
Yelü Changshounü
Yelü Yanshounü
Yelü Shuge
Era dates
Baoning (保寧; 969–979)
Qianheng (乾亨; 979–982)
Posthumous name
Xiaocheng Kangjing Huangdi (孝成康靖皇帝)
Temple name
FatherEmperor Shizong
MotherXiao Sagezhi
Emperor Jingzong of Liao
Traditional Chinese遼景宗
Simplified Chinese辽景宗
Yelü Xian
Traditional Chinese耶律賢
Simplified Chinese耶律贤
Xianning (courtesy name)
Traditional Chinese賢寧
Simplified Chinese贤宁


Yelü Xian succeeded Emperor Muzong in 969 after the latter was murdered by his servants during a hunting trip. He had support from both the Khitan and Han Chinese ruling elites.

Emperor Jingzong made several important contributions to the Liao dynasty. He employed Han Chinese officials in his government, appointing one as the Minister of Southern Affairs and the Duke of Qin. This allowed the government to run more efficiently and sped up the transformation of Khitan society into a feudal society. He cracked down on corruption in the government, firing those who were bribed or incompetent. Emperor Jingzong also accepted criticisms willingly. He stopped hunting frequently after an official made a connection between hunting and Emperor Muzong's death, and Emperor Jingzong began to prepare war against his southern neighbours.

Emperor Jingzong's first conflict with the Northern Song dynasty came with the Song invasion of the Northern Han dynasty. However, the Liao reinforcements were destroyed by a Song army, and Song later destroyed Northern Han. The Song army followed up the victory with an attack on Beijing, the Liao dynasty's southern capital. However, the Liao army completely routed the Song army, with Emperor Taizong of Song fleeing the battlefield. Several battles followed, with a stalemate between the Liao and Song dynasties.

On October 13, 982, Emperor Jingzong died on his way back from a hunting trip.


  • Toqto'a; et al. (1344). Liao Shi (遼史) [History of Liao] (in Chinese).
  • Twitchett, Denis C.; Tietze, Klaus-Peter (1994). "The Liao". In Franke, Herbert; Twichett, Denis C. (eds.). The Cambridge History of China Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States, 907—1368. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43–153. ISBN 0521243319.
Emperor Jingzong of Liao
House of Yelü (916–1125)
Born: 948 Died: 982
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Muzong
Emperor of the Liao Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Shengzong