Jingtai Emperor

The Jingtai Emperor (21 September 1428 – 14 March 1457),[5] born Zhu Qiyu, was the seventh Emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigned from 1449 to 1457. The second son of the Xuande Emperor, he was selected in 1449 to succeed his elder brother Emperor Yingzong (then reigned as the "Zhengtong Emperor"), when the latter was captured by Mongols following the Tumu Crisis. He reigned for 8 years before being removed from the throne by his elder brother Emperor Yingzong (then reigned as the "Tianshun Emperor"). The Jingtai Emperor's era name, "Jingtai", means "exalted view". He was one of two Ming emperors who was not buried in either the Ming tombs in Beijing or the Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing.

Jingtai Emperor
A Qing dynasty portrait of the Jingtai Emperor
7th Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Reign22 September 1449 – 24 February 1457[1]
Enthronement22 September 1449
PredecessorEmperor Yingzong
(Zhengtong Emperor, First time)
SuccessorEmperor Yingzong
(Tianshun Emperor, Restoration)
Emperor EmeritusEmperor Yingzong (1449–1457)
Prince of Cheng (郕王)
First tenure1436–1449
Second tenure1457
Born21 September 1428
Xuande 3, 13th day of the 8th month
Died14 March 1457(1457-03-14) (aged 28)
Tianshun 1, 19th day of the 2nd month
Jingtai Mausoleum
  • Zhu Jianji, Crown Prince Huaixian
  • Princess Gu'an
  • Second daughter
Zhu Qiyu
Era name and dates
Jingtai (景泰): 14 January 1450 – 14 February 1457
Posthumous name
  • Prince Li of Cheng[2]
  • Emperor Gongren Kangding Jing[2]
  • Emperor Futian Jiandao Gongren Kangding Longwen Buwu Xiande Chongxiao Jing[3]
Temple name
Daizong[4] (代宗)
HouseHouse of Zhu
DynastyMing dynasty
FatherXuande Emperor
MotherEmpress Dowager Xiaoyi
Jingtai Emperor

Early lifeEdit

The future Jingtai Emperor was born on 21 September 1428 with the name Zhu Qiyu to the Xuande Emperor and Consort Xian. On 3 August 1449, he was appointed regent by his older half-brother, the Zhengtong Emperor.

Zhu Qiyu would ascend the throne by the Ming court in 1449 after his brother was defeated and taken prisoner by the Oirat Mongols of Esen Khan. He immediately set about the defence of Beijing and was ultimately successful.[6]


During his reign, aided by the able minister Yu Qian, Jingtai paid particular attention to matters affecting his country. He repaired the Grand Canal as well as the system of dykes along the Yellow River. As a result of his administration, the economy prospered and the dynasty was further strengthened.

In 1452, he demoted his first wife Empress Wang (1427–1507) since she had only had two daughters, and not a son. He instead promoted his Consort Hang to become empress, but her five-year-old son, Zhu Jianji, died in 1453 under suspicious circumstances, and she bore no other children.

The Zhengtong Emperor was released in 1450 after the Mongols learned that the Ming government had installed Zhu Qiyu as the new emperor. After that, Jingtai continued to rule as emperor while his brother was granted the title of Taishang Huang (or Emperor Emeritus; 太上皇) and lived in obscurity.

Deposition and deathEdit

Jingtai reigned for eight years. Empress Hang died in 1456, and Jingtai himself became ill. With his death imminent in 1457, he still refused to name an heir, particularly because his own son had died mysteriously in 1453—perhaps poisoned. Jingtai's predecessor, his brother the sidelined Zhengtong Emperor, saw an opportunity to regain the throne and through a military coup overthrew the ailing Jingtai. Zhengtong then adopted a new era name, "Tianshun", and was henceforth known as the Tianshun Emperor. Jingtai was demoted by his brother to his previous title, Prince of Cheng, and placed under house arrest in Xiyuan (西苑).[7] He died a month later, with some sources hinting that he was murdered by eunuchs on the order of the Tianshun Emperor.

After the Jingtai Emperor's death, the Tianshun Emperor denied his brother's rightful honor to be buried at the Ming tombs (together with his predecessors) located north of Beijing. He was instead buried well away from that locale in the hills west of Beijing and was buried as a prince rather than an emperor. His posthumous name was also shortened to five characters, instead of the normal seventeen, to reflect his demoted status. His brother also did not respect the emperor's wish to set up his own son as heir apparent.[5]


Consorts and Issue:

  • Empress Xiaoyuanjing, of the Wang clan (孝淵景皇后 汪氏; 1427–1507)
    • Princess Gu'an (固安郡主; 1449–1491), first daughter
      • Married Wang Xian (王憲) in 1469, and had issue (one son)
    • Second daughter
  • Empress Suxiao, of the Hang clan (肅孝皇后 杭氏; d. 1456)
    • Zhu Jianji, Crown Prince Huaixian (懷獻皇太子 朱見濟; 28 March 1445 – 21 March 1453), first son
  • Imperial Noble Consort, of the Tang clan (皇貴妃 唐氏; 1438–1457)
  • Li Xi'er (李惜儿)
  • Consort, of the Sun clan (妃 孫氏)


Hongwu Emperor (1328–1398)
Yongle Emperor (1360–1424)
Empress Xiaocigao (1332–1382)
Hongxi Emperor (1378–1425)
Xu Da (1332–1385)
Empress Renxiaowen (1362–1407)
Lady Xie
Xuande Emperor (1399–1435)
Zhang Congyi
Zhang Qi
Lady Zhu
Empress Chengxiaozhao (1379–1442)
Tong Shan
Lady Tong
Jingtai Emperor (1428–1457)
Wu Yanming
Empress Dowager Xiaoyi (1397–1462)
Lady Shen

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ On 11 February 1457 (seventeenth day of first month in the eighth year of Jingtai era), Emperor Yingzong of Ming restored his imperial crown and rule (274th volume of Yingzong Shilu in Ming Shilu). On 24 February 1457 (first day of second month in the first year of Tianshun era), Empress Xiaogongzhang deposed Jingtai Emperor (275th volume of Yingzong Shilu in Ming Shilu).
  2. ^ a b Demoted to the princely rank by his elder brother, the restored Emperor Yingzong of Ming, he received the posthumous name Li ( – "the Rebellious", "the Violent") when he died in 1457; however, his nephew Chenghua Emperor restored his imperial title in 1476 and changed his posthumous name to Emperor Gongren Kangding Jing
  3. ^ The name was accorded by the Hongguang Emperor.
  4. ^ Was denied a temple name by his elder brother, the restored Emperor Yingzong of Ming, but in 1644 Zhu Yousong, the Hongguang Emperor of the Southern Ming, conferred on him the temple name Daizong, which is accepted in most history books, unlike the temple name of the Jianwen Emperor, also conferred by the Prince of Fu, but not recorded in most history books. "Dai" (代) means "proxy", in reference to the Jingtai Emperor being a regent emperor only, as his brother had been taken prisoner by the Mongols
  5. ^ a b "Jingtai | emperor of Ming dynasty | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2022-10-01.
  6. ^ Lary, Diana (2007). The Chinese State at the Borders. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7748-1333-4.
  7. ^ Present day Zhongnanhai to the west of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Jingtai Emperor
Born: 21 September 1428 Died: 14 March 1457
Chinese nobility
New title Prince of Cheng
Merged into the Crown
Princedom recreated after his dethronement Title abolished
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Yingzong of Ming
(Zhengtong Emperor)
Emperor of the Ming dynasty
Emperor of China

Succeeded by
Emperor Yingzong of Ming
(Tianshun Emperor)