Liu Sheng, Prince of Zhongshan

Liu Sheng (simplified Chinese: 刘胜; traditional Chinese: 劉勝; pinyin: Liú Shèng; died 113 BC), posthumously known as King/Prince Jing of Zhongshan (Chinese: 中山; pinyin: Zhōngshān Jìng Wáng), was a king/prince of the Western Han empire of Chinese history. His father was Emperor Jing, and he was the elder brother of Emperor Wu of Han. His mausoleum is one of the most important archaeological sites pertaining to the Western Han imperial family.


Liu Sheng was born to Emperor Jing of Han and Consort Jia, who also had another son, Liu Pengzu the Prince of Zhao. He was given the fief of Zhongshan by his father in 154 BC, and therefore reigned in the period right after the Rebellion of the Seven States, when the political atmosphere was one of suspicion regarding the feudal states. Given this atmosphere Liu Sheng was one of the more successful feudal rulers.

In the third year of the reign of Emperor Wu, his younger brother, Liu Sheng and several other princes were invited to Chang'an to feast; at the feast Liu Sheng wept and complained of the treatment of the feudal princes by centrally appointed officials, who made use of their role as monitors to constantly trump up charges against the princes. Impressed by this petition the Emperor explicitly ordered that the unfair scrutiny of the princes should stop, and Liu Sheng became one of the most renowned of the feudal rulers of his time.

He was known to indulge in alcohol and women, and is reputed to have had some 120 sons.[1][2]



Lui Sheng's tomb was discovered in 1968 by Wang Zhongshu at Mancheng in the Hebei Province, west of Beijing. He was buried along with his wife, Dou Wan. It was the first undisturbed Western Han tomb discovered. The two were buried in two caves inside a mountainside. Each cave contained two side rooms for storage, a rear chamber for the coffin, and a large central chamber with a tiled roof and wooden supports that has since collapsed. The tomb contained over 2,700 artifacts. In total, the following objects were excavated:

Bronze incense burner inlaid with gold; from the tomb of Liu Sheng, Prince of Zhongshan, at Hebei Mancheng, Western Han period, 2nd century BC
  • 419 bronze artifacts
  • 499 iron artifacts
  • 21 gold artifacts
  • 77 silver artifacts
  • 78 jade artifacts
  • 70 lacquered artifacts
  • 6 chariots (south-facing side room)
  • 571 pieces of pottery (north-facing side room)
  • Silk fabric

The artifacts included gold and silver acupuncture needles, and decorative iron daggers[3]. Two key items are the bronze incense burner, known as a boshan and Sheng's jade burial suit. The boshan resembles the sacred mountains of the Isles of the Immortals in the Eastern Sea. Han Daoists believed that the mountains were a path to everlasting life It has a deep hemispherical bowl and an elegant base with classical chinese intertwining dragons. There are wavy inlaid gold lines in the work, which likely represent the Eastern Sea. Projecting from the jagged peaks are relief figures of humans and animals. The boshan is an attribution to both Sheng's immense wealth and the skill of Han bronze casting. Both Sheng and his wife were buried with intricated jade suits that each contained over 2,000 pieces of jade[4].

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sima, Qian. Records of the Grand Historian, House of the Five Clans.
  2. ^ Ban, Gu. Book of Han, The Thirteen Sons of Emperor Jing.
  3. ^ "LIU SHENG'S TOMB". Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  4. ^ Gardner, Helen, 1878-1946. (2005). Gardner's art through the ages. Kleiner, Fred S., Mamiya, Christin J. (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth. ISBN 0-15-505090-7. OCLC 54830091.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Prince Jing of Zhongshan
 Died: 113 BC
Chinese royalty
New title Prince of Zhongshan
154 BC – 113 BC
Succeeded by
Liu Chang