Sun Deng (Eastern Wu)

Sun Deng (209 – May or June 241),[a] courtesy name Zigao, was an imperial prince of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was the eldest son of Sun Quan, Eastern Wu's founding emperor, and was crown prince from 229 until his death in 241.

Sun Deng
Crown Prince of Eastern Wu
Tenure23 May 229 – May or June 241
SuccessorSun He
DiedMay or June 241 (aged 32)[a]
SpouseConsort Zhou
Lady Bing
  • Sun Fan
  • Sun Ying, Marquis of Wu
  • Sun Xi
Family name: Sun ()
Given name: Deng ()
Courtesy name: Zigao (子高)
Posthumous name
Crown Prince Xuan (宣太子)
HouseHouse of Sun
FatherSun Quan


Sun Deng was the eldest son of Sun Quan, the founding emperor of Wu. He was born to a low-status mother and raised from childhood by Lady Xu, the second wife of Sun Quan.

When Cao Pi, emperor of the state of Cao Wei, appointed Sun Quan the King of Wu in 221, he enfeoffed Sun Deng as the Marquis of Wanhu (万户侯). However, Sun Quan refused the title for his son as he was only 12 years old. One year later Sun Quan designated Sun Deng as the Crown Prince. When Cao Pi demanded that Sun Quan send Sun Deng to the Wei capital Luoyang as a hostage, to guarantee his loyalty, Sun Quan refused and declared independence.

Life and deathEdit

It is recorded that Sun Deng was both wise and virtuous, having all the makings of a great man. Sun Quan ordered Zhuge Ke (諸葛恪), Gu Tan (顧譚), Zhang Xiu (張休), Chen Biao (陳表) and others to serve as the Crown Prince's attendants and personal staff. Sun Deng treated his staff kindly. For instance he allowed others to ride with him and sleep close to him. The Crown Prince's palace was considered to have the largest number of outstanding people in China.

Sun Deng showed his filial piety to both his father and adoptive mother,[2] even through Lady Xu was divorced from Sun Quan in 212. Aged 20 Sun Deng studied the Book of Han under his father's order. When Sun Quan declared himself emperor in 229 and later moved his capital from Wuchang (武昌; in present-day Ezhou, Hubei) to Jianye, Sun Deng and his younger brothers were left in Wuchang. Sun Deng was in charge of the western parts of Eastern Wu with the help of Lu Xun and Shi Yi until his brother Sun Lü died in 232. He then travelled to Jianye to accompany his father and lived there since then.

In 234, Sun Quan personally led a major attack against Wei's border city Hefei. He let Sun Deng to stay in rear area. At that time Sun Deng made some laws to prevent crime,which achieved result successfully. However, Sun Deng never succeeded his father, dying from illness aged 32. Before he died he wrote a letter to inspire his father and recommend talented individuals. Sun Deng was buried in Jurong, Jiangsu initially, then moved to the Jiang Mausoleum (蔣陵) at the Purple Mountain in Jiangsu. He was posthumously honoured as "Crown Prince Xuan".

Personal lifeEdit

In 225, on the arrangement of Sun Quan, Sun Deng married Zhou Yu's daughter. She thus carried the title of Crown Princess. Sun Deng also had another wife, Bing Xuan's (邴玄) daughter. Sun Deng had three children: Sun Fan, Sun Ying (孫英), and Sun Xi. The mother's identity of each is unknown. Both Sun Fan and Sun Xi died at their early age. Thus Sun Ying was enfeoffed as the Marquis of Wu when he grew up. However, Sun Ying was eventually executed because he was accused of attempting to assassinate Sun Jun, the regent who served under the second Wu emperor Sun Liang.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Sun Quan's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that Sun Deng died in the 5th month of the 4th year of the Chiwu era of Sun Quan's reign.[1] This month corresponds to 28 May to 25 June 241 in the Gregorian calendar.


  1. ^ ([赤烏四年]五月,太子登卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 47.
  2. ^ Destenay, Anne L. (1986). China. United States: Nagel Publishers. p. 822. ISBN 2826307649.