Xia (Sixteen Kingdoms)

Xia (Chinese: ; pinyin: Xià), known in historiography as Hu Xia (胡夏), Northern Xia (北夏), Helian Xia (赫連夏) or the Great Xia (大夏), was a dynastic state of Xiongnu origin established by Helian Bobo during the Sixteen Kingdoms period in northern China. Prior to establishing the Xia, the imperial clan existed as a tribal entity known as the Tiefu (simplified Chinese: 铁弗; traditional Chinese: 鐵弗; pinyin: Tiěfú).[5]

Helian Xia in 423
Helian Xia in 423
CapitalTongwan (418–427)
Shanggui (427–428)
Pingliang (428–430)
• 407–425
Helian Bobo
• 425–428
Helian Chang
• 428–431
Helian Ding
• Established
• Helian Bobo's claim of imperial title
• Fall of Tongwan
11 July 427[1][2]
• Disestablished
• Helian Ding's death
13 May 432[3][4]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Later Qin
Western Qin
Northern Wei
Liu Song dynasty
Today part ofChina

Although the Xia only lasted from 407 to 431, its capital Tongwan situated in the Ordos Desert was a heavily fortified and state-of-the-art city that served as a frontier garrison until the Song dynasty. Its ruins were discovered during the Qing dynasty and can still be seen in present-day Inner Mongolia.

The Book of Wei also records that Liu Kuren's tribe, the Dugu, were descended from the Xiongnu. Yao Weiyuan (姚薇元) suggested in the past that 'Dugu' was an alternate form of 'Tuge' (屠各), the Xiongnu aristocratic clan that had adopted the Han Chinese surname of Liu (劉), members of which also ruled the Former Zhao state. This writer further suggests that 'Tuge' is an alternate form of 'Tuhe' (徒河), which is the branch of the Xianbei from which the Murong (慕容) were descended. The Liu (Dugu) were also known as 'Tiefu' (鐵弗), a term which meant that they had Xiongnu fathers and Xianbei mothers. Thus it is reasonable to say that the Dugu were at least half Xianbei.

All rulers of the Xia declared themselves "emperors".

Chieftains of the Tiefu and rulers of the XiaEdit

Temple name Posthumous names Personal name Durations of reign Era names
Chieftains of the Tiefu
Liu Qubei 劉去卑 260–272
Liu Gaoshengyuan 劉誥升爰 272–309
Liu Hu 劉虎 309–341
Liu Wuheng 劉務恆 341–356
Liu Eloutou 劉閼陋頭 356–358
Liu Xiwuqi 劉悉勿祈 358–359
Liu Weichen 劉衞辰 359–391
Liu Bobo 391–407
Rulers of the Xia
Shizu Wulie Helian Bobo
(same person as Liu Bobo)
407–425 Longsheng (龍升) 407–413
Fengxiang (鳳翔) 413–418
Changwu (昌武) 418–419
Zhenxing (眞興) 419–425
Helian Chang 425–428 Chengguang (承光) 425–428
Helian Ding 428–431 Shengguang (勝光) 428–431

Rulers family treeEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "中央研究院網站".
  2. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 120.
  3. ^ "中央研究院網站".
  4. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 122.
  5. ^ Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 61. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.