Zhao Hongyin

Zhao Hongyin (Chinese: 趙弘殷) (899-956) was a military general in Imperial China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.

Zhao Hongyin
Song Xuanzu (1).jpg
a posthumous portrait on a hanging scroll, kept in National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
BornZhao Hongyin
Died(956-09-03)3 September 956 (aged 56–57)
in today's Gongyi, Henan 34°39′50.51″N 112°57′42.19″E / 34.6640306°N 112.9617194°E / 34.6640306; 112.9617194
ConsortsEmpress Dowager Zhaoxian (m. 916–956)
IssueZhao Kuangyin
Zhao Kuangyi
Zhao Tingmei
Princess Gongyi
Posthumous name
Emperor Zhaowu (昭武皇帝)
Temple name
Xuanzu (宣祖)
FatherZhao Jing
MotherLady Liu
Zhao Hongyin
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

After his death, his son Zhao Kuangyin founded the Song dynasty in 960. His other son Zhao Kuangyi would also become a Song emperor. For this reason, Zhao Hongyin is posthumously honored as "Emperor Xuanzu (宣祖) of Song". All emperors of the Song dynasty were his descendants via either Emperor Taizu (most emperors of the Southern Song) or Emperor Taizong (most emperors of the Northern Song).

Early lifeEdit

Zhao Hongyin decided against a civil career and became a military officer instead under Zhuangzong of Later Tang: he knew that in times of disunity it would be a military career that would lead to success.

The young Zhao Hongyin was a skilled horse archer. He originally served the warlord Wang Rong for the de facto independent Zhao State, and was once ordered by Wang to lead 500 cavalries to assist their ally Li Cunxu in battles, presumably against the Later Liang. Impressed by his bravery, Li kept Zhao as part of his imperial army after the fall of Zhao in 921.[1]

It was also around this period that he married Lady Du who was 3 years his junior.[2] According to popular rumour a few decades after his death, when Zhao Hongyin first came to the area by himself, he encountered a snowstorm and had to beg for food from servants in official Du Shuang's (杜爽) house. After a few days, the servants noticed that he was hardworking and persuaded Du to keep him in the house. A few months later, the family arranged for him to marry their eldest daughter.[3]


Consorts and Issue:

  • Empress Dowager Zhaoxian, of the Du clan (昭憲皇太后 杜氏; 902–961)
    • Zhao Guangji, Prince Yong (邕王 趙光濟), first son
    • Princess Gongxian (恭獻帝姬), first daughter
    • Zhao Kuangyin, Taizu (太祖 趙匡胤; 927–976), second son
    • Princess Gongyi (恭懿帝姬; d. 973), second daughter
      • Married Gao Huaide (高懷德; 926–982) in 960, and had issue (one daughter)
    • Zhao Jiong, Taizong (太宗 趙炅; 939–997), third son
    • Zhao Guangzan, Prince Qi (岐王 趙光贊), fifth son
  • Lady, of the Geng clan (陳夫人 耿氏)
    • Zhao Tingmei, Prince Fudao (涪悼王 趙廷美; 947–984), fourth son


Zhao Tiao
Zhao Ting
Empress Wenyi
Zhao Jing (872–933)
Sang Shifu
Empress Huiming
Zhao Hongyin (899–956)
Liu Yan
Liu Chang
Empress Jianmu


  1. ^ Song Shi, vol. 1
  2. ^ Song Shi, vol. 242 mentions that the marriage took place when Lady Du, born around 902, was just entering adulthood.
  3. ^ Dong Qi Jishi, vol. 1
  • (in Chinese) Toqto'a; et al. (1345). Song Shi (宋史) [History of Song].
  • (in Chinese) Fan Zhen. Dong Qi Jishi (東齋記事) [Notes of Eastern Qi].