(carried on from yesterday)
Posthumous titles are names given to Chinese emperors, leuds and ministers after they've died. Based on their achievements in their lives and their character, a title is chosen to priase or disparage them. In ancient times, other than emperors, ministers and scholars can also recieve a "posthumous title". eg Yue Wumu (Yue Fei) and Tao Jingjie (Tao Yuanming).
The emperor has the power to give Posthumous titles to other people. From Western Han to the end of the Qing dynasty, the are 10473 imperial clansman and officials who received a posthumous title, and the Ming dynasty by itself had 5935 people. The emperor's Posthumous title is normally chosen by "ceremonial officials" (礼官).
Types of Posthumous titles:
In the beginning, there were only "praising posthumous titles", but no "disparage posthumous titles". There was a rule for choosing words for Posthumous titles, the rules contains words with fixed meanings, the types are listed below:
"Shang shi" (top posthumous title)
It is a praising Posthumous title. For example "wen" (文) means having the virtues of diligentness or knowledgableness, "kang" (康) means being close with the people, "ping" (平) means just with the law, etc.
"Xia shi" (lower posthumous title)
This ia criticizing title. eg "yang" (炀) means that the emperor abandoned courtesy, "li" (厉) means that the emperor was cruel and that he has killed many innocent people, "huang" (荒) means he liked entertainments and was slack with governing the country, etc.
"Zhong shi" (middle posthumous title)
Normally for sympathy. For example "min" (愍) means suffering in hardships, "huai" (怀) means he was kind and/or short-lived.
"Si shi" (personal/unofficial posthumous title)
This is for famous scholars and officals who was given a posthumous name by their relatives or pupils.
Zunjing de Orchid_Dreams,
First and foremost, I would like to thank you very much for taking your precious time to translate this article for people who are illiterate! This sincere thank you is coming from me, but speaking for everyone.
Well, Emperor Shun Zhi never really conquered Beijing himself since he was only six years old then. It was his uncle, Prince Dorgon, who completed the conquest of Beijing and acted as the de factor ruler of the new Qing Empire. It is rather odd that the first Qing Emperor to occupy Beijing was only six years old at that time. Hehehe!
Regarding the article, it has a lot of interesting points. It explains the complicated naming conventions better than most articles.
I have just learned from it that temple names came into existence at the beginning of the Shang Dynasty. However, the term “Huang Di” did not exist until Qin Shi Huang’s time. So, I am assuming the Emperors were referred to as X or Y Zu or Zong Wang? During the Shang Dynasty, was it customary for kings to receive temple names? Or was it that only accomplished kings received temple names?
Yeah, during the Zhou Dynasty, not only kings, but also high ranking nobles were conferred with a posthumous name.
There were no posthumous or temple names during the Qin Dynasty because it was deemed unacceptable by Qin Shi Huang for descendants to make judgments on their ancestors’ characters or deeds. During the Qin Dynasty, Emperors were known by their rank as Emperors; first Emperor, second Emperor, or third Emperor. Ironically, Qin Shi Huang initially intended for his Empire to last for a very long time; however, it collapsed within four years of his death.
Were there any particular reasons why many Han Emperors did not receive a temple name? Was it because they were not qualified? Hmm, Liu Bang did receive the temple name of Taizu? Why did his temple name change from Taizu to Gaozu when Sima Qian compiled the first complete form of historical records? It does not really make much sense for a historian to change the temple name of a founding Emperor without some logical explanations.
Starting with the Tang Dynasty, all Emperors were known by their temple name; hence, I assume that everyone had a temple name.
Hmm, Emperor Yong Zheng received the temple name of Shizong; however, I don’t recall having any rebellions or conquests during his reign.
I surmise the ultimate difference between temple and posthumous names is that temple names are reserved for Emperors only, while posthumous names can be granted to Emperors, Empresses, and various ranking officials.
I guess just because someone was conferred with a posthumous name, it does not mean that the name will always have a positive denotations.
Again, thank you very much for taking your time to translate this article; we all appreciate it!