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Favourite Ming Emperor


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#1 Mergen

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 09:04 PM

This is a sharing of who is your favourite Ming emperor from a personal point of preference, doesn't have to be politically or militarily successful. Just that you like the bloke.

My favourite Ming emperor is Zhu Hou Zhao, more commonly known by his reign title Zheng De. After his death, he was posthumously honoured as the "Martial Ancestor". I like him because he maximized his emperor pregoratives to enjoy life to the fullest as a free spirit. The Leopard House, military dress-ups & enactments, taste in exotic Central Asian women, the tours of south China, and yes, the legendary romance with south Chinese beauty Li Feng. The legend of the man persists till today. :thumbup: He didn't give a **** about the Confucian officials trying to constrain his activities and freed himself from them. Even though he might not had been a good emperor (again, I stress political/military achievements is not a criteria here), he was true to himself in his pursuit of personal happiness. :cheers: I salute his independent free spirit! :clapping: Whenever I review the list of Ming emperors, his name always brings a smile to my face.

I also like his cousin and successor, Zhu Hou Cong, more commonly known by his reign title Jia Jing. I admire his tenacity to take on the entire Confucian officialdom to honour his biological parents in what is known as the "Rites Controversy". :thumbup: For a young boy (he was only a teenager when he became Emperor) who did not inherit the throne by direct descent (he succeeded as the oldest living cousin of his predecessor), he was very brave to fight it out with the officials. He really showed them who was BOSS in the empire. :clapping: I read something about a large gathering of officials who carried out a sit-in protest after morning court session to pressurize him to capitulate in the "Rites Controversy". Zhu Hou Cong issues a warning. But when the officials did not disperse and carried on kneeling & wailing, crying the name of the Emperor Xiao Zong (his paternal uncle), Zhu Hou Cong ordered the officials to be beaten & whipped. Quite a number died from their injuries. After that, nobody dared to defy him. What a man! He was also the 2nd longest reigning Ming emperor (45 years in power). Unfortunately, he was a devout Taoist & rumoured to have died from mercury poisoning through taking of potions to lengthen his lifespan :icon15: .

Well, these 2 cousins are my favourite Ming monarchs.

#2 Loong

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:45 AM

Yes, I do think Zhu Hou Zhao (朱厚照)ranks as one of the tops.

Which Ming emperor apart from him could allow;

1. Have his favourite eunuch Liu Jin (刘瑾) - one of the eight tigers of Ming (八虎)have 300 officials kneel from dawn to dusk in palace courtyard, killing the Defence Minister HeYi(何釴), Jin Shi LuShen (陆伸), Beijing Majistrate ZhouChen (周臣).Those not dead were thrown in prison because of a complain letter targetting Liu Jin.

2. Setting up of NeiChang (内厂) for assination during his reign. (Movie fans would love to know that during Ming started the first JinYiWei (锦衣卫) ZhenFuSi (镇抚司) DongChang (东厂), XiChang (西厂) and NeiChang)

3. 1512 extension of his palace

4. 1514 - Sichuan, guanghu, guizhou timber confiscation, zhejiang, jiangxi, all the way to fujian collecting tax of 1million taels of silver for palace extension

5. 1515 start of open recruiting woman for harem

6. 1517 Started using title General Wei Wu (威武大将军)for visit to locality. Confiscating woman from homes, and burning villages after getting the woman


He ranks as one of my top favourite Ming Emperor to say the least. One thing I can say, he upheld the reputation of all the Ming Emperors before him.

#3 Centaur

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 12:28 AM

:huh: I wonder if this was written from a point of view a man or a women - recruitment of women to the harem - an achievement? - no, I am no feminist... but ummm... says interesting things about the emperor, especially if he had taken more care in ruling and less care in his harem.. perhaps the decay of the Ming dynasty might not set in so soon.

#4 Loong

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 07:41 AM

Basically, my post is sarcasm while informative.

I call it informative sarcasm. Its a new trend.

#5 Mergen

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:16 AM

Basically, my post is sarcasm while informative.

I call it informative sarcasm. Its a new trend.


I did not start the thread to be sarcastic or ironic. The Zhengde and Jiajing emperors are genuinely my favourite Ming monarchs based on my personal preferences. Why I like them despite their condemnation by Chinese historians? Well, because they had the balls to stand up to Confucian officials whose heads grew too big for their shoes. Confucian officials always have that sense of moral superiority and feel they should rule while the emperor reigns. So they feel the emperor must always accept their direction. What they don't realize is they're just servants of the state, appointed by the favour of the emperor. The emperor owes his position to his ancestor risking life to rebel against the previous regime and found a new dynasty. Where were these paper pushers when the soldiers were shedding blood in the battlefield to win the empire? The empire is won by battle, not by composing poems or reciting classics. So emperors need to put the Confucian officials in their place from time to time.

Both the Zhengde and Jiajing emperors chose to take on the Confucian officials in different ways. The Zhengde emperor chose to rebel against the system and annoy the officials by becoming a counter-emperor. The Jiajing emperor chose to work within the system but impose his depostism over it and using divde & rule tactics i.e. encouraging other officials to win his favour by joining his camp against their fellow officials. Some like the Wanli emperor got so disgusted with his officials that he didn't even want to see them for years. Many Ming emperors were actually quite intelligent and bright individuals. They were tutored when young by the most qualified teachers. So one must ask why did so many of them end up fighting against the bureaucratic system & their own officials, and in the end shirk their governing responsibility. There must be something to cause them to withdraw from their duties.

#6 Centaur

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 09:09 PM

Many Ming emperors were actually quite intelligent and bright individuals. They were tutored when young by the most qualified teachers. So one must ask why did so many of them end up fighting against the bureaucratic system & their own officials, and in the end shirk their governing responsibility. There must be something to cause them to withdraw from their duties.


I kind of agree with the thought that something had caused them to withdraw from their duties... resting in their ancestor's laurels? or just plain lazy - allowing the eunuchs an almost free hand in the government... it actually started with Zhu Di, well at least he chose the right people then - Admirals Cheng Ho and Yin Cheng. Perhaps the emperors themselves believing totally in the Mandate of Heaven, and their in own infalliblity, that ultimately, they forget the empire is not just a backyard playground, but consisting of people to care for - power getting into their heads?

Seriously, it would be rather unfair to condemn them for what they had done. I guess, if they had not done what they had done, we might not be facing Chinese History of today. Moreover, it is a personal opinion, I might not feel the same way you feel, but I respect your point of view.

#7 yongzheng freak

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 10:11 PM

I always thought of it as rebellion like teenagers who has growing pains and an urge to go against whatever the adults tell them which in the case of the Ming emperors, that will be the officials.
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#8 Loong

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 01:45 AM

Actually, the Ming dynasty was one of the darkest dynasty in Chinese history, where the Chinese were tortured, used, and rule with tyranny by their own "kind". I believe everyone has vices, at least not to the extent where "swallowing of stones" to fill one's stomach were a common practice.

Irrespective of whether they follow confucian, taoism, or other major philosophical/religious thought in governance, it is no excuse to enjoy at the expense of others. Hence, history judge them as tyrant, which in ancient or modern standards should be overthrown and executed.

Taking the opportunity here to introduce an essay, titled Xin Yu (新语) which have historical bearing for student of Qin (秦) history, and should also serve as a reminder for all future generations. The Ming emperor probably missed this one.

#9 ctrlsave

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 01:32 AM

I think the best way to fight the officials
is to be a good emperor, solidify your rule
shut everyone up. Then change the system.

Not by doing silly things.

Edited by ctrlsave, 21 June 2011 - 01:34 AM.


#10 Shifa Shengli

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 08:26 PM

I did not start the thread to be sarcastic or ironic. The Zhengde and Jiajing emperors are genuinely my favourite Ming monarchs based on my personal preferences. Why I like them despite their condemnation by Chinese historians? Well, because they had the balls to stand up to Confucian officials whose heads grew too big for their shoes. Confucian officials always have that sense of moral superiority and feel they should rule while the emperor reigns. So they feel the emperor must always accept their direction. What they don't realize is they're just servants of the state, appointed by the favour of the emperor. The emperor owes his position to his ancestor risking life to rebel against the previous regime and found a new dynasty. Where were these paper pushers when the soldiers were shedding blood in the battlefield to win the empire? The empire is won by battle, not by composing poems or reciting classics. So emperors need to put the Confucian officials in their place from time to time.


i couldn't agree more,,, i guess military should more appreciated instead bookworm,,, ming only repeated song fault to discriminate their army and overrated confucians value causing them decline so poor

#11 SlickSlicer

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 10:39 PM

I like the founder because he genuinely tried hard to help relieve the troubles of the masses.
My avatar is Xiaowendi of Northern Wei.




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