A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Chao K'uang-yin

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168 Chao K'uang-yin 趙匡胤. A.D. 927-976. The founder of the Sung dynasty. Descended from a family of officials under the T'ang dynasty, he rose to high military command under the Emperor Shih Tsung of the Later Chou dynasty. On the death of the latter he became Grand Marshal, and was entirely trusted by the mother of the boy-sovereign. The disturbed state of the empire led men to look to him for the restoration of order; and when he was sent to repel a reported inroad of the northern Han State and the Liao Tartars, his army invested him with the yellow robe at 陳橋 the Bridge of Ch'ên in K'ai-fêng Fu. He professed surprise and reluctance; but there is little doubt that he knew of the design, to which his brother and successor and Chao P'u were privy. He used his authority well. The power of the satraps was taken away, and Magistrates were appointed by the Emperor only. Of the States and Principalities into which China had split on the fall of the T'angs, only the Northern Han survived this reign, to fall in 979. Agriculture and education were fostered, and public granaries re-established. Capital sentences were in future to be confirmed by the Throne; and all chin shih were to be re-examined and to pass the final Palace examination. The Emperor had always loved study, and he impressed the need for it even on military officers, while he would have no Magistrates who were not literary men. He chose his officials with anxious care, and let them remain long in office. Personally frugal, he forbade luxury in the Palace, declaring that he held the empire as a great trust. To his fallen rivals he was kind, and in every war his one command was that there should be no slaughter nor looting, A new calendar, a revised criminal code, and an amended set of ceremonial rules, were among the many benefits he conferred upon the empire. Although he had sons, in obedience to the command of his mother he left his throne to his brother, the arrangement being that his own son should be Heir Apparent, and succeed upon the brother's death. Later writers have indeed suggested that his brother forced the Emperor to make him his heir, even using personal violence. On the other hand, he is said to have been so fond of his brother, that when the latter was cauterised for some disease, he too cauterised himself, in order to share the pain. Canonised as 英武聖文神德皇帝, with the temple name of 太祖.