Emperor Liezu of southern tang

Emperor Liezu of southern tang (南唐烈祖) (889-943), also known as Xianzhu of southern tang (南唐先主, literally "the first ruler of southern tang"), personal name Li Bian (李昪), earlier also known as Xu Zhigao (徐知誥), courtesy name Zhenglun (正倫), nickname Pengnu (彭奴), was the founder of the southern tang kingdom, one of the most successful of the Ten Kingdoms of the five dynasties and ten kingdoms Period (907-960).

Rise to Power

Li Bian was the adoptive son of Yang Xingmi, the founder of the Wu Kingdom, but later was adopted by the general Xu Wen and had his name changed to Xu Zhigao. He was able to usurp power in the Wu state from Yang's successors in 937. He declared himself to be the legitimate successor to the tang dynasty, which had fallen in 907. This is the justification he used for adopting the imperial surname of Li.


Xianzhu's reign was short, only six years. However, he was successful in solidifying the state, preparing it for aggressive expansion that his successor, Zhongzhu, would engage in. He established the capital at Nanjing, the same location as the predecessor state, the Kingdom of Wu. He also began a pattern of Nanjing becoming one of the three main centers of art and culture in southern China during the five dynasties and ten kingdoms Period


While the kingdom Xianzhu founded did not succeed in reuniting the Chinese realm, however, it played an important part in the consolidation of politics with the absorption of Min and Chu. It also became one of the leading centers of learning, along with Chengdu of the later shu and Hangzhou of wuyue.

Personal information


Li Rong (李榮) (d. 893), posthumously honored Emperor Xiaode with the temple name of Qingzong (honored 938)


Lady Liu, posthumously honored Empress Degong (honored 938)

Adoptive Father

Xu Wen, Prince Zhongwu of Qi during Wu, further posthumously honored Emperor Wu (honored 937), initially with the temple name of Taizu (honored 937) then Yizu (honored 938)

Adoptive Mother

Lady Li, posthumously honored Empress Mingde (honored 937)


Lady Wang, the Lady of Wei, posthumously honored imperial consort rank Shunfei

Empress Song Fujin, mother of Crown Prince Jingtong and Princes Jingqian, Jingsui, and Jingda

Major Concubines

Lady Zhong, mother of Prince Jingdi


Xu Jingtong (徐景通), name later changed to Xu Jing (changed 937), then to Li Jing (李璟) (changed 938), then to Li Jing (李景) (changed 958), initially the Prince of Wu (created 937), later the Prince of Qi (created 938), later the Crown Prince (created 940), later Emperor Yuanzong of southern tang

Xu Jingqian (徐景遷) (919-937), posthumously created the Prince of Gaoping (created 937), then Prince Ding of Chu (created 943)

Xu Jingsui (徐景遂), name later changed to Li Jingsui (李景遂) (changed 938), initially the Prince of Ji, then the Prince of Shou (created 937), then the Prince of Shou (created 939), then the Prince of Yan (created 943), then the Prince of Qi (created 943), then the Crown Prince (created 947), then the Prince of Jin (created 958), posthumously re-created Crown Prince Wencheng

Xu Jingda (徐景達) (924-971), name later changed to Li Jingda (李景達), initially the Duke of Shouyang (created 937), then the Prince of Xuancheng (created 939), then the Prince of E (created 943), then the Prince of Qi (created 943), posthumously created Crown Prince Zhaoxiao

Li Jingdi (李景逷) (938-968), initially the Prince of Baoning (created 943), later the Prince of Xin, later Prince Zhaoshun of Jiang

Princess Yongxing, wife of the Wu crown prince Yang Lian

Princess Fengcheng

Princess Shengtang

Princess Taihe

Princess Jianchang

Princess Yushan

Princess Xingguo, wife of Ma Renyu (馬仁裕)

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