Emperor liezu of southern tang

Chinese Emperor
Li Bian
Birth and death
Birth date January 7, 889[1][2]
Death date March 30, 943[2][3]
Family name Originally (李), later (徐) (changed 895?), later again Lǐ (changed 939)
Given name Original name unknown,
later Zhīgào (知誥) (changed 895?), later Gào (誥) (changed 937), later Biàn (昪) (changed 939)
Dates of reign (1st) November 10, 937[2][4]–March 30, 943
Dynasty Southern Tang
Era name Shēngyúan (昇元)
Era dates November 10, 937–April 8, 943[2][3]
Temple name Lièzǔ (烈祖)
Posthumous name:
Emperor Guangwen Suwu Xiaogao

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) and then Xu Gao (徐誥), 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

  • Father
    • Li Rong (李榮) (d. 893), posthumously honored Emperor Xiaode with the temple name of Qingzong (honored 938)
  • Mother
    • 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)
  • Wives
    • 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 Concubine
    • Lady Zhong Shiguang, mother of Prince Jingdi
  • Children
    • 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) (924-957), 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, wife of Yan Xu (严续)
    • Princess Jianchang
    • Princess Yushan
    • Princess Xingguo, wife of Ma Renyu (馬仁裕)


Chinese nobility
Preceded by
None (dynasty founded)
Emperor of Southern Tang
Succeeded by
Emperor Yuanzong of Southern Tang
Preceded by
Yang Pu of Wu
Emperor of China (Jiangsu/Anhui/Jiangxi/Eastern Hubei)
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