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China Ancient History Emperor Wendi of Sui Dynasty

Emperor Wendi of Sui Dynasty

Emperor Wendi of Sui Dynasty (541-604) was the founder of Sui Dynasty in China and also the first Emperor of Sui Dynasty. Emperor Wendi used to be an official of Northern Zhou and his real name was Yang Jian.

To be a politician before China’s reunification, Yang Jian was not respectable, maybe it was not his own shortcomings, just because politics was always unclean and dirty. As a Northern Zhou official, Yang Jian served with apparent distinction during the reigns of Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou and Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou. When the erratic Emperor Xuan died in 580, Yang, as his father-in-law, seized power as regent. After defeating the general Yuchi Jiong, who resisted him, he seized the throne for himself, establishing the new Sui Dynasty. He was the first Chinese to rule North China after the Xianbei invasion which conquered that area from the Liu Song dynasty.

Emperor Wendi, absolutely distinct from his son Emperor Yangdi, had a high reputation both in history of China and folk China. Emperor Wendi was a clean-handed and diligent ruler or administrator as well as a great policymaker and practicer. As a Buddhist, Emperor Wendi encouraged the popularization of Buddhism in China. It was one reason could verify why Buddhism in period of Sui and Tang Dynasties was so welcomed and booming. In the meantime, Confucianism was also highly accentuated due to the need of imperial examination system. Customarily, in Chinese history, historians usually see the reign of Emperor Wendi as one of rare great periods of prosperity, which was not seen since Han Dynasty. In economic development, Sui Dynasty was greatly prosperous, and it was said the stored food could supply nationwide people for 50 years. In military power, Sui Dynasty was also unprecedentedly powerful. It conquered a lot of inconsistent states nearby.

Emperor Wendi was also a great man in self-discipline and self-cultivation. He just had two concubines as a great China’s emperor. It was scarcely seen in other dynasties except Emperor Hongzhi of Qing Dynasty, the last feudalistic dynasty in Chinese history, was the only perpetually monogamous Emperor. Emperor Wendi was said to be a model of husband who highly respected his empress.

Writer: David from Seeraa International
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