Zhao Xu

Image Source: Public Domain

About Zhao Xu

Lifespan: 1048 – 1085 A.D

Reign Years: 1067 – 1085 A.D

Given Name: Zhao Xu

Reign Name: Shenzong

Zhao Xu – Song Dynasty

Emperor Shenzong of the Song Dynasty was given the name Zhao Xu. He was the 6th emperor of China’s Song Dynasty and the successor of Emperor Yingzong, his father.

During Zhao Xu’s reign, some of the greatest and most notable cultural and intellectual figures of that era flourished. Among them were Su Dongpo and Ouyang Xiu.

Under the Rule of Emperor Shenzong

The Song emperor Shenzong’s rule had the extreme reformer, Wang Anshi, carry out various social and economic programs. Low-interest loans from the government were instituted for the peasants, while newer land surveys were created for tax inequities.

The government revenues were boosted via the purchasing program of manufactured specialties in a specific region. Then, they were sold in another area.

The Song Dynasty wanted to improve military forces while maintaining good local security. So, Emperor Shenzong, along with Wang, ordered that militia groups in every village should be trained. Not only that, but they acquired horses and assigned them to north China’s peasant families.

Although the emperor continued implementing reforms, Wang created a ton of personal problems that he had to retire in 1076. Because of the program’s magnitude and the bureaucracy’s ineptness, the program couldn’t receive any success.

Despite having a lot of issues, the reforms of Wang still acquired optimized military power. To remedy the empire’s military weakness and decrease the cost of a professional army, villages were tasked to organize militias. It was done under the old name Baojia to maintain order regularly and serve as reserve troops during war-time.

To reinforce and improve their cavalry, the government under Zhao Xu acquired horses. These were assigned to several households in the north and northwest areas. Different weapons were also created for use.

As a result, the empire under this Song emperor scored a couple of minor victories around the northwest border.

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Rare and unique Chinese antique blue and white porcelain Ming dynasty vase, the lower part of the vase is shaped as a big bowl decorate with foo dogs surrounded by clouds, in the center of the vase phoenix birds are painted in blue surrounded by peony blossom alternatively rendered and in profile.

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Rare Antique Chinese Blue and White Porcelain Ming Vase with Clay Dragon

Remarkable and rare made of high quality blue and white porcelain this dragon vase is from the early Ming dynasty, the vase is decorated with clouds and peony blossom and remarkable work of a dragon in clay. It has a long cover in perfect condition. The clay has a small chip near one of the dragon 3 claw hands

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Antique Chinese Porcelain Blue and White Plate Late Yuan Dynasty

This antique blue and white porcelain plate features a beautiful and complex inverted painting with rich blue tone colors in the center, surrounded by a double ring peony blossom alternatively rendered and in profile, In the outer rim there is a painting in blue on white leaves surrounding the entire plate.

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Emperor Shenzong’s Achievements

One of the most notable achievements of Emperor Shenzong was his attempt to decrease Western Xia’s formative nation. He did this by invading, as well as expelling the Xia troops from Gansu.

They were quite successful with the campaigns, and these were appreciated by many. However, during the Battle for Yongle, the forces of the Song emperor Zhao Xu were defeated.

This increased power of the Western Xia. So, they continued to pose a threat to the Song over the decades.

Trade and Economy

The government also had to face the increasingly spreading money economy by boosting the currency supply. Due to this, the state ended up becoming involved in trade, purchasing products for resale, stabilizing prices, and more.

They even maintained granaries in different cities to guarantee enough on-hand supplies for emergencies. Compulsory labor was shifted to a graduated tax-payment system that was used for financing hired labor service programs.

Literary Achievements

Aside from having trade and economic achievements, the Song Empire had some notable literary achievements under Emperor Shenzong. One of these was the assembly of the 7 Military Classics. It included the so-called forgery of the Questions & Replies of Li Weigong and Tang Taizong.

During the reign of Zhao Xu, the Song emperor, the minister Sima Guang found interest in the history of the early 1,000 years. It urged him to create an influential history book called the Zizhi Tongjian. It translates to Comprehensive Mirror of Aid to the government.

The book lists a collection of historical events all the way from the Zhou Dynasty to the Song Dynasty.

Antique Chinese Song dynasty Celadon Jar

This rare celadon jar from the ancient Song Dynasty features a beautiful all-olive green design, smooth and shiny, with a firm base from which grows an asymmetrically oval body with elegant grooved borders to a modest, slightly raised rim.

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Song Dynasty Antique Celadon Plate

This rare preserved Song Dynasty celadon plate has a design devoid of decoration that makes it look like a beautiful, untouched piece of jade. Its bottom rests on a base that grows in layers around a small foot that grows along fine grooved borders.

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Rare Song Dynasty Qingbai Ewer

This rare Song Dynasty ewer possesses an irresistible natural charm that exudes simplicity and grace in every part. It has an uncluttered base with a small foot that gives rise to a firm, sturdy body, devoid of any more decoration than a simple protruding medallion.

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Death and End of Reign

Emperor Shenzong fell ill and died at the age of 36. To succeed his throne, his son, Zhao Xu, took over the throne and was called Emperor Zhezong.

Like a lot of the Chinese emperors of Song, Zhezong was also underage when he became the emperor. With that, his mother, Empress Gao, ruled as regent until death. During this time, the conservative officials chose to revoke all the reforms that were previously made.