In troubled times, the responsibility of the princess

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There are always people who, regardless of gain or loss, would rather keep the goodness in their hearts even at the cost of their lives.

When it comes to the Li Tang Dynasty, perhaps many people have long been used to the abnormal meaning of “father kindness and son filial piety” and “brotherhood and brotherhood”. Starting from the killing of two brothers by Emperor Taizong and lishimin in the Xuanwu sect, which forced Li Yuan to become a Zen priest, to Wu Zetian, Emperor Xuanzong and Emperor suzong, who could mercilessly kill their own children. In the face of the attraction of supreme power, family affection is fragile and vulnerable.

Such examples are indeed numerous and magnificent. No matter how many times of deduction, they are enough to make the world enjoy talking about.

In contrast, the “exception” is often less prominent. However, a princess’s tenacious bearing in the war of troubled times should not be left anonymous.

When the flames of the an Shi rebellion rolled in, the prosperous era of Kaiyuan collapsed like a building, and the former Supreme Master of the ninth five year plan had to flee in a hurry. Under the threat of the mutinous army, he was still unable to protect his beloved concubine, let alone suppress and control his children and subordinates.

However, under the butcher’s knife of the rebels, there is no big difference between civilians and their relatives. In order not to become a ghost under the knife, they have to fight against each other to have a chance of survival.



Part of the painting of Ming emperor’s happiness in Sichuan by Wu Bin of Ming Dynasty (Biography)

Collected by Tianjin Museum

It is supposed to be so, but the third daughter of emperor suzong of Tang Dynasty and Princess Zheng resolutely turned back on the way to escape from the disaster. The direction was the fallen capital – Princess Ning Guo, the second sister who had just become a widow, was still trapped in the City mansion.

Even the emperor did not care about the life or death of his children when he ran for his life. Princess Hezheng did not take the risk, and no one would accuse her. But she still grabbed her husband Liu Tan’s horse and let her three sons escape on foot. She rode alone and miraculously returned. She just escaped from the dangerous city with her sister from the mouth of the rebels.



Part of the painting of Ming emperor’s blessing Shu by Li Zhaodao of Tang Dynasty

Taipei Palace Museum Collection

However, fleeing is not a leisurely trip, nor will there be the service of rich clothes and food in the past. It is common to live in the open, and I don’t know whether I can get to the end of the long journey. The princess and the princess know that the situation is serious, but she still wants to take her sister to flee with her.

Princess Ningguo was weak, so Princess Hezheng gave her the only horse and walked with her husband and son. In this way, she could only walk hundreds of miles every day. She should race against time to escape and increase the burden on her own. The result can be imagined.



Part of the painting of Ming emperor’s blessing Shu by Li Zhaodao of Tang Dynasty

Taipei Palace Museum Collection

However, Princess Hezheng never thought of giving up her sister. When it was time to have a rest, Liu Tan, her son-in-law, cut firewood, made a fire with Princess Hezheng, and then gave the food to her sister first.

No matter what difficulties and hardships she encountered on the way, Princess Hezheng always rescued her sister first. Princess Ningguo was able to survive the catastrophe because of her sister’s efforts.

The deeds of the princesses in the Tang Dynasty, because of the hot orientation of film and television interpretation, are often known as the power of Princess Taiping, or the extravagance and lust of Princess Anle. Before the prosperous Tang Dynasty, most princesses were like peonies in full bloom. With strong national strength as the nourishment, and thanks to the open trend and relatively loose moral and ethical constraints, they could easily “free themselves” to their heart’s content.

However, the fragility of greenhouse flowers will always show its original shape under the merciless weapon. Only with a more tenacious character can we make the golden branches and jade leaves sound like men.



Tang Zhoufang’s beautiful woman with hairpin, collected by Liaoning Provincial Museum

Although the prosperity under the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty had not completely faded when Princess Hezheng was born, there were already dangers and undercurrents surging.

With the growth of age, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, from the prosperous emperor who made great efforts to govern, became a fatuous emperor with unrestrained complacency.

Not only are treacherous officials like yangguozhong and ambitious people like Anlushan like fish in water, but the weak family ties between the Royal father and son also seem to be firmly continuing the “tradition” since the founding of the Tang Dynasty. Just for the tears of Princess Wu Hui, the three Royal sons, including Crown Prince Li Ying, were killed in one day, and the whole world felt wronged for them. After that, Li Heng, who was later made crown prince, almost never lived in peace.

Under the vivid example represented by the transformation of the Xuanwu Gate, the full-fledged crown prince means that the supreme power in the hands of the Emperor may be transferred early. Therefore, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty almost completely allowed the treacherous ministers led by Li Linfu to launch all kinds of political persecution against Li Heng. Under the impact on Wei Jian, the brother of the Crown Princess Wei, who had been with Li Heng for many years, Wei was forced to cut his hair and become a nun.

Wu, the biological mother of Princess Hezheng, first gave birth to her brother with Li Heng. Later, the Emperor Li Chu (later renamed Li Yu) of the Tang Dynasty finally died when Princess Hezheng was three years old. She was only 18 years old. Since then, Princess Hezheng was raised by Wei.

Although she was not her own mother and daughter, Princess Hezheng served Merriam Webster with sincerity and filial piety. It is conceivable that Merriam Webster did not treat her adopted daughter badly. Even, Princess Hezheng’s upright and outstanding conduct may have something to do with Merriam Webster’s dedication to education.



Part of Zhao Ji (Biography) in the Northern Song Dynasty depicting Zhang Xuan’s spring outing as the wife of the Guo State

Collected by Liaoning Provincial Museum

Political struggle is often right or wrong, and only interests are at stake. The mother of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty was unknowingly dead because of Wu Zetian’s momentary anger. However, the tragedy may not always be admonished. On the contrary, there are not a few victims who have changed their ways.

Merriam Webster was innocent and separated from her husband and children. Although Princess Hezheng could not provide help, the sadness in her heart should be self-evident. However, even at the center of the most severe political vortex, Princess Hezheng was unwilling to be insensitive and drift with the tide.

Under the precarious crisis, she cherishes her brothers and sisters more, not only her own brother Li Chu, but also Webster’s own daughter, Princess Yonghe. Because of Webster’s upbringing, the two half sisters lived together since childhood. Princess Hezheng learned to behave honestly and intelligently in the complex and changeable palace, “If you draw a picture of history from left to right, reveal Buddhist scriptures, the sound of golden stones and bamboos, paint skillfully, hear what you see and hear, and appreciate what you feel, you will never forget it all your life”. It is very popular with emperor suzong of Tang Dynasty. Whenever your father gives you a reward, Princess Hezheng always remembers to give her advice in time to fight for Princess Yonghe.



Tang gilded gold and silver sachet collected by the National Museum of China

Princess Yonghe is not a rare hedonic princess in the Tang Dynasty. She has never been interested in military affairs. She has 20 or 30 mu of land. She only cares for people to take care of herbs every day so that she can study the secret recipe for beauty. Princess Hezheng did not follow suit. She was “dressed without gold and emerald ornaments” and was able to tailor clothes for her husband and children.



Zhao Ji (Biography) of the Northern Song Dynasty copied part of Zhang Xuan’s painting

Boston art collection

In the ninth year of Tianbao, she married her son-in-law Liu tan. Her husband’s brother Liu Cheng married the elder sister of imperial concubine Yang. When imperial concubine Yang was in great favor, the Yang family’s power was burning with flames and flowers. However, Princess Hezheng did not want to please her brother and sister-in-law. Instead, Princess Hezheng was forced to hang herself. After the fall of the Yang family, she and Princess Zheng adopted the orphans of her brother and sister-in-law and treated them as their own children.

Although marrying golden branches and jade leaves usually means supreme glory, and there are not a few people who want to take advantage of it to ascend to the sky, Princess Hezheng’s husband Liu Tan is not a layman, or it is possible that Princess Hezheng’s honest and kind heart also deeply infected him.

When escorting Princess Ningguo on the escape Road, she was the only horse with Princess Zheng and her sister. Liu Tan walked with her horse. Seeing that her husband was like this, Princess Hezheng dismounted and walked with Liu tan. Princess Hezheng even ignored her own life and death in order to save her sister. Liu Tan could not bear it, but also did not want it. The princess tried to persuade her: “if I get involved first, I will abandon my city.” Liu Tan sighed and no longer complained.

After entering Sichuan, Princess Hezheng and Liu Tan were both canonized. However, the general guoqianren of Sichuan also turned against him. The frightened emperor suddenly encountered a new betrayal. Facing the rebel attack, Princess Hezheng and others did not want to shrink behind the rear. Liu Tan personally went to the battle to kill the enemy. Princess Hezheng and Princess Ningguo delivered bows and arrows to him, so Li Tan pursued the victory and killed more than 50 enemies at one go.



An Shi rebellion the anti insurgency route of the Tang Army

The an Shi rebellion was finally put down, but the Tang Dynasty was no longer prosperous, and its decline could not be reversed. The empty National Treasury made the basic ruling power face a crisis.

At this time, Princess Hezheng gave full play to her ability in business and financial management. When she was in financial difficulties, she did not hesitate to actively manage and donate her savings, “speak out to thieves, lose money to help the country, and help the people”.

Not only the people of the Tang Dynasty, but also the Uighur Abu Si Mou was killed. His wife was detained in the palace as a female musician. At a banquet, Abu Si’s wife was forced to wear green clothes and perform with other advocates for the pleasure of the audience.

Princess Hezheng really couldn’t stand it. She took pity on the situation of ABSI’s wife, but she knew that she couldn’t speak out to the emperor who was enjoying it, otherwise it would easily backfire. So she found an opportunity to point out to Tang suzong that ABSI’s wife was the wife of a sinner. She shouldn’t have stayed in front of the emperor, and she hadn’t been convicted, so she shouldn’t have coexisted with advocating excellence.

This made Tang suzong feel quite reasonable, so he gave the will to exonerate albus’ wife from the palace.

When Emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty was dying, Princess Hezheng served her wholeheartedly. Emperor suzong felt pure filial piety and wanted to give her a manor. However, Princess Hezheng thought that Princess Baozhang had not yet arrived, so she cried and asked emperor suzong to take back the manor and give it to Princess Baozhang. The left and right attendants were all moved.

After Princess Hezheng’s brother ascended the throne as emperor of the Tang Dynasty, he felt deeply that his own sister had suffered a lot and that his family was not rich. He asked local governors to send money to the princess, which totaled hundreds of millions. However, Princess Hezheng resolutely refused to take any money. The clothes she made for her husband’s children were only made of ordinary cloth, and “every instruction” was given to them to avoid extravagance and lust.

Taking the fact that Princess Taiping, Princess Anle and other powerful princesses were in chaos for a while as a lesson, Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty limited the possibility of the expansion of the Princesses’ power with various prohibitions. Since then, emperors of all dynasties could not help but admonish him. However, for Emperor Li Chu of the Tang Dynasty, Princess Hezheng was one of his most important advisors.

This is not because he is biased as a brother, but because he and the princess are devoted to the public and have extraordinary knowledge, and can always put forward good advice for him to benefit the country and the people.

However, it was this pure sense of responsibility and goodwill that prevented Princess Hezheng from dying. When Tubo invaded again, Princess Hezheng was already pregnant. Considering the difficulties of the country, she immediately asked people to prepare a sedan chair and go to the palace to discuss military aircraft with the emperor of the Tang Dynasty. Liu Tan tried his best to dissuade his wife, but the princess asked him, “don’t you have a brother?” Now, Liu Tan can’t say anything more.

Princess Hezheng’s advice on border defense matters was also true to the point. Emperor Zong of the Tang Dynasty readily accepted it. However, Princess Hezheng, who was overworked, died of childbirth the day after she returned to her house. She was 36 years old.

Liu Tan was so sad at the funeral that he wept until he shed tears and blood. His five sons and three daughters were also so sad. Emperor Zong of the Tang Dynasty was so sad that he dropped out of the imperial court for three days. Yanzhenqing, a famous calligrapher, wrote Princess Hezheng’s Shinto tablet for Princess Hezheng.



Full volume (part) of Tang yanzhenqing’s memorial to his nephew collected by the National Palace Museum, Taipei

For emperor Zong of the Tang Dynasty, this was not the first time that fate had taken away his beloved brothers. His half brother, King Li Chu of Jianning, was framed by Empress Zhang, Li Fuguo and others on the charge of murdering the crown prince. Like his father, Emperor suzong of the Tang Dynasty issued a decree to kill his own son.

Although Li Chu made great contributions to the establishment of suzong and peaceful rebellion, and there was a dispute with Li Chu, who was still king of Guangping at that time, about his position as a prince, their brotherhood was rare and profound. Li Chu was deeply saddened by his unjust death. When empress Zhang planned to support her son king Yue as emperor, Li Chu took advantage of Tang suzong’s critical illness to launch a coup and put King Yue and empress Zhang under house arrest. Tang suzong was also frightened and died, which was considered as revenge for Li Chu.

However, the emperor of the Tang Dynasty, who was passionate about his brother, did not stop there. He issued an imperial edict to pacify Li Chu and restore his reputation. First, he was proclaimed king of Qi. Finally, he was granted the title of emperor Chengtian with unparalleled strength. Throughout the ages, only this emperor has pursued the title of emperor after his dead brother, not just the crown prince and Prince – that is, the so-called political show. To this extent, people have to believe in his sincerity.

However, the fate is merciless, and fate makes people. Even if they live in the supreme position and do not forget their close relatives, they still have to live and die.

There are too many cruelties and helplessness in this world that cannot be reversed by human efforts. Fortunately, there are always people who do not care about gains and losses, and even prefer to keep the goodness in their hearts at the cost of their lives.

Therefore, hope has never been cut off, which is probably the greatest significance of Princess Hezheng’s achievements in assuming the responsibility of her family and country in the war.



(this article only represents the author’s point of view, not the position of this number)



China’s national history is once again new!



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