- JUST FOR POSITION DO NOT DELETE
In this imperial chronology, each year is listed according to the Chinese lunar calendar with traditional notations for each year (e.g., jiashen) followed by the internationally recognized Gregorian calendar year (e.g., 1644) that approximately corresponds to the given lunar year. Information on the imperial reign is listed with each calendar year. Specific events are listed after a title denoting the lunar month (e.g., 1st Month) in which they occurred.
Ages of historical figures are given as traditionally calculated by the Chinese lunar calendar. This traditional way of counting a person's age uses the word sui (year of age). The word conveys how many lunar years—even if only for a few days or months—an individual has experienced in life.
Chinese names are shown in the conventional Chinese order with the surname (family name) followed by the given name. When possible, Manchu names are rendered according to the Möllendorff system of transliteration (Romanization). If the original Manchu name is unknown, the name is shown with a hyphenated version of the transliterated Chinese name. Some Jurchen and Manchu figures are more commonly known by their Chinese names; in those cases, the Chinese name is used. Official titles and imperial institutions are rendered according to Charles O. Hucker's A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, 1985) when possible.
The Reign of the Tianshun Emperor (approx. 1457–1464)
Dingchou Year (approx. 1457)
Tianshun Reign, 1st Year
On the twenty-first day, the emperor emeritus (the former Zhengtong Emperor) ascends the throne, offers sacrifices to the ancestors in the Imperial Ancestral Temple, and changes the year designation from the eighth year of the Jingtai reign to the first year of the Tianshun reign, establishing his restored reign with a new reign title. Upon his restoration, he names Xu Youzhen (also known as Xu Cheng) as the chancellor of the Hanlin Academy, while allowing him to maintain his original post so as to participate in managing state affairs. On the following day, Xu Youzhen is additionally named as the minister of the Ministry of War. On the twenty-second day, the junior guardian and former Minister of War Yu Qian and Grand Secretary Wang Wen are executed, and their personal property is confiscated. Many of their relatives and supporters are executed, denounced, or exiled to distant regions to serve in garrisons.
The Jingtai Emperor is dethroned and given his former title, the Prince of Cheng. He is relocated to a residence in the southwestern part of the imperial palace. The empress dowager, née Wu, his biological mother, is demoted as Consort Xian (Xian fei, lit. “Worthy Consort”), which was her former title granted by the deceased Xuande Emperor. The late empress, née Hang, is also demoted by shortening her posthumous title. The deceased heir apparent, Huaixian, son of the interim Jingtai Emperor, is accordingly demoted as an heir, a princely title. All these measures are claimed to be carried out according to the will of the empress dowager, née Sun.
Vice Minister of Personnel Li Xian serves as chancellor of the Hanlin Academy and participates in state
The Prince of Cheng dies, and his burial is ordered to follow princely funerary arrangements. Construction on the former interim emperor's tomb, the Shou Tomb (Shouling, lit. "longevity tomb"), is discontinued, and the structure is destroyed. Instead, he is buried in the Western Hills where imperial princes and princesses who die before reaching adulthood are buried. He is given the humiliating posthumous title Li (lit. "rebellion"). Burial sacrifices include Lady Tang and other concubines.
Zhu Jianshen is restored as heir apparent.
The Gate of Accepting Heavenly Mandate (Chengtian men, the present-day gate known as Tian’an men) catches fire.
The emperor awards posthumous honors to the eunuch Wang Zhen who died during the battle at Tumu. These honors include a funeral and sacrifice for his death and a shrine in his memory.
Xuyin Year (approx. 1458)
Tianshun Reign, 2nd Year
The empress dowager receives her honorary title. This is announced across the empire.
Yimao Year (approx. 1459)
Tianshun Reign, 3rd Year
Shi Heng and his nephew Shi Biao are imprisoned for their roles in plotting the interim emperor’s restoration.
Xinsi Year (approx. 1461)
Tianshun Reign, 5th Year
The eunuch Cao Jixiang, another conspirator in the emperor’s restoration, is executed as an insurrectionist.
Renwu Year (approx. 1461)
Tianshun Reign, 6th Year
The empress dowager, née Sun, dies.
The late empress dowager receives her posthumous honorary title.
The late empress dowager is buried in the Jing Tomb.
Guiwei Year (approx. 1463)
Tianshun Reign, 7th Year
7th Month (Intercalary):
The late Xuande Emperor’s empress, née Hu, who demitted her position, is posthumously restored her title and rank and given an additional honorary title.
The practice of sacrificing concubines as part of funerals for emperors is abolished.
Jiashen Year (approx. 1464)
Tianshun Reign, 8th Year
On the second day, the emperor falls ill. The heir apparent administers the empire in the Hall of Literary Brilliance. On the sixteenth day, the emperor’s last edict is drafted, which announces the abolishment of concubine sacrifice. On the seventeenth day, the emperor dies at the age of thirty-eight (in sui). His eldest son, Heir Apparent Zhu Jianshen, ascends to the throne on the twenty-second day and designates the following year as the first year of the Chenghua reign.
The late Tianshun Emperor is given his posthumous title on the twelfth day.
On the first day, the late emperor’s empress, née Qian, is elevated as empress dowager and given the honorary title Ciyi (lit. “benevolent and ideally virtuous”). The new emperor’s biological mother, the honored consort, née Zhou, is also appointed as empress dowager. Grand Secretary Li Xian with other fellow court officials request the emperor to dismiss the plethora of palace maids recruited during the four previous reigns (the Xuande reign, 1426-1435, to the Tianshun reign, 1457-1464) and release noble women from the Palace Laundry Service (Huanyi ju) who were sentenced to serve there due to their familial association with officials charged with criminal activity. The emperor agrees to the requests.
The late Tianshun Emperor is buried in the Yu Tomb.
Lady Wu is appointed as empress.
The empress, née Wu, is deposed.
Lady Wang is appointed as empress.
Translated and edited by Li Yang, Zhuang Ying, Adam J. Ensign, et al.