An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Emperor Han Zhangdi 漢章帝 Liu Da 劉炟

Dec 26, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Emperor Zhangdi 漢章帝 (r. 76-88 CE), personal name Liu Da 劉炟, courtesy name Zhu 著, temple name Han Suzong 漢肅宗, was the third emperor of the Later Han dynasty 後漢 (25-220 CE). He was the fifth son of Emperor Ming 漢明帝 (r. 57-75 CE) and succeeded his father to the throne.

In his youth he was very fond of Confucian learning. One year after his enthronement he was given Lady Dou 竇貴人 to his main wife, and his son Liu Qing 劉慶 was named heir apparent. Liu Qing was later demoted to Prince of Qinghe 清河王, and Liu Zhao 劉肇, a son of Lady Liang 梁貴人, was named heir apparent.

In 79 CE Emperor Zhang convoked a Confucian conference in the Shiqu Hall 石渠閣 that was intended to discuss the meaning of the Five Confucian Classics. The emperor personally conducted the conference, and the historian Ban Gu 班固 later wrote down the course and outcome of the discussions in the book Baihu tongyi 白虎通義.

In 83 CE Emperor Zhang encouraged Confucian scholars to write commentaries to the Chunqiu-Zhuozhuan 左氏春秋 "Spring and Autumn Annals", the Guliang commentary to the Chunqiu 榖梁春秋, the Old-Text Shangshu 古文尚書 and the Shijing (Maoshi 毛詩). The most important Confucian scholars during that time were Kong Xi 孔僖 and Cui Yin 崔駰.

In the following year Emperor Zhang visited Confucius's home town in Qufu 曲阜 and brought offerings to Confucius and his seventy-two disciples.

He is buried in the tomb mound Jingling 敬陵 and was succeeded by Liu Zhao 劉肇, who is known as Emperor He 漢和帝 (r. 88-105 CE).

Chen Quanli 陳全力, Hou Xinyi 侯欣一, ed. (1988). Diwang cidian 帝王辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), 44.