By Patricia Buckley Ebrey
China used to be the main complex kingdom on this planet while Huizong ascended the throne in 1100 CE. In his eventful twenty-six-year reign, the artistically proficient emperor guided the tune Dynasty towards cultural greatness. but Huizong will be recognized to posterity as a political failure who misplaced the throne to Jurchen invaders and died their prisoner. the 1st accomplished English-language biography of this crucial monarch, Emperor Huizong is a nuanced portrait that corrects the existing view of Huizong as decadent and negligent. Patricia Ebrey recasts him as a ruler surely ambitious--if an excessive amount of so--in pursuing glory for his flourishing realm.
After a rocky begin attempting to conquer political animosities at courtroom, Huizong grew to become his consciousness to the great he may well do. He significantly increased the court's charitable ventures, founding colleges, hospitals, orphanages, and paupers' cemeteries. An entire artist, he surrounded himself with notable poets, painters, and musicians and outfitted palaces, temples, and gardens of unsurpassed beauty. what's frequently missed, Ebrey issues out, is the significance of spiritual Daoism in Huizong's realizing of his function. He taken care of Daoist non secular masters with nice deference, wrote scriptural commentaries, and recommended his topics to undertake his ideals and practices. This devotion to the Daoist imaginative and prescient of sacred kingship finally alienated the Confucian mainstream and compromised his skill to govern.
Readers will welcome this vigorous biography, which provides new dimensions to our realizing of a passionate and paradoxical ruler who, such a lot of centuries later, maintains to motivate either admiration and disapproval.