By Patricia Buckley Ebrey
China was once the main complex nation on this planet while Huizong ascended the throne in 1100 CE. In his eventful twenty-six-year reign, the artistically talented emperor guided the track Dynasty towards cultural greatness. but Huizong will be identified 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 significant monarch, Emperor Huizong is a nuanced portrait that corrects the present view of Huizong as decadent and negligent. Patricia Ebrey recasts him as a ruler really 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 became his recognition to the nice he may well do. He tremendously improved the court's charitable ventures, founding colleges, hospitals, orphanages, and paupers' cemeteries. An entire artist, he surrounded himself with striking poets, painters, and musicians and outfitted palaces, temples, and gardens of unsurpassed attractiveness. what's usually ignored, Ebrey issues out, is the significance of non secular Daoism in Huizong's knowing of his position. He taken care of Daoist non secular masters with nice deference, wrote scriptural commentaries, and suggested his matters 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 energetic biography, which provides new dimensions to our figuring out of a passionate and paradoxical ruler who, such a lot of centuries later, keeps to encourage either admiration and disapproval.