Emperor Qianfei, the Dark Stain on China’s Golden Age

While it seemed that Europe was in the Dark Ages, for China it was certainly a golden age. But that doesn’t mean that China wasn’t touched by darkness.

Emperor Qianfei was an emperor of the Chinese dynasty Liu Song. He was born in 449 and he became emperor when he was aged fifteen. He had a difficult childhood. He was imprisoned by his uncle when he was only four. However, his father killed the captor and he was released and made crown prince. In his new role, Qianfei made many mistakes. These did not impress the current emperor, his father, and resentment built up.

When he became emperor he demanded all his father’s portraits be given a large ugly nose. He also repealed all his father’s laws at once, throwing the country into chaos.

It’s never a good sign when a mother’s last words are, “Somebody bring me a sword and cut me open to see how this animal came out of me.” Qianfei killed nearly everyone in his family, starting with his brother. He left some of his uncles alive, but caged them and put them on public display. One nobleman who plotted against him got his eyes scooped out. Qianfei put the eyes in honey and called them pickled ghost eyes.

When he wasn’t busy murdering folk he engaged in sexual depravity and incest. If anyone refused, he killed their family. One aunt did not refuse, and started an affair with Qianfei. When her husband objected, Qianfei faked her death by killing a servant and sending the husband the mutilated body. And he killed the husband. And he killed the general who suggested that he not kill the husband. As Qianfei’s paranoia increased, he slaughtered anyone who even looked like a traitor. Once he killed a servant because she looked like a woman who had told him, in a dream, that he would be killed. Oh, the irony.

Unsurprisingly, Qianfei was murdered by his attendants after ruling for only one year. But the damage ran deep and the dynasty of Liu Song was destroyed too.

It’s just like reading Game of Thrones. Now I really do need a nice cup of tea after all that.

            © 2016 A.J. Sefton.   http://www.ajsefton.com


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