The Yongle Emperor (pronounced , ; 2 May 1360 – 12 August 1424) — personal name Zhu Di (WG: Chu Ti) — was the third Emperor of the Ming dynasty
, reigning from 1402 to 1424.
Zhu Di was the fourth son of the Hongwu Emperor
, the founder of the Ming dynasty
. He was originally enfeoffed
as the Prince of Yan
() in May 1370,
Legitimating Usurpation: Historical Revisions under the Ming Yongle Emperor (r. 14021424)
. ''The Legitimation of New Orders: Case Studies in World History''. Chinese University Press, 2007. . Accessed 12 Oct 2012.
with the capital of his princedom at Beiping (modern Beijing
). Amid the continuing struggle against the Mongols
of the Northern Yuan dynasty
, Zhu Di consolidated his own power and eliminated rivals such as the general Lan Yu
. He initially accepted his father's appointment of his eldest brother Zhu Biao
and then Zhu Biao's son Zhu Yunwen
as crown prince
, but when Zhu Yunwen ascended the throne as the Jianwen Emperor and began executing and demoting his powerful uncles, Zhu Di found pretext for rising in rebellion against his nephew.
Assisted in large part by eunuch
s mistreated by the Hongwu and Jianwen Emperors, who both favored the Confucian scholar-bureaucrat
[Crawford, Robert B.]
Eunuch Power in the Ming Dynasty
. ''T'oung Pao'', 2d Series, Vol. 49, Livr. 3 (1961), pp. 115–148. Accessed 9 Oct 2012.
Zhu Di survived the initial attacks on his princedom and drove south to launch the Jingnan Campaign
against the Jianwen Emperor in Nanjing
. In 1402, he successfully overthrew his nephew and occupied the imperial capital, Nanjing
, after which he was proclaimed Emperor and adopted the era name
Yongle, which means "perpetual happiness".
Eager to establish his own legitimacy, Zhu Di voided the Jianwen Emperor's reign and established a wide-ranging effort to destroy or falsify records concerning his childhood and rebellion.
This included a massive purge of the Confucian scholars in Nanjing
and grants of extraordinary extralegal authority to the eunuch secret police.
One favorite was Zheng He
, who employed his authority to launch major voyages of exploration
into the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The difficulties in Nanjing also led the Yongle Emperor to re-establish Beiping (present-day Beijing
) as the new imperial capital. He repaired and reopened the Grand Canal
and, between 1406 and 1420, directed the construction of the Forbidden City
. He was also responsible for the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
, considered one of the wonders of the world before its destruction by the Taiping rebels
in 1856. As part of his continuing attempt to control the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats, the Yongle Emperor also greatly expanded the imperial examination system
in place of his father's use of personal recommendation and appointment. These scholars completed the monumental ''Yongle Encyclopedia
'' during his reign.
The Yongle Emperor died while personally leading a military campaign against the Mongols. He was buried in the Changling Tomb
, the central and largest mausoleum of the Ming tombs
located north of Beijing.
The Yongle Emperor was born Zhu Di () on 2 May 1360, the fourth son of the new leader of the central Red Turbans
, Zhu Yuanzhang
. Zhu Yuanzhang would later rise to become the Hongwu Emperor
, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty. According to surviving Ming historical records, Zhu Di's mother was the Hongwu Emperor's primary consort, Empress Ma
, the view Zhu Di himself maintained. Some contemporaries maintained, however, that Zhu Di's mother was one of his father's concubines, who might be of Korean origin,
and that the official records were changed during his reign to list him as a son of the Empress Ma in order to sanction his succession on the "death" of the Jianwen Emperor
The Mongols circulated a legend found in Altan Tobchi
that the Yongle Emperor was the son of a Mongol empress who was pregnant with a Mongol child and captured after the Ming took over Beijing, and that she prayed that her pregnancy would be extended miraculously so the Hongwu Emperor would not suspect the child wasn't his, and that her pregnancy was extended by a miracle to 13 months instead of 9 months. This legend is disproven by the fact that it was only in 1368 when Beijing was captured and entered by the Hongwu Emperor's army while 2 May 1360 was the birthdate of the Yongle Emperor (Zhu Di) which was much earlier than the capture of Beijing.
The Ming circulated a similar story regarding Yuan Emperor Huizong's paternity with Chinese Emperor Gong of Song
. According to the Ming story Emperor Gong of Song had an affair with Yuan Empress Mailaiti
, a descendant of Arslan Khan
of the Karluks
, a wife of Yuan Emperor Mingzong
. Zhao Xian allegedly fathered Yuan Emperor Huizong
Zhu Di grew up as a prince in a loving, caring environment. His father supplied nothing but the best education and, trusting them alone, reestablished the old feudal principalities for his many sons. Zhu Di was created Prince of Yan
, a location important for being both the former capital of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty
and the frontline of battle against Northern Yuan dynasty
, a successor state to the Yuan dynasty. When Zhu Di moved to Beiping
, the former Khanbaliq
of Yuan, he found a city that had been devastated by famine and disease, but he worked with his father's general Xu Da
who was also his own father-in-law to continue the pacification of the region. The official Ming histories portray a Zhu Di who impressed his father with his energy, daring, and leadership amid numerous successes; nonetheless, the Ming dynasty suffered numerous reverses during his tenure and the great victory at Buir Lake
was won not by Zhu Di but by his brother's partisan Lan Yu
. Similarly, when the Hongwu Emperor sent large forces to the north, they were not placed under Zhu Di's command.
Rise to power
The Hongwu Emperor
was long-lived and survived his first heir, Zhu Biao
, the Crown Prince. He worried about his succession and issued a series of dynastic instructions for his family, the ''Huang Ming Zu Xun
''. These instructions made it clear that the rule would pass only to children from the Emperor's primary consort, excluding the Prince of Yan in favour of Zhu Yunwen, Zhu Biao's son.
When the Hongwu Emperor died on 24 June 1398, Zhu Yunwen succeeded his grandfather as the Jianwen Emperor
. In direct violation of the dynastic instructions, the Prince of Yan attempted to mourn his father in Nanjing, bringing a large armed guard with him. The imperial army was able to block him at Huai'an
and, given that three of his sons were serving as hostages in the capital, the prince withdrew in disgrace.
The Jianwen Emperor's harsh campaign against his weaker uncles (dubbed , lit.
"Weakening the Marcher Lords") made accommodation much more difficult, however: Zhu Di's full brother, Zhu Su
(), was arrested and exiled to Yunnan; the Prince of Dai Zhu Gui
() was reduced to a commoner; the Prince of Xiang Zhu Bai
() committed suicide under duress; the Princes of Qi and Min, Zhu Fu
() and Zhu Pian () respectively, were demoted all within the later half of 1398 and the first half of 1399. Faced with certain hostility, Zhu Di pretended to fall ill and then "went mad" for a number of months before achieving his aim of freeing his sons from captivity to visit him in the north in June 1399. On 5 August, Zhu Di declared that the Jianwen Emperor had fallen victim to "evil counselors" () and that the Hongwu Emperor's dynastic instructions obliged him to rise in arms to remove them, a conflict known as the Jingnan Campaign
In the first year, Zhu Di survived the initial assaults by superior forces under Geng Bingwen
() and Li Jinglong
() thanks to superior tactics and capable Mongol auxiliaries. He also issued numerous justifications for his rebellion, including questionable claims to have been the son of Empress Ma and bold-faced lies that his father had attempted to name him as the rightful heir, only to be thwarted by bureaucrats scheming to empower Zhu Biao's son. Whether because of this propaganda or for personal motives, Zhu Di began to receive a steady stream of turncoat eunuchs and generals who provided him with invaluable intelligence allowing a hit-and-run campaign against the imperial supply depots along the Grand Canal
. By 1402, he knew enough to be able to avoid the main hosts of the imperial army while sacking Xuzhou
, and Yangzhou
. The betrayal of Chen Xuan
gave him the imperial army's Yangtze River fleet; the betrayal of Li Jinglong and the prince's half-brother Zhu Hui
() opened the gates of Nanjing on 13 July. Amid the disorder, the imperial palace quickly caught fire: Zhu Di enabled his own succession by claiming three bodies charred beyond recognition as the Jianwen emperor, his consort, and their son but rumours circulated for decades that the Jianwen Emperor had escaped in disguise as a Buddhist monk.
Having captured the capital, Zhu Di now left aside his former arguments about rescuing his nephew from evil counsel and voided the Jianwen Emperor's entire reign, taking 1402 as the 35th year of the Hongwu era.
His own brother Zhu Biao, whom the Jianwen Emperor had posthumously elevated to emperor, was now posthumously demoted; Zhu Biao's surviving two sons were demoted to commoners and placed under house arrest; and the Jianwen Emperor's surviving younger son was imprisoned and hidden for the next 55 years. After a brief show of humility where he repeatedly refused offers to take the throne, Zhu Di accepted and proclaimed that the next year would be the first year of the Yongle era. On 17 July 1402, after a brief visit to his father's tomb, Zhu Di was crowned emperor of the Ming Empire at the age of 42. He would spend most of his early years suppressing rumours and outlaws.
Becoming the emperor
With many scholar-bureaucrat
s in Nanjing refusing to recognise the legitimacy of his claim to the throne, the Yongle Emperor began a thorough purge of them and their families, including women and children. Other supporters of the Jianwen Emperor's regime were extirpated throughout the country, while a reign of terror was seen due to eunuchs settling scores with the two prior administrations.
Chinese law had long allowed for the execution of families
along with principals: The ''Classic of History
'' records insubordinate officers being threatened with it as far back as the Shang dynasty
. The Hongwu Emperor
had fully restored the practice, punishing rebels and traitors with death by a thousand cuts
as well as the death of their grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, siblings by birth or by bond
, children, nephews and nieces, grandchildren, and all cohabitants of whatever family, although children were sometimes spared and women were sometimes permitted to choose slavery instead. Four of the purged scholars became known as the Four Martyrs
, the most famous of whom was Fang Xiaoru
, the former tutor to the Jianwen Emperor: threatened with execution of all nine degrees of his kinship, he fatuously replied "Never mind nine! Go with ten!" and alone in Chinese history he was sentenced to execution of 10 degrees of kinship: along with his entire family, every former student or peer of Fang Xiaoru that the Yongle Emperor's agents could find was also killed. It was said that as he died, cut in half at the waist, Fang used his own blood to write the character ("usurper") on the floor and that 872 other people were executed in the ordeal.
The Yongle Emperor followed traditional rituals closely and held many popular beliefs. He did not overindulge in the luxuries of palace life, but still used Buddhism
and Buddhist festivals to help calm civil unrest. He stopped the warring between the various Chinese tribes and reorganised the provinces to best provide peace within the Ming Empire. The Yongle Emperor was said to be an "ardent Buddhist" by Ernst Faber.
Due to the stress and overwhelming amount of thinking involved in running a post-rebellion empire, the Yongle Emperor searched for scholars to serve in his government. He had many of the best scholars chosen as candidates and took great care in choosing them, even creating terms by which he hired people. He was also concerned about the degeneration of Buddhism in China.
Relations with Tibet
Tibetan Buddhism was patronised by Yongle.
In 1403, the Yongle Emperor sent messages, gifts, and envoys to Tibet
inviting Deshin Shekpa
, the fifth Gyalwa Karmapa
of the Kagyu
school of Tibetan Buddhism
, to visit the imperial capital – apparently after having a vision of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
. After a long journey, Deshin Shekpa arrived in Nanjing
on 10 April 1407 riding on an elephant towards the imperial palace, where tens of thousands of monks greeted him.
Deshin Shekpa convinced the Yongle Emperor that there were different religions for different people, which does not mean that one is better than the others. The Karmapa was very well received during his visit and a number of miraculous occurrences were reported. He also performed ceremonies for the imperial family. The emperor presented him with 700 measures of silver objects and bestowed the title of 'Precious Religious King, Great Loving One of the West, Mighty Buddha of Peace'. A khatvanga in the British Museum was one of the objects given to the Karmapa by the Yongle Emperor.
Aside from the religious matter, the Yongle Emperor wished to establish an alliance with the Karmapa similar to the one the 13th- and 14th-century Yuan
khans had established with the Sakyapa
. He apparently offered to send armies to unify Tibet under the Karmapa but Deshin Shekpa demurred, as parts of Tibet were still firmly controlled by partisans of the former Yuan dynasty.
Deshin Shekpa left Nanjing on 17 May 1408. In 1410, he returned to Tsurphu
where he had his monastery rebuilt following severe damage from an earthquake.
Selecting an heir
When it was time for him to choose an heir, the Yongle Emperor wanted to choose his second son, Zhu Gaoxu
. Zhu Gaoxu had an athletic-warrior personality which contrasted sharply with his elder brother's intellectual and humanitarian nature. Despite much counsel from his advisers, the Yongle Emperor chose his older son, Zhu Gaozhi (the future Hongxi Emperor
), as his heir apparent mainly due to advice from Xie Jin
. As a result, Zhu Gaoxu became infuriated and refused to give up jockeying for his father's favour and refusing to move to Yunnan Province
, where his princedom was located. He even went so far as to undermine Xie Jin's counsel and eventually killed him.
National economy and construction projects
After the Yongle Emperor's overthrow of the Jianwen Emperor
, China's countryside was devastated. The fragile new economy had to deal with low production and depopulation. The Yongle Emperor laid out a long and extensive plan to strengthen and stabilise the new economy, but first he had to silence dissension. He created an elaborate system of censors to remove corrupt officials from office that spread such rumors. The emperor dispatched some of his most trusted officers to reveal or destroy secret societies, bandits, and loyalists to his other relatives. To strengthen the economy, he fought population decline, using the most he could from the existing labour force, and maximising textile and agricultural production.
The Yongle Emperor also worked to reclaim production rich regions such as the Lower Yangtze Delta
and called for a massive reconstruction of the Grand Canal
. During his reign, the Grand Canal was almost completely rebuilt and was eventually moving imported goods from all over the world. The Yongle Emperor's short-term goal was to revitalise northern urban centres, especially his new capital at Beijing
. Before the Grand Canal was rebuilt, grain was transferred to Beijing in two ways; one route was simply via the East China Sea
, from the port of Liujiagang
); the other was a far more laborious process of transferring the grain from large to small shallow barges (after passing the Huai River
and having to cross southwestern Shandong
), then transferred back to large river barges on the Yellow River
before finally reaching Beijing.
With the necessary tribute grain shipments of four million ''shi'' (one ''shi'' equal to 107 liter
s) to the north each year, both processes became incredibly inefficient.
It was a magistrate of Jining, Shandong
who sent a memorandum to the Yongle Emperor protesting the current method of grain shipment, a request that the emperor ultimately granted.
The Yongle Emperor ambitiously planned to move his capital to Beijing. According to a popular legend, the capital was moved when the emperor's advisers brought the emperor to the hills surrounding Nanjing and pointed out the emperor's palace showing the vulnerability of the palace to artillery attack.
The emperor planned to build a massive network of structures in Beijing in which government offices, officials, and the imperial family resided. After a painfully long construction time (1407–1420), the Forbidden City
was finally completed and became the imperial capital for the next 500 years.
The Yongle Emperor finalised the architectural ensemble of his father's Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum
in Nanjing by erecting a monumental "Square Pavilion" (Sifangcheng) with an eight-metre-tall tortoise-borne
stele, extolling the merits and virtues of the Hongwu Emperor. In fact, the Yongle Emperor's original idea for the memorial was to erect an unprecedented stele 73 metres tall. However, due to the impossibility of moving or erecting the giant parts of that monuments, they have been left unfinished in Yangshan Quarry
, where they remain to this day.
Even though the Hongwu Emperor may have meant for his descendants to be buried near his own Xiaoling Mausoleum (this was how the Hongwu Emperor's heir apparent, Zhu Biao
was buried), the Yongle Emperor's relocation of the capital to Beijing necessitated the creation of a new imperial burial ground. On the advice of fengshui
experts, the Yongle Emperor chose a site north of Beijing, where he and his successors were to be buried. Over the next two centuries, thirteen emperors in total were laid to rest in the Ming Tombs
Religion and philosophy
The Yongle Emperor was a Chinese traditionalist. He promoted Confucianism
, retained traditional ritual ceremonies, and respected the classical culture. Although he did not personally favour Taoism
, his policy of tolerance was popular and helped maintain unity. The Yongle Emperor sought to eradicate Mongol culture from China; the use of popular Mongol names
, habits, language, and clothing were forbidden.
The Yongle Emperor sponsored a mosque each in Nanjing
; both survive. Repairs to mosques were encouraged and conversion to other uses was forbidden.
He commissioned Grand Secretary Xie Jin
to write the ''Yongle Encyclopedia
'', a compilation of Chinese civilization. It was completed in 1408
[ ''Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.'']
and was the world's largest general encyclopedia until being surpassed by Wikipedia
in late 2007.
Wars against the Mongols
Mongol invaders were still causing many problems for the Ming Empire. The Yongle Emperor prepared to eliminate this threat. He mounted five military expeditions into the Mongol steppes
and crushed the remnants of the Yuan dynasty
that had fled north after being defeated by the Hongwu Emperor. He repaired the northern defences and forged buffer alliances to keep the Mongols at bay in order to build an army. His strategy was to force the Mongols into economic dependence on the Chinese and to launch periodic initiatives into Mongolia to cripple their offensive power. He attempted to compel Mongolia to become a Chinese tributary, with all the tribes submitting and proclaiming themselves vassals of the Ming Empire, and wanted to contain and isolate the Mongols. Through fighting, the Yongle Emperor learned to appreciate the importance of cavalry in battle and eventually began spending much of his resources to keep horses in good supply. The emperor spent his entire life fighting the Mongols. Failures and successes came and went, but after the emperor's second personal campaign against the Mongols, the Ming Empire was at peace for over seven years.
was cited by Yongle as his model for being familiar with both China and the steppe people.
The "Heavenly Qaghan" Tang Emperor Taizong was imitated by Yongle as was the Tang's multi-ethnic nature.
Conquest of Vietnam
was a significant source of difficulties during the Yongle Emperor's reign. In 1406, the emperor responded to several formal petitions from members of the Trần dynasty
, however on arrival to Vietnam, both the Trần prince and the accompanying Chinese ambassador were ambushed and killed. In response to this insult, the Yongle Emperor sent two armies led by Zhang Fu
and Mu Sheng to conquer Vietnam
. As the Trần royal family were all executed,
[Maspero, G., 2002, The Champa Kingdom, Bangkok: White Lotus Co., Ltd., ]
Vietnam was integrated as a province of China, just as it had been up until 939. With the Ho monarch defeated in 1407, the Chinese began a serious and sustained effort to sinicise
the population. Various ancient sites such as pagoda Bao Minh were looted and destroyed. On 2 December 1407, the Yongle Emperor gave orders to Zhang Fu that innocent Vietnamese were not to be harmed, ordering family members of rebels to be spared such as young males if they themselves were not involved in rebellion. In early 1418, Lê Lợi
, who founded the Lê dynasty
, started a major rebellion against Ming rule. By the time the Yongle Emperor died in 1424, the Vietnamese rebels under Lê Lợi's leadership had captured nearly the entire province. By 1427, the Xuande Emperor
gave up the effort started by his grandfather and formally acknowledged Vietnam's independence on condition they accept vassal status.
Diplomatic missions and exploration of the world
As part of his desire to expand Chinese influence throughout the known world, the Yongle Emperor sponsored the massive and long term treasure voyages
led by admiral Zheng He
. While Chinese ships continued travelling to Japan, Ryukyu
, and many locations in Southeast Asia before and after the Yongle Emperor's reign, Zheng He's expeditions were China's only major sea-going explorations of the world (although the Chinese may have been sailing to Arabia
, East Africa
, and Egypt
since the Tang dynasty
or earlier). The first expedition was launched in 1405 (18 years before Henry the Navigator
began Portugal's voyages of discovery
). The expeditions were under the command of Zheng He and his associates (Wang Jinghong
, Hong Bao
, etc.). Seven expeditions were launched between 1405 and 1433, reaching major trade centres of Asia (as far as Tenavarai
) and northeastern Africa (Malindi
). Some of the ships
used were apparently the largest sail-powered wooden ships in human history.
The Chinese expeditions were a remarkable technical and logistical achievement. The Yongle Emperor's successors, the Hongxi
Emperors, felt that the costly expeditions were harmful to the Ming Empire. The Hongxi Emperor ended further expeditions and the descendants of the Xuande Emperor suppressed much of the information about Zheng He's treasure voyages.
On 30 January 1406, the Yongle Emperor expressed horror when the Ryukyuans
castrated some of their own children to become eunuchs to serve in the Ming imperial palace. The emperor said that the boys who were castrated were innocent and did not deserve castration, and he returned the boys to Ryukyu and instructed them not to send eunuchs again.
In 1411, a smaller fleet, built in Jilin
and commanded by another eunuch Yishiha
, who was a Jurchen
, sailed down the Sungari
and Amur River
s. The expedition established a Nurgan Regional Military Commission
in the region, headquartered at the place the Chinese called Telin (特林; now the village of Tyr, Russia
). The local Nivkh
or Tungusic chiefs were granted ranks in the imperial administration. Yishiha's expeditions returned to the lower Amur several more times during the reigns of the Yongle and Xuande
Emperors, the last one visiting the region in the 1430s.
[L. Carrington Godrich, Chaoying Fang (editors), "Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368–1644". Volume I (A-L). Columbia University Press, 1976. . (Article on ''Ishiha'', pp. 685–686)] [Tsai (2002), pp. 158–159.]
After the death of Timur
, who intended to invade China, relations between the Ming Empire and Shakhrukh
's state in Persia and Transoxania state considerably improved, and the states exchanged large official delegations on a number of occasions. Both the Ming Empire's envoy to Samarkand
, Chen Cheng
, and his counterpart, Ghiyasu'd-Din Naqqah
, recorded detailed accounts of their visits to each other's states.
One of the Yongle Emperor's consorts was a Jurchen
princess, which resulted in many of the eunuchs serving him being of Jurchen origin, notably Yishiha
The Yongle Emperor instituted a Ming governor on Luzon during Zheng He
and appointed Ko-ch'a-lao (許柴佬; Xu Chailao) to that position in 1405. China also had vassals among the leaders in the archipelago. China attained ascendancy in trade with the area in the Yongle Emperor's reign. The local rulers on Luzon were "confirmed" by the governor or "high officer" appointed by the Yongle Emperor.
States in Luzon, Sulu (under King Paduka Pahala
Sumatra, and Brunei all established diplomatic relations with the Ming Empire and exchanged envoys and sent tribute to the Yongle Emperor.
The Yongle Emperor exchanged ambassadors with Shahrukh Mirza
, sending Chen Cheng
to Samarkand and Herat, and Shahrukh sent Ghiyāth al-dīn Naqqāsh
On 1 April 1424, the Yongle Emperor launched a large campaign into the Gobi Desert
to chase an army of fleeing Oirats
. Frustrated at his inability to catch up with his swift opponents, Yongle fell into a deep depression and then into illness, possibly owing to a series of minor strokes. On 12 August 1424, the Yongle Emperor died. He was entombed in Changling (), a location northwest of Beijing.
The Yongle Emperor is generally regarded to have had a lifelong pursuit of glory, power, and wealth. He respected and worked hard to preserve Chinese culture
by designing monuments such as the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
, while undermining and expelling from Chinese society people from foreign cultures. He deeply admired and wished to save his father's accomplishments and spent a lot of time proving his claim to the throne. His reign was a mixed blessing for the Chinese populace. The Yongle Emperor's economic, educational, and military reforms provided unprecedented benefits for the people, but his despotic
style of government set up a spy agency. Despite these negatives, he is considered an architect and keeper of Chinese culture, history, and statecraft and an influential ruler in Chinese history.
He is remembered very much for his cruelty, just like his father. He killed most of the Jianwen Emperor's palace servants, tortured many of his nephew's loyalists to death, killed or by other means badly treated their relatives. He ordered 2,800 concubines, servant girls and eunuchs who guarded them put to death as the Yongle Emperor tried to suppress a sex scandal which threatened to humiliate him.
His successor freed most of the survivors.
Consorts and Issue:
* Empress Renxiaowen
, of the Xu clan (; 1362–1407), personal name Yihua ()
** Princess Yong'an (; 1377–1417), personal name Yuying (), first daughter
*** Married Yuan Rong, Marquis Guangping () in 1395, and had issue (one son, three daughters)
** Zhu Gaochi, the Hongxi Emperor
(; 16 August 1378 – 29 May 1425), first son
** Princess Yongping (; 1379 – 22 April 1444), second daughter
*** Married Li Rang, Marquis Fuyang () in 1395, and had issue (one son)
** Zhu Gaoxu
, Prince of Han
(; 30 December 1380 – 6 October 1426), second son
** Zhu Gaosui, Prince Jian of Zhao
(; 19 January 1383 – 5 October 1431), third son
** Princess Ancheng (; 1384 – 16 September 1443), third daughter
*** Married Song Hu, Marquis Xining () in 1402, and had issue (one son)
** Princess Xianning (; 1385 – 27 July 1440), fourth daughter
*** Married Song Ying, Marquis Xining (; d. 1449) in 1403, and had issue (one son)
* Noble Consort Zhaoyi
, of the Zhang clan ()
* Noble Consort Zhaoxian
, of the Wang clan (; d. 1420)
* Consort Kangmuhui, of the Wu clan ()
** ''Zhu Gaoxi'' (; 18 January 1392 – January/February 1392), fourth son
* Consort Gongxianxian, of the Kwon clan of Andong (; 1391–1410)
* Consort Kangjinghui, of the Choi clan (; 1395–1424)
* Consort Kanghuili
, of the Han clan of Cheongju
(; d. 12 August 1424)
* Consort Zhaoshunde, of the Liu clan ()
* Consort Kangyishun, of the Li clan ()
* Consort Huimushun, of the Guo clan ()
* Consort Zhenjingshun, of the Zhang clan ()
* Consort Zhongjingxian
, of the Yu clan (; d. 1421)
* Consort Gongshunli, of the Chen clan ()
* Consort Duanjingshu, of the Yang clan ()
* Consort Gonghexian, of the Wang clan ()
* Consort Zhaosuxian, of the Wang clan ()
* Consort Zhaohuishun, of the Wang clan ()
* Consort Huimushun, of the Qian clan ()
* Consort Anshunhui, of the Long clan ()
** Princess Changning (; 1387 – 5 April 1408), fifth daughter
*** Married Mu Xin (; 1386–1453), the fourth son of Mu Ying
, on 20 June 1403, and had issue (one son)
* Chinese emperors family tree (late)
* Yongle Tongbao
. (1998). ''The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China
''. Berkeley: University of California Press.
*Brown, Mick. (2004). ''The Dance of 17 Lives: The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa'', p. 34. Bloomsbury Publishing, New York and London. .
*Sperling, Elliot. "The 5th Karma-pa and some aspects of the relationship between Tibet and the early Ming
." In: ''Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson
''. Edited by Michael Aris
and Aung San Suu Kyi
, pp. 283–284. (1979). Vikas Publishing house, New Delhi.
* Tsai, Shih-Shan Henry
, ''Perpetual Happiness: The Ming Emperor Yongle'', University of Washington Press, 2002. Partial text
on Google Books.
* Louise Levathes
, ''When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405–1433'', Oxford University Press, 1997, trade paperback,
in the ''Veritable Records of the Ming
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