Li Sigong (李思恭) (d. 886?), né Tuoba Sigong
(拓拔思恭), formally the Duke of Xia (夏公), was a Tangut
warlord of the late Tang dynasty, who, for his contributions against
the rebel Huang Chao, was installed as
Dingnan Jiedushi (定難,
headquartered in modern Yulin, Shaanxi) as its military governor
(Jiedushi). The position was hereditary and passed down through his
family, eventually becoming the fully independent Tangut state of
Western Xia from the 11th to 13th centuries.
2 Campaign against Huang Chao
4 Personal Information
5 Notes and references
It is not known when Tuoba Sigong was born. His family was of Tangut
stock from the Pingxia (平夏) branch. Late in the Xiantong (咸通)
era (861–874) of Emperor Yizong, he seized control of You Prefecture
(宥州, in modern Ordos, Inner Mongolia), which had been established
by the Tang imperial government to govern the Tangut, and claimed the
title of prefect.
Campaign against Huang Chao
Around new year 881, during the reign of Emperor Xizong, the major
Huang Chao attacked and captured the Tang imperial
capital Chang'an, forcing Emperor Xizong to flee to Chengdu. Huang
established a new state of Qi as its emperor. A number of Tang
Chang'an gathered their troops to prepare to attack
Huang to recapture Chang'an. Tuoba Sigong gathered his own troops and
went to Fu Prefecture (鄜州, in modern Yan'an, Shaanxi) to
rendezvous with Li Xiaochang (李孝昌) the military governor of
Fuyan Circuit (鄜延, headquartered at Fu Prefecture). They swore an
oath to attack Huang, and subsequently advanced south toward Chang'an.
In light of Tuoba Sigong's display of loyalty, Emperor Xizong made him
the acting military governor of Xiasui Circuit (夏綏).
Subsequently, with Tang forces gathered around Chang'an, Huang
abandoned Chang'an. The forces under the Tang generals Tang Hongfu
(唐弘夫), Cheng Zongchu (程宗楚), and
Wang Chucun entered the
city, but did not notify Tuoba, Li Xiaochang, or
Zheng Tian the
military governor of Fengxiang Circuit (鳳翔, headquartered in
modern Baoji, Shaanxi). The Tang forces that entered the city became
bogged down in pillaging the city, and Qi forces counterattacked,
crushing them and recapturing Chang'an. Subsequently, Qi forces
engaged those under Tuoba and Li Xiaochang at Wangqiao (王橋, in
modern Xianyang, Shaanxi), defeating them. Tuoba and Li Xiaochang
nevertheless stayed in the area, and Huang sent his general
Zhu Wen to
defend against them. Soon thereafter, Emperor Xizong made Tuoba full
military governor and renamed his circuit Dingnan Circuit (meaning,
"those who stopped disaster"). Tuoba and Li Xiaogong then engaged Zhu
and the major Qi general Shang Rang, but could not prevail, and
withdrew. Subsequently, Tuoba was also made the acting mayor of
Jingzhao Municipality (京兆, i.e., the
Chang'an region). However,
the extent of his participation in the subsequent Tang victory over
Huang is not known—although the
Song Dynasty work the New History of
the Five Dynasties, which referred to him as Tuoba Sijing in the
biographies of the
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period military
governors of Dingnan Circuit, for reasons unclear, had the
semi-laudatory, semi-derogatory explanation that because Tuoba had
neither great accomplishments nor rebellious acts against the imperial
government, his deeds went largely unrecorded. After Huang was
destroyed, Tuoba was created the Duke of Xia, and given the imperial
surname of Li. At some point, he also apparently seized Fuyan
Circuit, an act that later was referred to by
Li Keyong the military
governor of Hedong (河東, headquartered in modern Taiyuan,
In 886, after Emperor Xizong fled to Xingyuan (興元, in modern
Hanzhong, Shaanxi) due to a major dispute between the powerful eunuch
Tian Lingzi (who controlled Emperor Xizong's court) and
Li Keyong and
Wang Chongrong the military governor of Hezhong Circuit (河中,
headquartered in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi), Tian's erstwhile ally Zhu
Mei the military governor of Jingnan Circuit (靜難, headquartered in
modern Xianyang) declared Emperor Xizong's distant relative Li Yun the
Prince of Xiang the new emperor. Emperor Xizong ordered Li Sigong
to attack Zhu. Before
Li Sigong could launch his troops, however, he
died. Emperor Xizong gave Li Sigong's younger brothers Li Sijian
Dingnan Circuit and Li Sixiao (李思孝) Baoda Circuit (保大, i.e.,
Fuyan). Li Sijian's successor
Li Yichang might have been Li
Sigong's son—the traditional sources differ as to whether he was Li
Sijian's son or Li Sigong's son.
Li Renyou (李仁祐), died early, father of Li Yichang
Li Renfu (李仁福) (died 933), Later become the military governor of
Notes and references
^ a b c d e New Book of Tang, vol. 221, part 1.
Dangxiang portion of the
New Book of Tang volume on the Xiyu
people indicated that
Li Sigong died before he could launch an army
against the pretender Li Yun, and as Li Yun claimed the Tang throne in
886 and was defeated around the new year 887, that would imply that Li
Sigong died in 886, but that is not completely clear.
^ a b Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 254.
^ a b New History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 40.
^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 258.
^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 256.
^ History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 132.
^ History of Song, vol. 485.
New Book of Tang, vol. 221, part 1.