Li Yixing (李彝興) (d. October 20, 967), né Li Yiyin
(李彝殷), formally the Prince of Xia (夏王), was an
Dangxiang warlord of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten
Kingdoms Period and the early Song Dynasty, ruling Dingnan Circuit
(定難, headquartered in modern Yulin, Shaanxi) from 935 to his death
in 967, as its military governor (Jiedushi) in de facto independence.
2 As military governor
2.1 During Later Jin
2.2 During Later Han
2.3 During Later Zhou/Northern Han
2.4 During Song
3 Notes and references
It is not known when Li Yiyin was born. It is known that he was a son
of Li Renfu, who ruled Dingnan Circuit as military governor from
909/910 to 933, and a brother of Li Yichao, who ruled the circuit as
military governor from 933 to 935, but it is not clear whether he was
an older brother to
Li Yichao (as asserted by the Zizhi Tongjian)
or a younger brother (as asserted by the Old History of the Five
Dynasties, the New History of the Five Dynasties, and the
History of Song). If he were an older brother, then he might have
been the Dingnan general referred to in historical records by the
nickname of "Prince Aluo" (阿囉王) in 933, when
Li Yichao resisted
Later Tang's attempt to dislodge him from Dingnan, as
Li Yichao was
said to be Li Renfu's second son. In any case, during Li Yichao's
rule, Li Yiyin served as the commander of the Dingnan army
(行軍司馬, Xingjun Sima). When
Li Yichao fell ill in 935, he
transferred his authorities to Li Yiyin, and then died. Shortly after,
Later Tang emperor
Li Congke commissioned Li Yiyin as the
military governor of Dingnan.
As military governor
During Later Jin
In 943—by which time
Later Tang had fallen and its former territory
was reigned by the Later Jin's emperor Shi Chonggui—there was a plot
for an uprising against Li Yiyin's rule, from within Dingnan itself,
led by the commander of the headquarters guards, Tuoba Chongbin
(拓拔崇斌). Also part of the plot was Li Yimin (李彝敏) the
prefect of Sui Prefecture (綏州, in modern Yulin, part of Dingnan).
(Based on Li Yimin's name and position, he was likely a younger
brother or cousin of Li Yiyin's.) When the plot was discovered, Li
Yimin and five younger brothers fled to Yan Prefecture (延州, in
modern Yan'an, Shanxi). Li Yiyin thereafter submitted a petition to
Shi, accusing Li Yimin of treason. In order to placate Li Yiyin, Shi
arrested and delivered Li Yimin to Dingnan's capital Xia Prefecture
(夏州), and Li Yimin was executed.
In 944, during a time that there were major military confrontations
between Later Jin and its northern rival, the Khitan Liao Dynasty,
which was at that time aiding Yang Guangyuan, a Later Jin general who
had rebelled at Pinglu Circuit (平盧, headquartered in modern
Weifang, Shandong), Li Yiyin submitted a report to Shi indicating that
he had taken his 40,000 men and made an incursion into Liao territory,
across the Yellow River, from his Lin Prefecture (麟州, in modern
Yulin). Shi gave him the title of the commander of southwestern forces
against the Khitan.
During Later Han
In 948—by which time Later Jin had fallen and its former territory
was reigned by Later Han's emperor Liu Chengyou—there was an
incident in which Li Yiyin mobilized his troops and claimed that he
wanted to launch an attack against the Qiang chieftain Yemu (㖡母),
stating that three years prior, Yemu had ambushed and killed Sui's
prefect Li Renyu (李仁裕) (who, based on name and position, was
likely an uncle). The nearby Qing Prefecture (慶州, in modern
Qingyang, Gansu), recommended that the Later Han imperial government
take precautions (apparently distrusting Li Yiyin's intentions). Liu
issued an edict, urging Li Yiyin to stand down, using the rationale
that the imperial astronomers had stated that the year was, as a
matter of astrology, unsuitable for military actions. That apparently
defused the tensions at that time.
Later in the year, the Later Han general
Li Shouzhen rebelled at his
Huguo Circuit (護國, headquartered in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi).
Knowing that Li Yiyin had a rivalry with Gao Yunquan (高允權) the
military governor of nearby Zhangwu Circuit (彰武, headquartered at
Li Shouzhen sent secret emissaries to encourage Li
Yiyin to attack Zhangwu. Li Yiyin mobilized his troops and sent them
to the borders with Zhangwu, but thereafter, hearing that the Later
Han imperial forces, under the command of Guo Wei, had put Huguo's
capital Hezhong Municipality (河中) under siege, he withdrew. Gao
subsequently submitted an accusation against Li Yiyin to the Later Han
imperial government, and Li Yiyin submitted a defense of himself. The
Later Han imperial government merely issued statements urging the two
circuits to be peaceful with each other. To further placate Li Yiyin,
who had developed a reputation for encouraging rebellions so that he
could benefit from them, the Later Han imperial government further
allocated Jing Prefecture (靜州, in modern Yinchuan, Ningxia) to him
in 949. After Guo captured Hezhong and
Li Shouzhen committed suicide
thereafter, Liu, at Guo's request, bestowed honors on many regional
governors, and Li Yiyin received the honorary chancellor title
Zhongshu Ling (中書令).
During Later Zhou/Northern Han
Guo Wei seized the Later Han throne (with
Liu Chengyou having
been killed earlier after provoking Guo to rebel), establishing Later
Zhou. Liu Chengyou's uncle
Liu Chong (who soon thereafter
changed his name to Liu Min), however, declared himself the emperor
and the legitimate successor to the throne of Later Han, at his Hedong
Circuit (河東, headquartered in modern Taiyuan, Shanxi)—although
his state is historically generally considered a new separate state
(Northern Han) rather than part of the history of Later Han. Li Yiyin
initially submitted to Liu Min as a vassal. However, by the time
of the middle of the Xiande era (954–963) (which was used by Guo
Wei, his adoptive son Guo Rong, and his adoptive grandson (Guo Rong's
son) Guo Zongxun), Li Yiyin had apparently submitted to
Later Zhou as
a vassal, for by that point he carried the Later Zhou-bestowed title
of acting Taifu (太傅), in addition to Zhongshu Ling, and had also
been created the Prince of Xiping by a
Later Zhou emperor. (It is
not clear whether Li Yiyin also continued to maintain a
sovereign-vassal relationship with Liu Min and his son and successor
In 960, the
Later Zhou general Zhao Kuangyin seized the throne from
the young emperor Guo Zongxun, ending
Later Zhou and starting Song
Dynasty as its Emperor Taizu. He bestowed the title of acting Taiwei
(太尉) on Li Yiyin. Shortly after, Li Yiyin changed his name to Li
Yixing, to observe naming taboo for Emperor Taizu's father Zhao
Hongyin (趙弘殷). Later in the year, there was apparently an
Northern Han to have its non-
Han Chinese tribal troops
pillage modern northern
Shaanxi region, west of the Yellow River; Li
Yixing launched sent his officer Li Yiyu (李彝玉) (probably a
brother or a cousin) to Lin Prefecture, which apparently came under
siege by the
Northern Han forces, and the
Northern Han forces
Li Yixing offered 300 horses as a tribute to Emperor Taizu.
Emperor Taizu, in return, had a jade belt made to award to Li. When he
asked Li's emissary what Li's waist size was, Li's emissary responded
that Li had a very wide waist. Emperor Taizu responded, "Your
commander is a blessed person." (Traditionally, Chinese considered
those who have large abdomens to be blessed.) It was said that Li was
touched by this gesture.
Li Yixing died in 967. Emperor Taizu posthumously created him the
greater title of Prince of Xia, and subsequently commissioned his son
Li Kerui as the new military governor of Dingnan.
Notes and references
^ a b Xu Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 5.
Academia Sinica Chinese-Western Calendar Converter.
^ a b Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 279.
^ a b c d Old History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 132.
^ New History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 40.
^ History of Song, vol. 485.
^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 278.
^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 283.
^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 284.
^ a b Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 288.
^ a b Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 290.
^ Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 289.
^ Xu Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 1.
^ Xu Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 2.
Old History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 132.
New History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 40.
History of Song, vol. 485.
Zizhi Tongjian, vols. 279, 283, 284, 288, 290.
Xu Zizhi Tongjian, vo