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Emperor Zhenzong (December 23, 968 - March 23, 1022) was the third emperor of the Song Dynasty of China. He reigned from 997 to 1022. Zhenzong was the third son of Emperor Taizong. His personal name was Zhao Heng and his temple name Zhenzong means "True Ancestor".

Zhenzong's reign was noted for the consolidation of power and the strengthening of the dynasty. The country prospered, and its military might was further reinforced. However, it would also mark the beginning of a foreign policy towards the Khitan Empire (Liao Dynasty) in the north that would ultimately result in humiliation. In 1004, the Khitan waged war against the Song empire. Zhenzong, leading his army, struck back at the Khitan. Despite initial successes, in 1005 Zhenzong concluded the Shanyuan Treaty. The treaty resulted in over a century of peace, but at the price of the Song dynasty agreeing to an inferior position to the Khitan, and also agreeing to pay an annual tribute of 100,000 ounces of silver and over 200,000 bolts of silk. The admission of inferiority would come to plague the foreign affairs of the Song dynasty, while the payments slowly depleted the empire's coffers.

Zhenzong founded the world's most celebrated ceramic kiln at Jingdezhen in 1004, which continued to produce porcelain for China's imperial use until the fall of the Qing Dynasty 900 years later. He was also responsible for ordering the shipment of 30,000 bushels of quick-maturing rice seed from the Fujian Province to the lower Yangtze basin in 1011-1012, improving agriculture.

Zhenzong stressed the importance of Daoism at Court. It was during his reign that the so-called Heavenly Texts, which glorified the Zhao family, were allegedly discovered. This was followed up by Imperial sacrifices carried out at Mount Tai. From 1013-1015 he issued official decrees deifying the Jade Emperor as the highest ruler of Heaven.[1]

See also[]


  1. Jonathan D. Spence. God's Chinese Son. New York 1996. p.42
Emperor Zhenzong of Song
House of Zhao (960-1279)
Born: 997 Died: 1022
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Taizong of Song
Emperor of the Song Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Renzong of Song
Emperor of China


de:Song Zhenzong es:Zhenzong ja:真宗 (宋) zh:宋真宗