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Three Loyal Kings of the Song Dynasty
大宋三忠王

In 1276, the Mongol troops arrived at Linan (Hangzhou today), capital of the South Song dynasty. Faced with no alternative, the Empress Dowager of the Song court surrendered to the Mongol invaders. 

The Dowager, child emperor and most of the imperial family were captured and sent to the north. Meanwhile, tow princes, both brothers of the captured emperor, escaped south with the help of Song loyalists in an attempt to revive the dynasty.

They were pursued by the Mongol troops and were finally defeated in 1279.  

Loyalty and sacrifice

In the final resistance, 3 Song generals Wen Tian Xiang, Lu Xiu Fu and Zhang Shi Jie stood out as embodiment of loyalty and bravery. (文天祥,陆秀夫,张世杰)

Zhang Shi Jie, (张世杰), was a leader of the resistance movement. Facing the strong Mongol forces, he fought to the last men and drowned at sea. 

As the Song defence crumbled and faced with capture by the Mongols, the Song General Lu Xiu Fu (陆秀夫), made a final act of political resistance by committing suicide with Emperor Bing, the child emperor. Their deaths marked the end of the Song dynasty.

Wen Tian Xiang (文天祥), a scholar general, was captured but refused to work for the Mongols. After four years of unsuccessful persuasion, Kublai Khan executed him in Bejing on 9 January 1283. His final wish was to be executed facing south where his fallen homeland was.

Three Loyal Kings of the Song Dynasty

Although the efforts of these men ended in tragedy, their history and sacrifices continue to be commemorated especially in Southern China where the last battles were fought.

The three generals became known as the Three Loyal Kings of the Song Dynasty (大宋三忠王) and are enshrined as deities in temples dedicated to them and incorporated into the Taoist pantheon.

Some temples are dedicated specifically to one of the three kings but the history of the three is always mentioned and transmitted.

The Three Loyal Kings also manifest themselves through spirit mediums especially in Taiwan and South East Asia.

As the Chinese migrated, temples to the Three Loyal Kings were constructed and the temples became centres of social life. The various celebrations in these temples transmit the Song history to devotees and to the young.

Through this transmission, shared values of loyalty and courage are reinforced over generations and inspire the young to research and to explore their heritage and history.

Legacy

The monuments in China and Hong Kong relating to the Three Loyal Kings have become sites of pilgrimage and study for devotees from all over the world.

The Three Loyal Kings might have lost the battle but their valour and loyalty survived and out lived the Mongol rule that lasted less than a century making the Yuan dynasty one of the shortest dynasties in the history of China.

Related articles:

ying yangTaoism Main page

 

ying yangTaoist pantheon
 
History


zhao bing last song emperor
Zhao Bing, the last Emperor of Southern Song dynasty
kublai khan grandson of genghis khan
Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan's grandson
Founder of Yuan Dynasty



Spirit medium of one of the three kings

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