Image :  Harmony and Integrity :  The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times 國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum (New window)
Image : photo
Selection: Introduction
Selection: The Life and Times of the Yongzheng Emperor
Selection: Yinzhen, the Person
Selection: Relations with His Father, the Emperor
Selection: Relations with His Son, Hongli
Selection: Relations with His Officials
Selection: Administering the Empire
Selection: Life at Court
Selection: Religious Beliefs
Selection: From the Throne to His Death
Selection: Art and Culture in the Yongzheng Era
Selection: Home
Site Map 正體中文 日本語
Title: The Life and Times of the Yongzheng Emperor
The Yongzheng Emperor (temple name: Shizong) can be considered one of the most controversial rulers in Qing dynasty history. Rumors surrounded him from his ascent to the throne to the day he died. Anecdotal histories among the people and official historical archives are also polarized in their opinion about him, forming diametrically opposed views. The Yongzheng Emperor in popular stories, for example, is portrayed as a paranoid ruler ruthless in his methods, harsh and uncaring, given to drink and women, crafty in his political maneuvering, extremely temperamental, and sinister and scheming. Emperor Shizong of the official histories, however, is praised as a brilliant monarch who was firm and resolute as a person, diligent in administration, courageous in instituting reforms, fair in deciding rewards and punishment, particular in terms of reality, lofty in taste, and faithful in inheriting from the past and laying a solid foundation for the future.

So exactly what kind of emperor was he? It seems that popular and official accounts both touch on some aspect of the truth. To get to know more about him, this section on "The Life and Times of the Yongzheng Emperor " is divided into the eight categories of "Yinzhen, the Person, " "Relations with His Father, the Emperor, " "Relations with His Son, Hongli, " "Relations with His Officials, " "Administering the Empire, " "Life at Court, " "Religious Beliefs, " and "From the Throne to His Death. " Precious artifacts including books, archives, painting, calligraphy, and antiquities present a comprehensive overview to help explain the person, events, politics, and lofty taste at Yongzheng's court. These objects tell a detailed story about Yongzheng, clarifying his image in history and stories so that audiences can have a more objective view and informed opinion.
Yongzheng was a great, legendary monarch who left behind a prodigious number of vermilion rescripts numbering in the tens of thousands of characters. This unprecedented imperial enterprise has earned him the reputation as one of the most diligent emperors in Chinese history. Yet some of the works he inspired, such as "Yongzheng's Amusements, " are still perplexing, leading to speculation about his notions of reality and fantasy. In terms of court art, Yongzheng personally supervised the production of objects with his reign mark, both fascinating for their quality and variety while revealing his lofty taste. Thus, as more materials have come to light, the Yongzheng Emperor's reputation has slowly risen to the point where his mark on history is so indelible that even today people continue to talk about him.