On the Southern Tang Imperial Genealogy

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Johannes L. Kurz



The present essay deals with the fabrication of the imperial genealogy of the Southern Tang state (937–976). A means of linking the Southern Tang founder Li Bian (r. 937–943) to the Tang, it helped establish Southern Tang claims to the Tang heritage. Though no original fabricated genealogy survives, variant forms have been handed down through a number of texts starting in the early Northern Song period. These are discussed in terms of their plausibility, marking the Jiang- nan lu (979) by Xu Xuan (916–991) as the officially accepted description and the Zizhi tongjian (1184) version as the most “believable” of all fake Southern Tang genealogies.

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