Li Cunxu -- An Excellent Warlord and A Passionate Actor in the History of China

Tragedies that Happened to Li Cunxu's Emperor and Father

The forefathers of Li Cunxu (885 -- 926) were contributive to the Tang Dynasty, so they were awarded the family name Li, the same as the royal family’s clan.


Li Cunxu’s father was one of the most powerful warlords at the end of the Tang Dynasty, who were still loyal to Tang and considered destructor Zhu Wen as the biggest enemy.


Cunxu started to fight on the battlefield when he was only 11 years old and was always brave, so he was highly appreciated by the current emperor Li Ye of the Tang Dynasty


After Zhu Wen assassinated Tang’s emperors and the whole royal clans, he claimed himself king and kept expanding.

This was the chaotic era, the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms.


Li Cunxu’s father was very angry and didn’t admit Zhu Wen as the new monarch. They had a series of wars but no one could gain complete success.


His father soon passed away because of sickness, when Li Cunxu inherited the troop and lands.


Besides his father’s noble title and army, Li Cunxu also remembered his father’s last words, to revenge for the Empire Tang and perish the traitor Zhu Wen. 


Perishing of Enemy and Successful Vengeance of Li Cunxu

Li Cunxu was quite a good militarist, and even a better general than his father, just as his former emperor Li Ye had been predicted.


In the beginning, some experienced and contributive generals in Cunxu’s father’s army were unsatisfied with him being the new lord and the marshal, so they planned to murder Cunxu and then comply to Zhu Wen.


As a 23-year-old lord who already had over a decade’s military experience, Cunxu calmly ambushed and killed those antagonistic generals, and took absolute control of his father’s army and land. 


Soon Zhu Wen led his army trying to invade this young lord; however, Cunxu successfully defended his lands and defeated Zhu’s army, which brought himself some relatively peaceful years to develop agriculture and economy of his kingdom. 


Then Li Cunxu kept winning and expanding his realm and made warlords who were still loyal to Empire Tang joined him.


Years later, he defeated Zhu Wen again in a large scale war, which made Zhu feel ashamed and humiliated. 


Zhu realized that Cunxu was far better than any of his sons, and his kingdom might be perished by this young man.


Soon, Zhu Wen was murdered by his son, while Li Cunxu kept expanding his territory.


As a general, Cunxu was quite intelligent and brave, who always charged forward in the battlefront and sometimes even made himself in a very dangerous situation.

Reestablishment of the Empire Tang

Sixteen years after Zhu Wen assassinated the last emperor of the Tang Dynasty, Li Cunxu claimed himself emperor and named his kingdom as Tang again.


The same year, Emperor Li Cunxu, also respected as Tang Zhuang Zong, led his army to finally perished the kingdom that Zhu Wen established. 


Finally, this ambitious young man had successfully defeated his powerful enemies and revenged his father and his late emperors.


However, after Li Cunxu finished vengeance and established his kingdom, he was not a good emperor that could manage and develop his empire very well.


His queen almost shared the same amount of power as he; he also selected officers based on their family names instead of ability, which was a big backslide in the history of China. 


A Professional Actor and A Failed Emperor 

Most importantly, Li Cunxu was a passionate fan of drama.


As an emperor, he did not only enjoy watching dramas, he also would dress up and participate in the performance himself.


Moreover, he even took a stage name, made friends with lots of actors, and had them obtained lots of power.


To be honest, he was a very good and devoted actor; but when he behaved as a professional actor who spent lots of time singing and performing, his dominance was in danger. 


Years later, some uprising wars appeared in Cunxu’s realm; soon he was assassinated by one of his followers.


Then one of his actor friends burnt his body down, together with his beloved musical instruments.


His adoptive brother then ascended to the throne, while all of Cunxu’s sons were dead or scattered in the rebellion.


This excellent general and actor only left a daughter behind; her granddaughter then became queen of the founder of the next Song DynastyEmperor Zhao Kuangyin

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