Yu Qian

For the 20th-century Hong Kong actress, see Angela Yu Chien. For the Chinese field hockey player, see Yu Qian (field hockey).
Yu Qian

Portrait of Yu Qian
Official of the Ming dynasty
Born 1398
Died 1457 (aged 5859)
Traditional Chinese 于謙
Simplified Chinese 于谦
Pinyin Yú Qiān
Wade–Giles Yü Ch'ien
Courtesy name Tingyi (Chinese: 廷益; pinyin: Tíngyì; Wade–Giles: T'ing-i)
Posthumous name Zhongsu (simplified Chinese: 忠肃; traditional Chinese: 忠肅; pinyin: Zhōngsù; Wade–Giles: Chung-su)
Other names Jie'an (simplified Chinese: 节庵; traditional Chinese: 節庵; pinyin: Jié-ān; Wade–Giles: Chieh-an) (art name)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Yu.

Yu Qian (1398–1457), courtesy name Tingyi, art name Jie'an, was a Chinese official who served under the Ming dynasty.


Yu Qian was born in Qiantang County, Hangzhou, Zhejiang. He started his career in the Ming civil service after obtaining the position of a jinshi (進士; successful candidate) in the imperial examination in 1421. He helped to suppress a rebellion by the prince Zhu Gaoxu in 1426 and earned the favour of the Xuande Emperor (r. 1425–1435), who appointed him as the Grand Coordinator of Shanxi and Henan. During the reign of the Zhengtong Emperor (r. 1435–1449), he offended the influential court eunuch Wang Zhen and ended up being imprisoned. However, he was released later, reinstated as an official, and further promoted to serve as the Minister of War.

In 1449, Yu Qian played an important role in leading the defence of the Ming capital, Beijing, from attacks by the Oirat Mongols, who had earlier captured the Zhengtong Emperor at the Battle of Tumu. The Jingtai Emperor (r. 1449–1457), who succeeded the Zhengtong Emperor, appointed Yu Qian as the Crown Prince's Guardian and Tutor. In 1457, the former Zhengtong Emperor, who had returned after he was released by the Mongols, seized power from the Jingtai Emperor in a coup and restored himself to the throne as the Tianshun Emperor (r. 1457-1464). Yu Qian was falsely accused of treason and executed. He was later posthumously rehabilitated by the Chenghua Emperor (r. 1464-1487) and given the posthumous name Zhongsu (lit. "loyal and stern") by the Wanli Emperor (r. 1572–1620). There are memorial halls and shrines built in Beijing and Hangzhou to commemorate and honour Yu Qian.


Yu Qian Temple, Hangzhou
Entrance to the Yu Qian Temple in Beijing.

See also


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