The Chinese Artist-Emperor- Huizong
Even the Chinese rulers were painters back then. Emperor Huizong was the eighth and one of the most famous emperors of the Song Dynasty of China, with a personal life spent amidst luxury, sophistication and art but ending in tragedy.
Born Zhao Ji, he was the 11th son of Emperor Shenzong. In February 1100 his older half-brother Emperor Zhezong died without a surviving son, and Huizong succeeded him the next day as emperor. In 1126, when the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty invaded the Song dynasty during the Jin–Song Wars, Emperor Huizong abdicated and passed on his throne to his eldest son, Zhao Huan. The following year, the Song capital, Bianjing, was conquered by Jin forces. Huizong was taken captive by the Jurchens and brought back to the Jin capital, Huiningfu, where he died in captivity nine years later.
Huizong was famed for his promotion of Taoism. He was also a skilled poet, painter, calligrapher, and musician. He sponsored numerous artists at his court, and the catalogue of his imperial painting collection lists over 6,000 known paintings. The primary subjects of his paintings are birds and flowers. A true “Renaissance Man,” he also invented the “Slender Gold” style of calligraphy and wrote the “Treatise on Tea,” the most detailed and masterful description of the Song sophisticated style of tea ceremony.