Temple name

Temple names (廟號 or less commonly 庙號 Pinyin: miào hào; Korean: myoho (묘호)), are commonly used when naming most Chinese and certain Korean rulers. When compared to posthumous names, the use of temple names is more exclusive. Both titles were given after death to an emperor or king, but unlike the elaborate posthumous name, a temple name always consists of only two characterss:

  1. the first chosen to reflect the circumstances of the emperor's reign (such as "the Martial" or "the Lamentable"), and
  2. the second (since the Han Dynasty) is either (祖) or zōng (宗).
    • Zu ("forefather") implies a progenitor, either a founder of a dynasty or a new line within an existing one.
      Zu's parallel in naming Korean kingss is jo (Hangul: 조)
    • Zong ("ancestor") is used in all other rulers.
      Zong is jong (종) in Korean.

The name "temple" refers to the "grand temple" (太廟), also called "great temple" (大廟) or "ancestral temple" (祖廟), created for crown princes to do worships his ancestors. On the ancestral tablets in the grand temple, it is the ruler's temple names that are written there.

Temple names are the usual way to refer to the emperors from the Tang Dynasty up to (but not including) the Ming Dynasty. For the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty (from 1368 onward), era names were used instead.

In Korea, temple names are used to refer to kings of the early Goryeo Dynasty (until 1274), and kings and emperors of the Joseon Dynasty. For the Korean Empire (1897-1910), era names should be used, but the temple names are often used instead.

A fuller description of this naming convention is given in the Chinese sovereign entry. For details on the use of temple names in Korea, see Rulers of Korea.

See also: courtesy name

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