Richard L. Davis
From Warhorses to Ploughshares
The Later Tang Reign of Emperor Mingzong
Hong Kong University Press 2015
Ruling as he did during the Five Dynasties period of Chinese history, the emperor Mingzong (r. 926-933) has not received the same degree attention from historians as have many of his counterparts. In From Warhorses to Ploughshares: The Later Tang Reign of Emperor Mingzong (Hong Kong University Press, 2015), Richard L. Davis provides readers with the first modern biography of Mingzong. Born Miaojilie, Mingzong grew up among his fellow Shatuo Turks and rose to become a leading commander of the forces of the Tang dynasty. After taking the throne in the aftermath of a military rebellion, he managed relations with other states with success and instituted a series of economic reforms designed to encourage trade. Though the territories of the Tang prospered during this period, peace was cut short by Mingzong’s death, with his dynastic line coming to a violent end less than a decade later. Davis’ book offers a window into a dramatic era in China’s past, one in which Mingzong’s reign stood out for its stability amidst the tumult.