Emperor Huizong of Song, personal name Zhao Ji, was the eighth emperor of the Song dynasty in China. Born as the 11th son of Emperor Shenzong, he ascended the throne in 1100 upon the death of his brother and predecessor, Emperor Zhezong. He lived in luxury, sophistication and art in the first half of his life, the following year, the Song capital, Bianjing, was conquered by Jin forces in an event historically known as the Jingkang Incident. Emperor Huizong, along with Emperor Qinzong and the rest of their family, were taken captive by the Jurchens and brought back to the Jin capital, the Jurchen ruler, Emperor Taizong, gave the former Emperor Huizong a title, Duke Hunde, to humiliate him. Emperor Huizong died in Wuguocheng after spending nine years in captivity. Despite his incompetence in rulership, Emperor Huizong was known for his promotion of Taoism and talents in poetry, painting, calligraphy and he sponsored numerous artists at his imperial court, and the catalogue of his collection listed over 6,000 known paintings. Emperor Huizong, besides his partaking in state affairs that favoured the reformist party that supported Wang Anshis New Policies, was a leader who spent much of his time admiring the arts. He was a collector of paintings, calligraphy, and antiques of previous dynasties and he wrote poems of his own, was known as an avid painter, created his own calligraphy style, had interests in architecture and garden design, and even wrote treatises on medicine and Taoism. He assembled an entourage of painters that were first pre-screened in an examination to enter as official artists of the imperial court, and made reforms to court music. Like many learned men of his age, he was quite a polymath personality, however, his reign would be forever scarred by the decisions made on handling foreign policy, as the end of his reign marked a period of disaster for the Song Empire. When the Jurchens founded the Jin dynasty and attacked the Khitan-led Liao dynasty to the north of the Song and this succeeded in destroying the Liao, a longtime enemy of the Song. However, an enemy of the more formidable Jin dynasty was now on the northern border. Stricken with panic, Emperor Huizong abdicated on 18 January 1126 in favour of his son, now known as Emperor Qinzong, and departed the capital. The Song Empire, however, had to sign a treaty with the Jin Empire, agreeing to pay a colossal war indemnity. From 1126 until 1138, refugees from the Song Empire migrated south towards the Yangtze River valley, but even such humiliating terms could not save the Song dynasty. Within a matter of months, the troops of both Jurchen vice-marshals, Wolibu and Nianhan, were back again, and this time they were determined to overcome the walls of Bianjing. After a bitter siege, the Jurchens eventually entered Bianjing on 9 January 1127, and many days of looting, rapes, emperors Huizong and Qinzong were demoted to the rank of commoners by the Jurchens on 20 March 1127. Then on 10 May 1127, Emperor Huizong was deported to Heilongjiang, in a humiliating episode, in 1128 the two former Song emperors had to venerate the Jin ancestors at their shrine in Shangjing, wearing mourning dress
Pigeon on a Peach Branch, by Emperor Huizong
Emperor Huizong's calligraphy "Chong Ning Tongbao"