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Temple name

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Miao Hao (廟號, less commonly, 庙號), translated as the "temple name," is commonly used when naming most Chinese and certain Korean rulers. When compared to posthumous names, the use of temple names is more exclusive; it is the title given posthumously to an emperor. Unlike the elaborate posthumous name, temple name always consists of only two characters:

  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), either of the characters zu3 (祖) or zong1 (宗).
    • Zu, "forefather," implies a progenitor, either a founder of a dynasty or a new line within an existing one.
      Zus parallel in naming Korean kings is jo ( ; )
    • Zong, "ancestor," is used in all other rulers.
      Zongs is jong (종 ; 宗) 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.

Miao hao 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), nian hao (年號) "era names" are used instead.

A fuller description of this naming convention is given in the Chinese sovereign entry.

See also: courtesy name

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