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Tʾien-ming (Chin.). The Heavenly Mandate, a concept developed in Chou philosophy (c. 8th cent. BCE) to define legitimate rulers. The concept is attributed to Mencius. It holds that an emperor lacking in virtue has forfeited the right to rule. This right is then granted from Tʾien to the conqueror who establishes the next dynasty. Tʾien-ming was developed further during the Han dynasty, and thereafter it was received by emperors in the Temple of Heaven. It could be recalled by heavenly disapproval (expressed through portents and signs), and rulers would then have to amend their rule.
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