Emperor Sui Yangdi. Detail from the painting Portraits of the Emperors by Yan Liben. Unlike his frugal father Wendi, Yangdi was a spendthrift; he commissioned the building of at least seventy palaces at various sites during his reign of less than fourteen years.
The reign of Sui Yangdi was marked by the building of canals, the construction of grand palaces, and extravagant entertaining. The expense associated with these achievements, along