Posthumous titles were often conferred upon emperors, nobles, ministers, and other prominent officials with a high political and social status. The titles were intended to serve as a summation of the life of their holders. They mostly came in three forms: commendatory, derogatory, or sympathetic. They were an important part of institutional culture in Chinese traditional politics. The titles were designed to guide future generations and promote political and social stability.
A posthumous title is a summary of a person’s life, including his merits and demerits. (The Recollected Book of Zhou)
Posthumous titles are used to indicate honors and disgraces and praise integrity. (Debates of the White Tiger Hall)
The posthumous title system is designed to punish the wicked, reward the good, deter bad deeds, praise good deeds, encourage loyal people, and discourage evildoers. (The Old Book of Tang )