100 Famous Women in China

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  1. #1

    100 Famous Women in China

    1.Leizu (discoverer of silk)


    Leizu(?--?) was the wife of Xuanyuan Huangdi (Huangdi literally meaningYellow Emperor, living round 2550 BC. Chinese people, i.e., Hantribe, deem themselves the posterity of Huangdi.) A legend had itthat Huangdi had a war with another tribe, whose leader was Chiyou,who, it was said, had the ability to raise heavy fog so that the armyof Huangdi could not find the way where to go. And it was also saidthat Huangdi invented a guide cart, on which there was a flat platewith a magnet in the shape of a big spoon. The spoon could turn roundand the handle of the spoon always pointed south. It was the earliesttype of compass.
    WhenHuangdi defeated Chiyou, he returned in triumph and had a feast ofcelebration. All of a sudden the goddess of silkworm came to offerthe silk to Huangdi for congratulations. Huangdi gave it to his wife,who loved the glistening thin thread very much. She began to breedsilkworm and wove the thread into silk cloth and made a gown for herhusband. She also taught people to breed silkworm. She was thuscalled Lady Silkworm, and in later history was deemed the Goddess ofSilkworm. She died on the way in company of Huangdi when he traveledover the country.
    Butthere was another legend about the original goddess of silkworm. Agirl and her father lived together. The father went to fight forHuangdi. There was a horse in the house. One day the girl thought ofher father badly, and she said to the horse, “Oh, horse, if you canbring back my father, I will marry you.” the horse ran awayimmediately and after some time the father came home on thehorseback. The girl was glad, but she forgot her promise to marry thehorse entirely. However, the horse remembered it and got sick. Thefather asked his daughter about the sick horse. The girl was remindedof her promise and told it to her father, who, of course, would notlet her daughter marry a horse. Therefore he killed the horse andflayed the hide of the horse. Then he lay the hide on the ground inthe sun to make it dry. The daughter came close to the hide and said,“You, horse, how can I, a human, marry you, a horse?” Then shestamped her foot on the hide. Suddenly the hide flew up and wrappedaround the girl. The girl was frightened out of her senses and ranoff from home to the nearby woods with mulberry trees. Then shebegan to eat mulberry leaves and spewed out silk threads.

  2. #2
    2. Jiangyuan (motherof planting)


    Jiangyuan(?--?) was born in the present Wugong town of Shaanxi province andwas the wife of Gao, the great grandson of Huangdi. One winter day,she was walking in the countryside and saw a giant footprint by theWei river. She trod in it and when she was back home, gradually shefelt that she was pregnant. She conceived the baby for twelve monthsand then gave birth. The baby looked ugly with a very big head. Themother thought that it was a monster and so deserted it for threetimes. But every time the baby was saved. At last the mother took itback and brought it up. So the baby was named Qi (meaning to desert).Later he was called Huoji. The mother gave him good education. He wasthe earliest ancestor of Zhou dynasty (1121—476 BC). Fromearly boyhood he was interested in plants and when he grew up, hetaught people how to grow grains, etc. that was the beginning ofagriculture in China. People remembered his mother and historiansgave her the title of mother saintess.

  3. #3
    3. Su Daji (cruelbeauty)
    Su Daji (?--?) wasthe wife of King Zhou (?--1046 BC), who was the last king of Shangdynasty (1765—1122 BC), and proud of his great strength. She camefrom Su clan. Her father was Su Hu, the chieftain of the clan. Shewas a pretty girl and could dance. In 1147 BC, King Zhou conquered Suclan. Su Hu had to give his daughter to King Zhou as his trophy. Itwas the tradition in ancient China that the conqueror always demandedvaluables and pretty girls from the defeater. Since Daji was verybeautiful, the king made her his queen after he got some pretense tokill his original queen. This queen had two sons, who were exiled.The king did these to please his new queen, if not secretly requiredby her. As the new queen could dance, the king ordered the palacemusician Shijuan to compose some decadent music. Daji danced to theobscene music to please the king. The king was so doting on her thathe would grant all her wishes, no matter how absurd and cruel herdesire was. There were some facts recorded in the history books.
    The king had agarden built having a pond filled with wine and a forest with driedmeat fillets hanging from the boughs of the trees. He often held abanquet there, with as many as three thousand officials gatheringthere. They played and chased each other naked among the trees. Theking and the queen liked to row on the wine. Anyone could drink thewine from the pond.
    Daji ordered a hugedeep pit dug and put in hundreds of snakes. She would have heroffenders thrown into it to feed the snakes. She also invented sometorture equipment. The most cruel one was a bronze pillar with insidevacant. Then firewood and coal filled it and burned. When the pillarwas hot, a criminal was brought and made to embrace it till he wasburned to death with shrill bitter cries.
    Once in winter whenshe saw an old man walking on ice with bare feet. He seemed not tofeel cold. She thought that he might have something special in thebone of his shin. Therefore she ordered to have the man brought toher presence and to have his foreleg cut down to see if anythingspecial inside his bone.
    Another time, whenshe and the king sat on the terrace to look at the street. At thetime, a women with child walked by. She said that the woman wouldhave a girl while the king said that she would have a boy. So theybet who would guess right. Then the woman was brought in and herbelly was cut open to see it was a boy or a girl. Two lives lost fortheir absurd bet. Besides these, all the courtiers who criticizedtheir misbehavior were executed. Finally they lost the support ofcourtiers and people and was at last subdued by Zhou dynasty. Theking burned himself and Daji hanged herself.

  4. #4
    4.Qi Wenjiang (an able and adulterous woman)
    QiWenjiang (733—673 BC) was the second daughter of Duke Xi (?--698BC) of Qi dukedom bordering on the East Sea. She had a sister QiXuanjiang. Both girls were beautiful, well-known to all states inChina at the time. It was in the first warring period (770—221 BC)in the history of China. All the dukedoms, marquisates, and earldomsetc. became independent though the king of Zhou dynasty was still inreign in name only. His power could only reach within the territoryof his kingdom.
    Duke Ling (540—493BC) of Wei dukedom wanted to have the elder sister Xuanjiang to bethe wife of his son. Her father agreed and sent her to Wei dukedom.But when Duke Ling set eyes on the girl, her beauty stunned him, andhe took the girl as his own wife, to the disappointment of his son.There was even a folk song to sing the praise of her beauty. Sincethat day, Duke Ling stuck to his young wife day and night. If hecould not see her even for a moment, he would look like his soul hadleft his body.
    Then Duke Xideclared that he would find a husband for his second daughter. Thenews spread and all the sons of the rulers of other states came tothe capital of Qi dukedom to seek for the hand of the girl. Ithappened because of two reasons. Firstly, the girl was a beauty knownin all states. Secondly, Qi Dukedom was a big state. If a small statehad the relationship with a big state, the small state would havemore safety against other neighboring small states. In that period,there were much more small states than big states. They often wantedto merge others to become big. Among all the suitors, the girlselected the son of Zheng State. But when the son went back to hisown state, he regretted of the marriage and broke the agreement,because he was afraid that the daughter of a big state wouldcertainly bully the son of a small state. He would not be bullied byhis wife. When the girl learned the decision of the boy she hadchosen, she turned irritating and then woeful. She became languishand sick, because the breech of the marriage from the boy's side wasan insult to the girl in the public eye, which meant that the girlmight have some defects in her moral or character.
    She had a brotherand they played together since childhood. As the brother knew thathis sister was sick, he came to see her, desiring to comfort her. Young girl and young boy, no matter what was their relationship, whenmeeting in certain condition, would easily give themselves up forlove action. At that time, there were no moral rules for such thingslike in present days. A beautiful girl and a handsome boy were surelya destined pair.
    Lu dukedom was justnext to Qi dukedom. Duke Huan (731—694 BC) of Lu state justsucceeded to the throne and was in need of a wife. Qi dukedom was alarge state while Lu dukedom was a bit smaller, and not so strong.Duke Huan thought that if he got a wife from a big state, he wouldhave a strong support for his rule. So he married Qi Wenjiang thoughhe knew the abnormal relationship between the girl and her brother.Different people have different ideas to a certain thing. Duke Huandid not care for it as long as he had a beautiful wife and strongsupport. After the wedding, the husband and the wife got along welland they had two sons.
    After severalyears, Duke Xi of Qi dukedom died and his son, the brother, turned tobe the new duke, called Duke Xiang (729—686 BC). The rulers ofother states went there for the ceremony. Duke Huan of Lu dukedomwent there, too, but he did not bring his wife together, though thewife begged to go with him. He feared that if the sister and thebrother met again, their fire of love might rekindle. However, if henever took his wife back to her mother state, it would look weird toother states. So after eighteen years, he did go to visit Qi dukedomwith his wife, who was already in her forties. But women in fortiesare still in need of that.
    Duke Xiang was gladthat his sister came at length after long years of separation. Herecalled their happy time together. When the duke of Lu state and hiswife settled down in the guest room in the palace, the duke of Qistate asked his sister to see his wife in the rear of the palace. Theduke of Lu state could not say NO to this request. Once in some backroom, the brother and the sister fell into action right away like drywood caught fire. For several days, the duke of Lu state was leftalone and so one day he trespassed into the rear palace and witnessedtheir action. He slapped his wife on the face and dragged her awayfrom the room. He and his wife started immediately back to Ludukedom. He let his wife go ahead and he himself attended thefarewell party given by the duke of Qi state, the brother. He leftthe palace in a coach after bidding adieu, but was killed in thecoach by a knight of Qi dukedom. The knight overtook the wife andreported to her of the death of her husband. The wife clearly knewwhat had happened to her husband, but she said nothing. She let theknight go to back to tell the news to her brother, who hurried hereto meet his sister. The sister stayed on the border of the twodukedoms for a while. And the brother often came to meet her. Finallyshe had to return to Lu dukedom with the news that the duke of Lustate died suddenly on the way back. Although the courtiers of Lustate suspected something, but they had no evidence, and had to keepsilent. Later the knight was executed on some excuses to keep themurder a secret. But on the execution spot, the knight told thesecret to all the people present at the top of his voice.
    When Lu dukedom wasinformed of the sudden death of their duke, the elder son of thediseased duke became the ruler. He was Duke Zhuang. As he was stillyoung and so his mother, Qi Wenjiang, helped him to manage the stateaffairs. She was a capable woman and made Lu dukedom strong and oncedefeated Qi dukedom in a battle, though Qi dukedom was her parentalstate. Anyway, Qi dukedom should not fight Lu dukedom as they werebrother and sister.

  5. #5
    5. Xishi (the firstbeauty of the four beauties)
    Xishi (?--?) livedin the first warring period, later than Qi Wenjiang, who lived in theearlier time of that period. Xishi was born in Ningluo village in thesuburb of Zhuji town in Zhejiang province. Her real name was ShiYiguang. As Ningluo village was divided in two parts, the east partand the west part. Since Shi Yiguang lived in the west part, and soshe got the nickname “Xishi” (Xi means west).
    Shewas one of the four beauties, the earliest one, in the history ofancient China. The other three were Wang Zhaojun, Diaochan, and YangYuhuan, whose story was told in another book of mine titled “LoveTales of Ancient China.” There were so many beautiful women in the history of China, why werethese four women that grouped as the four beauties, not others? Nonenowadays can tell the reason. We just tell the stories as they were.Xishi often washed gauze clothes in a stream in her village, andthereby she got another nickname “gauze-washing girl.”
    There were two states bordering each other: Wukingdom and Yue kingdom, both in the present Zhejiang province. Inthe latter part of the first warring period, the Zhou kingdom alreadyperished. Therefore, all survived states after merging calledthemselves kingdoms. In 494 BC, Wu kingdom defeated Yue kingdom andcaptured the king of Yue kingdom, Gouqian by name. Guoqian (520—465BC) showed himself to be a very tame captive and vowed that if hecould be allowed to go back to his own state, he would always beloyal to Fucha (?--473 BC), king of Wu kingdom. Guoqian also bribedBopi, a favorite courtier of King Wu to throw good words for him.King Wu was a good-for-nothing while King Yue was a capable man. WhyYue kingdom was defeated by Wu kingdom was because a very famousstrategist as well as an able general served Wu kingdom. This famousstrategist Sun Zi (545-470 BC) had written a world renowned militarybook titled Arts of War. He was deemed as martial saint. Somefamous rules in the book are “know your enemy as well as yourselfso that you can always be victorious,” “always give your enemy afalse move so as to mislead them.”
    At length, Guoqian was released and went back toYue kingdom. Every year, Guoqian sent a lot of tributes to Wu kingdomto show his faithfulness. But secretly he wanted to have revenge. Oneof his courtiers, Fan Li, suggested a strategy that Guoqian shouldsend the King Wu some dancing girls so that King Wu would alwaysenjoy the dancing and neglect his state affairs, which would provideYue kingdom a chance to conquer Wu kingdom.
    Fan Li (536—448BC) began to look for beautiful girls within the state and he foundXishi one day when she was washing her gauze by the stream. As soonas he set eyes on her, he felt that she was the right girl he waslooking for. So he took the girl to the palace to be taught singingand dancing. After some special training, she was sent to King Wu,who liked the girl very much and did indulge in singing and dancingof the beauty. She could dance clog-dancing and she had plenty oftiny bells sewed on her skirt so that when she danced the bells gaveout tingling to the rhythm of her dancing. The king made her hisqueen and had a new palace built for her, inside which there was aspecial corridor called “clog-sounding corridor.” It was builtlike this—hundreds of big vats were put side by side and woodenplanks were laid on top of them. When the girl danced on the planks,wearing clogs, the empty vats echoed with a hollow sound to meet withthe rhythm of the dancing. The king did neglect his state affairs,and seeing this, Sun Zi left Wu kingdom and lived somewhere as ahermit. Wu kingdom was finally defeated by Yue kingdom. King Wu madesuicide.
    There were twolegends about the end of Xishi. The first one was that when the kingof Wu kingdom died, she was drowned in a river. The second one wasthat Fan Li took her with him, fearful that if King Yue saw her, hemight be charmed by her beauty and also neglect his state affairs.Fan Li became a merchant and lived with Xishi happily till the end oftheir lives.

  6. #6
    6.Zhong Wuyan (an ugly and wise woman)
    ZhongWuyan (?--?) (wuyan literally meaning no beauty) was ugly, but wiseand could fight. How ugly was she? There was a description: a bigbelly, a big head, her forehead and eyes looking like sucked in, andher skin very dark and course. She was suspected that her mother orfather came from abroad, not the offspring of Han tribe. Most famouswomen in Chinese history were beautiful. Only this one was ugly. Asshe was so ugly, no man would marry her. She was still single whenshe reached the age of forty.
    Atthat time, King Xuan (?--301 BC) of Qi state was on the throne. Hewas not a capable man with a quick temper. He liked flattering. Therewas corruption all over the state and other states were watching forsome opportunity to invade Qi state. The famous Mencius had come togive him advice, but he would not listen. Qi state at the time had aclever premier Yan Ying (?--500 BC), who was short in stature. Qistate had three haughty knights at the same time. They even sometimesrefused to obey the king. So Yan Ying was afraid that they mightendanger the state. One day there came a chance. There grew a peachtree in the palace. The peach tree produced some large fruits thatday. Yan Ying suggested to the king to give two of the peaches tothe three knights. One knight ate one and another knight ate theother. The third one had none. Yan Ying said to him that it was adisgrace to him that he could have none to eat while the other twoate theirs. The third one was ashamed of himself, and drawing outhis sword, he killed himself. The other two knights said that thethree of them were like brothers. They should not eat the peacheswithout thinking of their brother. They felt ashamed of themselvesfor the neglect. Therefore, they killed themselves on the spot. Thisevent in the history was called “Killing three knights with twopeaches.”
    Oneday the king went hunting with Yan and met Wuyan in the forest. Wuyanwas an ambitious woman and had certain opinions about the state. Sheseized the opportunity to come forth to talk to the king. Sheanalyzed the dangerous situation the state was now in and made goodsuggestions to him. Therefore, at the advice of Yan, the king tookher to the palace and made her his queen. When Yan state, which wasto the north of Qi state, sent a messenger there to test the wisdomof the king. The messenger brought two jade rings connected together.The king was asked to separate them. Just when the king did not knowwhat to do with it, Wuyan came out. She brought a small hammer andused it to knock one ring into two pieces. The rings were thusseparated. However, Yan state yet sent the army in an intention toconquer Qi state. Wuyan led the army of Qi state to meet the army ofYan state and defeated it. She helped the king to make Qi statestrong.

  7. #7
    7.Mother of Mencius (392—317 BC) (a considerate mother)
    Mencius (372—289 BC) was naughty when a boy. Hisfather died when he was only three. Her mother brought him up andeducated him. In his teenage, he liked to imitate whatever he saw. Atfirst they lived in the countryside, close to a graveyard. Whenpeople came to bury corpses, crying. He would dig a small pit in theground and put in a piece of wood, and cried. When his mother saw it,she thought that this was not a good place to live. They moved intothe nearby town, close to a market. There were a slaughter house toslay pigs and also a black smithery with noises of striking iron. Allsuch distracted her son from studies. Besides, the son imitated howto sell things like merchants in the market. Then they moved to theeast side of the town, close to a school. Therefore, the son imitatedhow the students read and write in the classroom. The mother likedthe place and settled down forever. So Mencius became a famousscholar. This story was called “three moves of the mother ofMencius.” The story shows that neighborhood is very important ingrow-up of children.
    Another story told us how the mother of Menciuseducated her son. Once her son played truant at school. The motherwas weaving a cloth at the loom when the son came home. The mothercut the cloth on the loom into two. The son curiously asked why. Themother said that her son played truant while learning was just likeshe severed the cloth in the process of weaving.
    We can still visit the grave of the mother ofMencius at Mt. MaAn (meaning saddle) in Anhui province.

  8. #8
    8.Zhao Ji (mother of the first emperor)
    ZhaoJi (?--228 BC) was the mother of the first emperor of Qin dynasty.(Hence we call him Emperor Qin in this story.) At that time KingZhaoxiang (325—251 BC) was on the throne. He appointed his sonAnyangjun as the crown prince. Anyangjun had more than twenty sons.One of them was Yiren. When Qin kingdom and Zhao kingdom had a war,Qin kingdom was beaten. As a rule, Qin kingdom must send a royalfamily member as hostage to Zhao kingdom. Yiren was chosen and wentto live in the capital of Zhao kingdom.
    Therewas in Zhao kingdom a jewelry merchant, by name of Luu Buwei (292—235BC), who was very clever and knew how to calculate his profits. Hisfamous quotation was, “If I invest in fields, I can get profit tentimes . If I invest in jewelry, I can get profit a hundred times. IfI invest in supporting an emperor, I can be rich and powerful all mylife.” He pinned his hope on the hostage Yiren. He bribed theguardsman to let him get in touch with Yiren. Then he befriended thehostage and satisfied him for any demands he had. Then he gotacquainted with the sister of Ladyship Huayang, who was the wife ofthe crown prince, the father of the hostage. As ladyship Huayang hadno children of her own, she was persuaded to adopt Yiren as her son.Every wife or concubine of the royal family wanted her son to be thecrown prince. So ladyship Huayang persuaded Anyangjun to make Yirenhis crown prince when he became the king after the death of hisfather, the present king.
    Thenhe selected a pretty clever dancing girl and offered her to Yiren.She became his formal wife. Afterwards, she gave birth to a boy, whowas later the first emperor of Qin dynasty. Yiren was soon summonedback to Qin state. Not long before, King Zhaojiang died and the crownprince Anyangjun became the king, King Xiaowen. And his son Yiren wasnaturally made the crown prince.
    AsKing Xiaowen led a life of dissipation all day long, his healthworsened quickly and died soon. Accordingly, Yiren succeeded to thethrone. He was King Zhuangxiang (281—247 BC). He made his son thecrown prince and Luu Buwei the premier for all he had done for him.Lately, Buwei turned to be more powerful. Yiren got on alert, fearfulthat Buwei might kill him and make himself the king. It was notimpossible. Buwei also felt that the king might harm him. So headvised Zhao Ji, the wife of the king, to do something about it. ZhaoJi reached the position as queen through Buwei. She was grateful tohim, and besides, he was her favorite man while her husband Yiren wasonly their tool to get rich and powerful.
    ZhaoJi induced the king to drinking and merry-making, which caused hishealth to deteriorate fast and the king died soon. Then the crownprince was put on the throne at the age of thirteen, too young tohandle state affairs. Therefore, Zhao Ji was now the queen dowagerand Buwei handled all things. Although the boy was young, he wasshrewd and ambitious. He knew that Buwei was a bad man for power. AndBuwei knew that the young king was not an ordinary boy. There was arumor that the king was the son of Zhao Ji and Buwei.
    BeforeBuwei gave up Zhao Ji to Yiren, they had already made love to eachother. Now that Yiren died, how could Zhao Ji quenched her thirst forlove? She and Buwei met secretly. But they were afraid that theirrelationship might be discovered by the young king. Then Buwei founda man called Miudu, whose specialty was to have a giant penis. Buweisent him into the palace disguised as a eunuch to satisfy Zhao Ji sothat he himself could be away from danger. Presently, the queendowager was pregnant. She feared that her son, the king, might findout. Therefore, she told her son that she wanted to travel. The sondid not doubt anything yet and consented. So she went to live in atemporary residence with Miudu. They had two children.
    Whenthe new king came of age, he took all power back in his own hands.When he was on the throne for nine years, in 238 BC, someone informedhim that Miudu was a fake eunuch and had two children with the queendowager, who promised Miudu that if the king died, she would make oneof their sons the king. At that time, the king was twenty-two. AsMiudu was told that the king learned their secret, Miudu immediatelydecided to attack the palace with his followers. The guards of thepalace fought them. The latter was put to rout and Miudu was capturedand executed. The two children were killed too. Luu Buwei was exiledand drank poison to end his life. As for the queen dowager, hismother, she was driven out of the palace to live somewhere else. Theson vowed that he would never see the mother for the rest of hislife. Four years after the death of Buwei, Zhao Ji died of grievance.

  9. #9
    9.Empress Luu (the first empress who had political power)
    EmpressLuu (241—180 BC) was the wife of Liu Bang (256—195 BC), the firstemperor of Han dynasty (206 BC—220 AD). Liu Bang was at first onlya petty officer in Pei town, where the father of Empress Luu was awealthy resident. Once when it was the birthday of the father, as hewas a close friend of the mayor, Liu Bang had to go for thecelebration. He did not bring any gift, but he lied that he had givena precious gift. When the father found it out, he was angry andwanted to expel Liu Bang. However, when he looked at Liu Bang, hechanged his mind because he could read face. The face of Liu Bangshowed that he would be a noble man in the future. Therefore, hemarried his daughter to him. It was towards the end of Qin dynasty.
    Therewere many revolts at that time. Liu Bang was the leader of one amongthem. When Liu Bang was riotous, his wife was arrested and put injail by the local yamen. She experienced all the hardship of theprison. At last Liu Bang managed to get her out. From the day she wasreleased, she lived among the army with her husband. Generally therewas no woman allowed in the army, especially a woman who could notfight.
    Anotherrebellious group was led by Xiang Yu (232—202 BC). They both aimedat Qin dynasty. They wanted to replace Qin dynasty. Xiang was thefirst to enter the capital of Qin. He overthrew Qin dynasty andburned their palace. The fire lasted for months. Now as the olddynasty no longer existed, the two groups fought each other to decidewho would create a new dynasty. In 205 BC, the two groups had a warand Liu Bang was defeated and his wife was captured by Xiang Yu. ThenLiu Bang gathered his troops and met Xiang Yu's army again. Xiang Yuhad his wife brought out to the front of his array. He said to LiuBang that if Liu did not surrender, he would cook his wife like apig. Liu Bang answered smilingly, “If you cook her, please give apiece of her flesh to me.” Xiang Yu felt that his ruse of threatwas useless, and they fought once more. As no one could subdue theother, they had a truce, and the wife was released and returned toLiu Bang after two years as a captive.
    Notlong afterwards, Liu Bang and Xiang Yu had battles again. Finally,Liu Bang used the tactics of Han Xin (231—196 BC), a famous generalin history, to lay ten ambushes and conquered Xiang Yu, who had onlya handful of followers left. He was advised that he could go back towhere he came from. There he could gather more supporters and fightLiu Bang once more. But he always thought of himself a hero. A heroshould never fail. Now he failed and was ashamed of himself. Herefused to go back and killed himself at Wu River. His homeland wasjust across the river. He was a real hero while Liu Bang was a rascalin his character and doings. People of that time thus thought of eachof them.
    Nowas no rivals any more, Liu Bang founded a new dynasty known as Handynasty. His wife was duly the empress. She had born two children forLiu Bang. The son, Liu Ying, was made crown prince later, then becameEmperor Hui (210—188 BC) after the death of his father. Thedaughter was Princess Luyuan. Liu Bang had also a pretty concubinecalled Ladyship Qi, who bore a son, Prince Ruyi. Since Ladyship Qiwas the favorite of the emperor, she tried to persuade the emperor tomake her son the crown prince, but courtiers all opposed. So her planfailed. But Empress Luu began to hate her.
    ChenXi (?--195 BC) was a general of Liu Bang. In 197 BC, when Liu becamethe emperor, he was given the title of Marquis Xinyang. He wasoriginally under Han Xin. That year when Liu Bang suspected him forrebellion and summoned him to the capital, intending to kill him, hehad to rebel. So Liu Bang led a large army to fight him. Empress Luustayed in the capital to control the situation. When she was toldthat Han Xin would support Chen Xi to rebel, she made some excuse tosend for Han Xin to the capital. When Han Xin arrived, she killedhim. Some historians commented that if Han Xin rebelled too, he mightdefeat Liu Bang and became the emperor of another dynasty as he was agreat strategist, but he was not a politician. He did not havepolitical insight. Former historians said that it was a pity thatsuch a great strategist was killed by a woman. The woman was anexcellent politician. At last Chen Xi was defeated and killed in thefight.
    WhenLiu Bang died, the crown prince was still under age, and so EmpressLuu became the empress dowager and administrated the empire. She thenused pretenses to eliminate some powerful Liu family members one byone, and gave some important positions to her Luu family members. Theyoung emperor disagreed to what his mother did, but he could donothing about it. Then Empress Luu poisoned Prince Ruyi and had hismother Ladyship Qi's four limbs cut off, her eyes blinded and herears deafened. Her body was put in a pig pen. She was called humanpig. Such a cruel thing did happen, recorded in the history. Theyoung emperor grieved to the heart. So he gave himself up fordrinking and merry-making and died young. Empress Luu maintained herpower till her death. Then her Luu family members were all eliminatedby Liu family members.

  10. #10
    10. Beauty Yu (awoman died for her lover)
    Beauty Yu (?--202BC) was the concubine of Xiang Yu (see above). She was beautiful andcould dance with swords. When Xiang Yu became the leader of rebels inthe area of Suzhou city, where lived Beauty Yu's family, Beauty Yuadmired him. Xiang Yu had great strength and was looked upon as ahero. A beauty always felt for a hero. So she married him. Buthistorians called her concubine, not wife. She followed himeverywhere in battles and danced the sword dance for him at night inhis tent.
    After severalbattles with Liu Bang, escaped from ten ambushes, Xiang Yu wassurrounded at Wu river. He could broke through and crossed the river,but he wound not do it (see above). Beauty Yu danced her last dancefor him in the tent while she sang. After she finished, she cutherself at the throat with the sword in her hand. She died like aheroine. She sacrificed her dear life for her lover, the hero in hereyes. Then Xiang Yu ended his life with his own hand, too. Her storytouched people at large to the heart. The name of Beauty Yu washanded down and turned into a well-known Beijing opera. An Anonymouspoet in Qing dynasty wrote a poem about it in the words like what shewould say:
    My hero breathedhis last breath in the south of Yangtze River;
    It was not rightfor my humble person to enter Han palace*.
    My loyal bloodwould turn into the grass by the river;
    And the blossomswould be redder than azalea flowers.
    *It means that shewould not surrender and be taken to Han palace—the palace of LiuBang.

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