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Thread: 100 Famous Women in China

  1. #16
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    13. Chen Ahjiao (a quick-tempered empress)
    Chen Ahjiao (?--?) was the wife of Emperor Wu, and was made the empress. When both were children, the mother of the girl, who was the sister of Emperor Jing, held the young Emperor Wu on her lap. There were an array of palace maids waiting on them. The mother asked the boy, “When you grow up, do you want to get married?” the boy said, “Sure.” then the mother pointed to the maids and asked the young Emperor Wu, “Who do you like?” The little boy said that none of them he liked. Then the mother, pointing to her daughter Ahjiao and asked, “Do you like her?” The little boy answered that if he could get her, he would build a house of gold to let her live in. This story is known to all Chinese people.
    When they both grew up, Emperor Wu did marry Ahjiao and made her his empress. Emperor Wu wanted to have some kind of reform, but was opposed by some powerful courtiers. Even the grand empress dowager Dou had different opinions. But Ahjiao supported him and her parents supported their son-in-law, which made the emperor tide over the crisis.
    Ahjiao was a girl with a quick temper, and besides, she did not have any children for the emperor for ten years. Gradually the emperor got tired of her. The emperor always had many girls round him. The most favorite one among them was Wei Zifu (?--90 BC). Out of jealousy, Ahjiao went to see the emperor and chided him for neglecting her. The emperor blamed her not to have any children for him. That was why he should have another girl for the posterity's sake. He must have at least a son to succeed the throne. Ahjiao could have nothing more to say and had to retire to her own room. She sent for a doctor after another in hopes of being pregnant, but in vain.
    Ahjiao wanted to get rid of Wei Zifu, but Wei was with the emperor everyday, and she had no chance to have her wish fulfilled. Then she found a witch and asked her to exercise her magic power to win back the favor of the emperor, but no result for several months. The emperor heard of this and was infuriated. He ordered the witch to be executed and confined Ahjiao in Changmen Hall after she was deposed from her position of empress. She died in melancholy. Wei Zifu was made the empress.

  2. #17
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    14. Wei Zifu (from a singer to the empress)
    Wei Zifu (?--90 BC) was the second wife of Emperor Wu. Wei Zifu was originally a sing-song girl in the residence of Princess Pingyang and her husband Marquis Pingyang. Once Emperor Wu visited the princess and saw the girl. He liked her on the spot and took her back to the palace.
    When Wei Zifu was taken into the palace, the empress then was Ahjiao, who hated the beautiful new-comer and made her a maid only. And she could not see the emperor, who seemed forgot her entirely. Once the emperor let all the maids gather in his presence and wanted to dismiss some old ones. Wei Zifu was then among them, and she asked the emperor to let her leave the palace. The emperor saw her and refreshed his liking of her. He gave her the title of Ladyship Wei, next to the empress. In 128 BC, she bore a son for the emperor, named Liu Che, and thus was made the empress, since the ex-empress had already been deposed and confined in Changmen Hall. In 122 BC, the son was declared the crown prince.
    When grown up, the crown prince showed himself a lenient and clever man. His father, the emperor, liked him very much. But as now the empress grew old, the emperor ignored her. He always preferred new young pretty girls. He had later Ladyship Li, Ladyship Xing, Ladyship Yin and Ladyship Zhao. Ladyship Xing and Ladyship Yin were more jealous of each other and wherever Ladyship Xing was present, Ladyship Yin would not come, and vice verse.
    There were some wicked courtiers. The most wicked one was Jiang Chong. He often slandered the crown prince before the emperor. He knew clearly that when the crown prince became the emperor, the new emperor would certainly punish him for his evil doings. But the emperor would not listen to him. At the time, some witches exercised black magic of cursing the emperor for his death. It was found out and all the witches were executed. Then the emperor let Jiang Chong investigate who was behind all this. Jiang Chong seized the opportunity to frame the crown prince. He sent someone secretly to bury a wooden doll with the birthday of the emperor engraved on it. This was used at the time for curse of death of someone whose birthday was engraved on the wooden doll.
    The crown prince was a clever man and knew that Jiang Chong would do something to harm him. He would act first. He went with his bodyguards to see the emperor intending to reveal the scheme of Jiang Chong, just when Jiang Chong led some soldiers to his residence intending to dig up the doll and take it to the emperor so that it would be a proof that the crown prince was cursing the emperor for death. They met in the street and fought each other. At last Jiang Chong was killed.
    The emperor sent a messenger to see what was happening. The messenger came back and reported untruthfully to the emperor that the crown prince was rebelling. So the emperor sent army to subdue the rebellion and the crown prince was defeated, because he really did not want to rebel and had few fighters with him. The crown prince had to escape and hide himself somewhere. Afterwards he was detected and hanged himself. When his mother, the empress, heard of it, she hanged herself, too. She held her position of empress for thirty-eight years, a very long period of time. Finally the truth was known to the emperor, and he killed all those who joined in the pursuit of the crown prince.
    By the way, Empress Wei Zifu had a stepbrother, Wei Qing by name. He was a famous general in defense of the northern frontier of Han territory. He was promoted to the position was because of his stepsister, the empress. If he was an ordinary man, he would not have the chance to be promoted to the generalship.

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    15. Zhao Feiyan (a good dancer of an empress)
    Zhao Feiyan ( 45—1 BC) was the wife of Emperor Cheng (51—7 BC). She was so beautiful and a legendary woman in the Han dynasty. When she was born, her parents put her in the fields, supposed to let her die. But three days afterwards, when the parents went to check on her, she was still alive. So her parents took her home and brought her up. In her girlhood, she was sent to the residence of Princess YangA to learn dancing. She was so skillful a dancer and had a special style like a flying swallow. So she was later known as Zhao Faiyan (meaning flying swallow). She was said to be so light and lean physically that she could dance on the hand of a big man. Literary men often compared her with the Imperial concubine Yang, who was on the chubby side. The comparison showed a lean beauty with a fat beauty.
    Emperor Cheng liked merry-making and once visited Princess YangA. When he saw Feiyan dancing, he immediately fell in love with her and took her to the palace and made her a concubine. Not long after, he deposed the empress and made Feiyan the empress. She did not bear any children for him. But the emperor did not live long. After his death, the sons of other concubines vied to be the new emperor. Prince Dingtao became the emperor, Emperor Ai (25—1 BC), because his mother bribed Zhao Feiyan. In return Feiyan was made the empress dowager. Only several years later, Emperor Ai died. The next emperor was Emperor Ping (9 BC—5 AD). He was the nephew of Emperor Cheng and a cousin of Emperor Ai. When he became the emperor, he was only nine years old. A courtier Wang Mang seized the power. He deposed the empress dowager Feiyan and confined her somewhere. She at last made suicide.

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    16. Ladyship Ban ( a poetess)
    Ladyship Ban (?--?) was a concubine of Emperor Cheng (51—7 BC). She was not only beautiful, but also versed in poetry, with a good temper. She would do everything properly, to the palace etiquette. Once the emperor wanted to go out and let Ladyship Ban sit beside him on the coach, but Ban refused, saying, “Your Majesty, your humble concubine read books from olden time that a wise emperor let his good courtier sit beside him. A stupid emperor let his favorite beauty sit beside him. If your humble concubine sits beside Your Majesty, does it mean that Your Majesty is a stupid emperor?” The emperor thought that she was right and let her go.
    When the empress dowager learned it, she really appreciated Ban. She said, “There was Fan Ji in Chu State (in the first warring period). She refused to eat meat because the king liked to hunt. People respected her. Now there is Ban in our palace. She can be compared with Fan Ji in moral.”
    Zhao Feiyan, the great dancer, was not the empress yet at the time. She was jealous of the empress and Ban. She always slandered them both, saying that they were cursing the emperor to death. Since the emperor now preferred her to other women, he often believed what she said. So he deposed the empress and made Zhao Feiyan the empress. The emperor also sent for Ban to blame her for cursing him. Ban pleaded herself, saying, “Your Majesty, your humble concubine heard that life and death, wealth and nobleness are all fated by Heaven. If there are deities, they know everything. They won't grant the wish of anyone who curses his master. If there are no deities, what is the use to curse? So I won't do anything like curse,” The emperor thought that she was right and did not punish her. On the contrary, he gave her a hundred catties of gold as a reward.
    Ban knew that she was in danger, and offered to live with the empress dowager and wait on her. She died there. She had written a poem “Gauze Fan”. The fan at that time was composed of a round frame of wood or bamboo, with a piece of gauze fixed on it. The poem goes like this:
    Newly cut the gauze from Qi area,
    It is as white as frost and snow.
    It is cut to make a Happy-Union* fan,
    As round as the bright moon.
    It is stored in your sleeve,
    It gives breezes when waved.
    I often fear that the autumn comes;
    The cool wind takes away the heat.
    The fan will be deserted in a box,
    The love for it will end midway.
    In this poem the poetess meant that she was like a fan. When it was not needed, it was just thrown in a box and forgotten.

    *It is the name of the fan. The couple share the fan and feel in happy union.

  5. #20
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    somehow it repeated. so I deleted it.

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    17. Shangguan Xiaomei (the youngest empress)
    Shangguan (double surname) Xiaomei (89—37 BC) was the wife of Emperor Zhao (94—74 BC), and the daughter of Shangguan An (126—80 BC) and the maternal granddaughter of Great General Huo Guang (130—68 BC), who was the most powerful man at that time. Her paternal grandfather was Shangguan Ji, Left General, (140—80 BC). Left general and right general were the titles of generals, just under the great general.
    In the second moon of 87 BC, Emperor Wu died. His son succeeded to the throne, and was Emperor Zhao, who was then only eight years of age. Therefore, all courtiers decided that Princess Eyi should move and live in the palace to take care of the boy emperor. Princess Eyi (117—80 BC) was the daughter of emperor Wu and big sister of the present emperor. The father and the grandfather of Xiaomei both went to the palace to befriend Princess Eyi. When the emperor was twelve, he reached the age to have a wife. The father of Xiaomei wished his daughter to be the empress. She was then only six. As she was so young, her maternal grandfather, Great general Huo Guang, did not consent.
    Princess Eyi had a lover called Ding Wairen (?--80 BC). When the husband of Princess Eyi died, she found him, who was an acquaintance of her son. Then the father of Xiaomei went to see Ding and asked him to persuade Princess Eyi to let his daughter be the empress, promising that Ding would be given an official title when his daughter became the empress. So Ding went to see Princess Eyi and made the request. Princess Eyi agreed and in 83 BC, Xiaomei was made the empress, the youngest empress in the history of China.
    To keep the promise to Ding, the father and the grandfather of Xiaomei both went to see great general Huo Guang to ask him give Ding a title. But Huo Guang rejected. So the father and the grandfather, and also Princess Eyi had a grudge against Huo Guang. They plotted to kill him, but Huo Guang learned their scheme and sent troopers in his control and killed the father and the grandfather and Ding. Princess Eyi made suicide.
    Empress Xiaomei was then only eight years old. She knew nothing about the coup d'état and so she was safe. Besides, she was the granddaughter of Huo Guang. When she was grown up, she did not bear any children for the emperor. When Emperor Zhao died in 74 BC, as he did not have a son, Huo Guang and courtiers decided that Prince Changyi, a grandson of Emperor Wu, should be the new emperor, and Xiaomei be the youngest empress dowager. But Prince Changyi was a lewd man and disappointed Huo Guang and courtiers. After twenty-seven days, he was deposed. Then after serious discussion, they made Liu Xun, the great grandson of Emperor Wu, be the emperor, Emperor Xuan (91—48 BC). According to Chinese generation sequence, Xiaomei, the present empress dowager, should be the great grandmother of the new emperor. So she was now the grand empress dowager. She was at the time only fifteen years old, the youngest grand empress dowager in the history.
    The wife of great general Huo Guang poisoned the wife of Emperor Xuan, the legal empress, with the intention to marry her daughter to the emperor and to be the empress. In the third moon of 68 BC, the great general Huo Guang died. Both the grand empress dowager and the emperor attended the funeral, a great honor to the diseased. But in the fourth moon of 67 BC, the Huo family members rebelled and were conquered. As the grand empress dowager, though she was the granddaughter of Huo Guang, did not even know the rebellion, her position as grand empress dowager was not affected till she died at the age of fifty-two. She was buried with her husband, Emperor Zhao. It was the tradition in the feudal China.

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    18. Wang Zhaojun (the second beauty of the four beauties)
    Wang Zhaojun (52—19 BC) was one of the four beauties, the second beauty in the sequence of the year. She was a great beauty at the time, but with a bitter destiny. She was clever, and could read and paint. She could also play lute and chess. In the spring of 36 BC, when she was seventeen, Emperor Yuan (75—33 BC) gave the edict to select beautiful girls and sent to the palace. He would choose the most beautiful ones among them to be his concubines, and the rest of them would be the maids. As there were so many girls, the emperor was busy and could not see every girl himself. Therefore, he ordered the palace painter Mao Yanshou to draw a portrait of each of them and presented them to the emperor. It meant that the emperor would choose from portraits.
    Almost every girl bribed the painter and asked him to draw her a bit prettier than she really was. But Wang Zhaojun did not bribe him as she was so confident of her beauty. So the painter drew her with a bit of contortion. As a result, she was not selected. She did not have any chance to see the emperor for three years.
    Han dynasty since establishment was in continual war with a northern minority called Xiongnu tribe. The chieftain of the tribe, Uhaanyehe by name (58—31 BC), at that time was weary of war and wanted peace for his people. Therefore, Chieftain Uhaanyehe came to the capital ChangAn city to see the emperor. He requested to have some girl in the palace to be his wife so that the relationship between him and the emperor would be close as relatives, and then there would thus have long peace for the two peoples. The emperor liked the idea. When the emperor was considering who would be chosen as the wife of the chieftain, Wang Zhaojun came forth, offering herself to be the one.
    At the feast held for the departure of the chieftain and his chosen wife, Wang Zhaojun should surely be present, fully attired. When the emperor saw such a beauty, he did regret letting her go. But he could not go back on his words in the presence of the chieftain while the chieftain was so happy to have such a beauty for his wife. After the feast, the chieftain and Wang Zhaojun left the capital for the north to the homeland of the Xiongnu tribe. Then the emperor found out the truth why he missed her. It was because the painter drew her with a contortion. So he had the painter beheaded.
    The people of Xiongnu tribe welcomed Wang Zhaojun warmly and looked upon her as the guarantee of peace. But life for Zhaojun in the strange land was hard. First, she was not used to such food she had never eaten before. Then the life style was also different to her as her former life style. In 31 BC, Chieftain Uhaanyehe died. He had a son who succeeded to the position of chieftain. The son was the stepson of Wang Zhaojun. According to the tradition of Xiongnu tribe, the son could marry his stepmother. So Wang Zhaojun became the wife of her stepson. She bore two daughters for him. In 20 BC, the stepson died. Wang Zhaojun became the widow. One year later, she died at the age of thirty-three. She was buried in the southern suburb of the present Hohhot city, at the foot of a green mountain and by the Yellow River. Her tomb was called Green Tomb by people in later dynasties.

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    19. Ban Zhao (a blue stocking, a female scholar)
    Ban Zhao(49—120 AD)was the first female historian and a literary woman. She inherited her family talent. Her father, Ban Biao (3—54 AD) was a famous learned scholar at the time. He had been the mayor of Xu town before he retired. Her eldest brother Ban Gu (32—92 AD) was a historian. Ban Zhao also helped her eldest brother in the writing of a history book, titled “Book of Han.” As a matter of fact, this history book was begun to be written by her father. When her father died, her eldest brother Ban Gu continued the work while her second brother Ban Chao (32—102 AD) joined the army and became a famous general, fighting at the frontier.
    When Ban Gu died, she continued the work, too, till it was finished. It was a great work after the “Records of History” by Sima Qian (145—87 BC). When Emperor He (79—105 AD) read her book, he greatly appreciated it and sent for her into the palace. The emperor wanted her to be the tutor of the empress and his concubines. The empress dowager Deng also liked her. At the age of fourteen, she had married to Cao Shishu (?--?), who died early and she became a widow, and never married again.
    At her old age, she was still writing. Another famous book of hers was the “Female Commandments.” she wrote this book with the intention to tell the female members of her family what females should do and what they should not. At first it was only read within the family. Then people outside the family copied it and circulated it till the book became circulated.
    The gist of the book was that women must obey men. Especially wife must obey husband. Thus it began the non-equality between men and women for thousands of years till the beginning of the republic. The topics in her book were three obediences and four moral rules. The three obediences were those that before marriage, women must obey parents; after marriage, women must obey their husbands; and after the death of husbands, they must obey their sons, i.e., when they became widows and if they had different opinions from their sons, they must listen to their sons. But there were exceptions for this. As many sons were taught to be filial, any of them would listen to their mothers. And a woman could not remarry after the death of her husband while a man could marry as many times as he liked. It would be looked upon as a shame if a woman remarried, though many a woman did remarry in the history because of some reason or others, like she was too poor to keep her children alive or the mother of her late husband drove her away, etc.
    Four moral rules were that a woman must be demure, quiet, avoiding misbehavior; a woman must not gossip and must say everything fit to the situation and listeners; a woman must keep proper appearance, wearing clean suitable dress; a Woman must be able to weave, sew and cook for family members and guests.

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    20. Cai Wenji (a female musician and poetess)
    Cai Wenji (176--249 AD) was the daughter of the famous literary man and calligrapher, Cai Yi (133-1932 AD). He also knew mathematics, astronomy, and music. Growing up in such a family environment, Cai Wenji was talented and versed in music. She was a musician as well as a poetess. She could play zither and had the ability to tell which string on the zither was broken by the sound when other people were playing and a string suddenly broke.
    She was married to Mr. Wei, but he died after only one year. As she did not bear any children for him, she was sent back to her father's home. Then when Xiongnu tribe in the north invaded the area where she lived, she was captured and was forced to marry the chieftain at the age of twenty-three. She gave birth to two sons for him, and stayed there for twelve years. She learned to play the reed pipe, a musical instrument of the tribe, and also learned their language.
    When the warlord Cao Cao (155—220 AD) was in power, he thought of Cai Wenji, the daughter of Cai Yi, who had been his tutor when he was young. So Cao Cao sent a messenger to give the chieftain a thousand taels of gold and a pair of white jade to redeem Cai Wenji, who was then back to her family alone, leaving her two son with the father. Then she was married to Dong Si and bore a son and a daughter for him. Her father already died. She wrote down four hundred articles of her father's writing from memory. It was because in the warring chaos, most of her father's writings were lost. She handed down to us only a long autobiographic poem and song words to the music of the reed pipe, called “Eighteen Beats of Reed Pipe.” (A beat means a stanza in her poetic song words.) These were her own composition.

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    21. Xun Guanniang (a kungfu girl)
    Xun Guanniang (303—360 AD) was the first girl in the history of China, who had kungfu and could fight on horseback. She was born a hundred years earlier than Hua Mulan (412—502 AD). She was the great great granddaughter of Xun Yu (163—212 AD), who was a famous adviser of the warlord Cao Cao.
    It was in the second warring period (265—589 AD), and in the third moon of 317 AD, when Xun Guanniang was only thirteen. Her father, Xun Song (263—329 AD) was a general guarding Wan town. Du Zeng, a magistrate, wanted to betray the emperor and took Wan town as his base. He commanded his two thousand soldiers and came to surround the town. There were only one thousand men for the defense. The attack lasted for several days and Du Zeng could not take the town yet. But casualties on both sides increased. Besides, the provisions were less and less in the town since it was surrounded by the enemy. The situation was so serious that someone must volunteer to break enemy's surrounding line to get reinforcement from other cities. For a couple of days, no one volunteered. General Xun Song wanted to go himself. But as he was the commander, people could not defend the town without his leadership. At that critical moment, the girl of thirteen stood forth for the difficult task. Others were doubtful whether a girl of such age could succeed. She analyzed that the enemy's soldiers were all exhausted. They looked okay in the daytime, but in the night they must fall in sound sleep. She added that if she could have a few bravest fighters with her, they could steal through enemy's line under the cover of night. No one could disagree, or they would all die, if not in combat, but of starvation.
    Thus they broke through the line with little fighting. When they reached the nearest city, the magistrate there agreed to help. So when the reinforcement came to attack the enemies from the back, the defenders in the town went out to attack from front. Du Zeng was defeated and the town was safe. The girl was praised by all the townsfolk that she could finish such a difficult job at so young age.

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    22. Liu Lanzhi (a woman of tragic death)
    Liu Lanzhi (?--?) was the wife of a petty official, Jiao Chongqing (?--?), living in Lujiang town of present Anhui province, towards the end of East Han dynasty (25—220 AD). She was a nice girl from a well-to-do family. She could weave at thirteen, could make dress at fourteen, could play harp at fifteen, and could read classics at sixteen. She married her husband at seventeen.
    Jiao family consisted of the old widow, his mother, her mother-in-law, and his young sister. At first the couple lived a harmonious life. But his mother was very picky and fastidious. She did not like her daughter-in-law for no reason at all. Perhaps, like other old widows, she depended on her son as her life company after the death of her husband. Now the daughter-in-law came and it seemed as if she took away her life company and left her alone. Therefore, she hated the wife of her son and tried to drive her away.
    She often complained to her son that his wife was not nice to her and disobeyed her. In fact, the daughter-in-law was very nice and filial to her. She listened to her mother-in-law for whatever she said. Anyway, the mother decided to get rid of his wife. In old China, there were seven rules for a wife to be driven back to where she came from, i.e., the house of her parents. The seven rules were that she disobeyed her mother- or father-in-law; that she did not bear a son (a daughter did not count); that she was lewd; that she jealous if her husband had concubines; that she had severe diseases; that she liked to gossip; and that she stole from her husband's house for the family of her parents. She did not bear any children for her son yet.
    Jiao Chongqing was a filial son and under the pressure of his mother, who often threatened her son with suicide if he did not send his wife away. He had one day to harden up his heart and bid farewell to his wife. He promised her to get her back some day when he persuaded his mother to accept her. But Liu Lanzhi had no confidence about it. She went back to the home of her parents, to whom it was a disgrace that their daughter was sent back. So they had to marry their daughter to another man. The daughter could not disobey her parents and agreed to marry again. But in her mind, she determined to end her life to the rule that a woman should never remarry. The night before her wedding day to another man, she went out and threw herself in a pond near her home. When Jiao Chongqing heard of the death of his ex-wife, he hanged himself on the branch of a tree in the courtyard of his home. They were buried together at the foot of Huagai Mountain. Local people grew pine trees and cypresses around their grave. An anonymous poet wrote a long poem about their sad story.
    A legend developed that there were a pair of mandarin ducks flying about the trees, crying bitterly. Young couples in the subsequent dynasties came to visit their tomb in hopes that the deceased couple would bless them to have a happy result for their love.

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    23. Diao Chan (the third beauty of the four beauties)
    Diao Chan (?--?) was the third beauties of the four beauties in the history of China. (As for the fourth beauty Imperial Concubine Yang, please read my book Love Tales of Ancient China.) Her surname was Ren and her given name was also unknown. Her own parents were unknown, too. Being beautiful and clever, she was selected at the age of fifteen to enter the palace and appointed to be a handler of headwear for the empress and concubines. Her job title was Diaochan. Hence, historians called her Diaochan.
    Then there was a riot in the palace, and Diaochan escaped from the palace. She was then adopted by Wang Yong (137—192 AD) as his daughter. Wang Yong was an official of high rank towards the end of East Han dynasty. At that time, Dong Zhuo was in power as head of courtiers. He was a corrupt man. Wang Yong and other courtiers wanted to kill him. Once Cao Cao, a petty officer then, went to assassinate him, but failed and escaped. The event was that Cao Cao had a good dagger and knew that Dong Zhuo liked good weapons. Therefore, carrying the dagger, he went to see Dong Zhuo, who was then napping. When Cao Cao was about to draw out the dagger to stab Dong, suddenly Dong opened his eyes and asked Cao what he was doing. Cao said that he got a good dagger and came to offer it to Dong. As Dong took it, Cao bade farewell and fled out of the capital secretly.
    So Wang Yong had no chance to kill Dong. When he adopted the girl, a wonderful idea struck him. Dong was a lewd man and liked beautiful girls. Therefore, Wang Yong made up a scheme called “Beauty Entrapment.” Dong Zhuo had an adopted son by name of Luu Bu (?--199 AD), who was known as the bravest and more skillful knight at the time. Luu was young and still single.
    The trick was carried out like this. First Wang Yong invited Luu for dinner at home. When dinner went on midway, Wang let Diaochan come out to toast Luu. At the first sight of the girl, Luu fell in love with her right off as she was such a beauty. Wang thereby promised to marry the girl, declared as his daughter, to Luu. Luu was glad and grateful.
    Next day, Wang Yong invited Dong Zhuo for dinner at his home. When Dong came, Wang let Diaochan come out to toast Dong. The girl was declared to be a singsong girl to entertain guests. As she was so beautiful, Dong liked her at once. When dinner was over, Dong took the girl with him even without asking for the permission of Wang. If the girl was declared as Wang's daughter, Dong could not take her away so freely. But a singsong girl had no status in society, Dong could do anything with her as he liked. Because Dong was so powerful, Wang could not say NO to him. If the girl was declared to be his daughter, Wang could say NO. That was the point of the trick. So far so good for the ruse.
    A few days later, Luu Bu came to ask when the wedding could take place. Wang was silent. Luu inquired again, and again no answer. At last, Luu forced Wang for an immediate reply. Want sighed and said with tears in his eyes, “A few days ago, I invited your (adoptive) father for dinner. When he saw my daughter, he just took her away without even asking my permission.” Hearing this, Luu began to hate Dong for robbing him of his wife. But he did not go to see Dong to demand an explanation. He was a bit afraid of his adoptive father.
    One day, Luu came to Dong's residence and met Dong in the Fengyi Arbor in the garden. Chinese people liked to give names to their arbors and pavilions so that when they mentioned the names they knew where they would meet. When they were talking in the arbor, Diaochan intentionally came bringing cups of tea. She looked at Luu with teary eyes as if saying that she really loved Luu, but was unwillingly taken by Dong. Luu met with Diaochan's eyes, but he could say nothing before Dong. Dong detected the love eye contact between the girl and Luu. He flared up and wanted to kill Luu, but Luu ran away. When Dong told it to one of his advisers, he said that Dong should not offend such a brave general for a girl and that Dong should give the girl to Luu so Luu would be thankful to him and even willing to die for him. Dong considered it over and over and made his final decision to follow the advice. When he talked to the girl, she started to cry bitterly, saying that she did not like Luu, and that if she was forced to leave Dong, she would rather kill herself. Finally Dong let her stay with him. The trick went on smoothly.
    At last all courtiers encouraged and instigated Luu to kill Dong. They said that as a young hero, Luu should not let his wife be occupied by another man and that he must take her back. The only way to take the girl back was to kill Dong. Luu thus made up his mind and killed Dong. Then he took Diaochan to his residence and married her.
    No long afterwards, some Dong's followers revolted and Luu escaped with Diaochan to a small town called Xiapi. Wang Yong was killed by the followers. After the death of Dong Zhuo, Cao Cao rose in power and conquered the followers. Then he attacked Luu Bu, who was killed. As for the end of Diaochan, there were two legends. One was that she hanged herself to follow her husband Luu Bu to Hades. The other was that Cao Cao captured her after the death of Luu, and no one knew what became of her later.

  13. #28
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    24. Xie Daoyun (a famous poetess)
    Xie Daoyun (350—405 AD) was a famous poetess in the history. With the above two, Ban Zhao, Cai Wenji and she were known as the three talented women in the early history of China. She was the niece of Xie An (320—385 AD), a famous politician and general, and the daughter-in-law of Wang Xizhi (303—361 AD), a renowned calligrapher. The most known event of her was that one day in winter when it was snowing heavily, the flakes were hovering down. Xie An, one of his nephews and the girl were gathering to look at the flying snow flakes. Xie An asked who could use something in comparison to describe the flying snow flakes. The nephew said, “Casting salts into the air is the right comparison.” But the girl said, “It's better to compare it to the catkins flying in the wind.” Catkins were better comparison than salts to the snow flakes. So poets in subsequent dynasties said that she had catkin talent.
    It was a tradition that on the third day of her marriage, a girl could return to the home of her parents and the parents would inquire her what she felt about the marriage. So did her parents to her, she was dissatisfied with he husband. When her parents said that he was a good man without any defects in his character. She answered that he was okay, but a good-for-nothing while his cousins and his brother were all talented and had their own careers. Once the brother (also a famous calligrapher as the father) of her husband was cornered in a debate by a quest. She came out to his rescue. She put the guest in a corner by her eloquence and reasoning.
    Then some rebels came and killed her husband. When she heard of it, she ran out with a sword, but was captured after she killed several rebels. The leader of the rebels respected her bravery and faithfulness to her husband, and let her go. She lived the rest of her life as a widow. The magistrate learned her fame and came to visit her. She had a screen put between herself and the guest. They had a pleasant conversation. After it, the magistrate expressed his admiration of her talent.

  14. #29
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    25. Liu Chuyu (having thirty love mates)
    Liu Chuyu (446—465 AD) was princess Shanyin. Her husband (446—482 AD) was the son of an official of high rank. Once the princess said to the emperor, his brother, “We come from the same father. Although we have the difference of sex, why you can have many women while I can have only one man? It's not fair to me.” Therefore, the emperor, Liu Ziye (449—465 AD), got thirty handsome men for her. Courtier Zhu Yuan (435—482 AD) was very handsome. But he was an upright person.
    However, the princess wanted to take a look at him first, secretly, to see if she liked him. The emperor sent for the courtier in his royal study, and the princess peeped at him from behind a screen. After she set eyes on him, she liked him very much. She asked the emperor to let him accompany her for ten days. So the emperor ordered Zhu Yuan to stay in a special pavilion for ten days. In the night of the first day, the princess went to see him and wanted to sleep with him. But as soon as the princess approached him, Zhu Yuan stood up to salute the princess. For the whole night, he stood there with little move about. The princess said, “You look a man, but you don't act like a man.” He replied, “As a man, I can't do such a thing.” Whatever the princess did to force him, he would never give in. On the last day of the ten days, the princess had to let him go.
    Liu Yu (439—472 AD) was the uncle of the emperor. He always thought that the throne should belong to him. Then on the twenty-ninth day of the eleventh moon in 465 AD, he sent someone to kill the emperor and made himself the emperor, Emperor Ming. Next day, he gave an edict in the name of the empress dowager to order the princess to commit suicide for the reason that she was a lewd woman. The princess must obey the order of her mother. Therefore, she hanged herself.

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    26. Pan YuEr (a woman who could whip the emperor)
    Pan YuEr (?--?) was not only beautiful with white skin and fine figure, but the most famous feature of her beauty was her lovely little feet. She was born in a vendor's family. Her father, almost illiterate, gave her the name called Nizi (literally meaning “Little Girl”). Such a name was deemed vulgar. But her beauty attracted everyone who caught sight of her. They lived from hand to mouth, and so, when she grew into teenage, she often went to help her father sell things. She was familiar with market and trading. Once her mother had a chance to enter the palace as a wet nurse to feed the crown prince.
    It was not until 498 AD when the crown prince succeeded the throne and became the emperor. As he often heard the mother, his wet nurse, talk about the girl, he had always yearned for her. Now he sent for her to the palace and made her the imperial concubine. Her beauty stunned him as he first set eyes on her. Her white skin glittered like pure jade. So he changed her name to YuEr (literally meaning “Jade Girl”). He had a new hall built for her. The floor was covered with engraved lotus patterns so that every step of her landed her on a lotus pattern. It was called that her steps produced lotus flowers.
    Her feet were so small and lovely. He was a foot fetishist. He liked to caress her white feet and kiss her toes one by one and licked them in turns. Sometimes he bit her big toe and when she felt a big painful, she beat his back with a stick. And he liked it. He was a masochist. In the long Chinese history, Pan YuEr was the sole concubine who could beat the emperor like whipping a slave. Instead of a concubine waiting on the emperor, this emperor liked to wait on her. He made tea for her and massaged her back and legs.
    Once she said to the emperor that she had liked the life in a market place. Therefore, he built a market for her, and let maids and eunuchs play the roles of traders and customers. Sometimes, the emperor would let some traders pretend to offend some rules and be brought to the presence of Pan YuEr, who would decide how to punish them. She enjoyed this very much. Once YuEr pretended to be the owner of a wine shop and stood behind the counter to sell wine, and the emperor played the part of the customer. And sometimes the emperor acted like a butcher standing behind a booth to sell pork, and the concubine came as a buyer.
    This life style of the imperial couple enraged courtiers. Some of them criticized the emperor. The emperor killed them. He even killed his kinsfolk till one day his brother, afraid of being killed, too, could no longer endure it. He marched his troops to surround the capital and killed the emperor. He gave the girl to one of his generals as a reward for his merits. The general held a banquet to celebrate it. When all the guests wanted to see the beauty that they had heard of so much and so long, the general led them to his bedroom, where the girl should stay to wait for his arrival for the night. But as the door was opened they saw the girl hanging herself from the beam, and still looking beautiful.

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