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100 Famous Women in China

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 楼主| 发表于 9/24/2017 08:35:40 | 显示全部楼层
21. 荀灌娘 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.
 楼主| 发表于 10/1/2017 07:55:01 | 显示全部楼层
22, 劉蘭芝 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.
 楼主| 发表于 10/8/2017 08:03:21 | 显示全部楼层
23. 貂蟬 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.
 楼主| 发表于 10/15/2017 10:24:44 | 显示全部楼层
24. 謝道蘊 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.
 楼主| 发表于 10/22/2017 08:31:00 | 显示全部楼层
25. 劉楚玉 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.
 楼主| 发表于 10/29/2017 08:12:48 | 显示全部楼层
26. 潘玉兒 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.
 楼主| 发表于 11/5/2017 08:44:29 | 显示全部楼层
27. 徐昭佩 Xu Zhaopei (the woman having makeup on half of her face)
Xu Zhaopei (?--549 AD) was the wife of Emperor Yuan of Liang dynasty (502—557 AD), which was a short dynasty during the second warring period. In the twelfth moon of 517 AD, she went to where the emperor lived. On her way there, there were strong winds that blew down houses, then snow storm came. When she arrived there, there were pealing thunders that shattered a pillar. All these were considered as bad omen.
        After marriage, she bore a son and a daughter for him. As the emperor had one eye blind, Xu did not like him and was often rude to him. The emperor disliked her, too. Once when he went to her room, she only put the makeup on half of her face to imply that the emperor had only one eye good. So the emperor was enraged and seldom to see her ever since.
        She then had adultery with some other people. The first one was a monk and she often went to his temple. The second one was Ji, a favorite courtier of the emperor. They had the action in the temple, too. After the action, they lay on bed and composed poems to each other.
        Xu was a jealous woman. Whenever the emperor liked someone, she would find a way to murder her. Although the emperor disliked her, he liked her son and made him the crown prince. But the son died in a battle. The emperor forced her, the mother, to commit suicide. Finally she threw herself into a well and drowned inside it. Then the emperor revealed her lewd action to let people know it so that he forced her to make suicide was not without reason.
 楼主| 发表于 11/12/2017 09:58:16 | 显示全部楼层
28. 婁昭君 Lou Zhaojun (she married a common man, who became emperor finally)
Lou Zhaojun (501—562 AD) had a legendary life. Her father was a courtier of high rank. When she grew up, many official families came to see her father to ask for her hand, but she denied all the suitors. She wanted to find a man fit to be her husband.
        One day, she saw a man, a general, called Gao Huan (496—547 AD), doing some work at the battlements. She knew how to read the face. His face showed that he would be a leader of a state some day. Therefore, she married him. Although a general, he had no money. She gave him money and let him use it to make friends with all the known heroes of the time. Besides, she offered stratagems so that he could win merits in battles. He was promoted to be the premier.
        When Gao Huan got powerful enough, she helped him to establish a new state, named North Qi. Gao became the emperor and she was the empress. She had born six sons and two daughters for him. Three of her sons were emperors in different times. Her daughters both became empresses of other states. She was frugal by nature. As the empress she would weave and sew herself. She treated her own children and the children of other concubines equally. Once she made sacrifice for her husband.
        To strengthen his power for the situation, he should marry the princess of Ruru State. When he asked his empress if this was right for him to do, Empress Lou gave her ascent without hesitation. When Princess Ruru came, she let her be the empress and herself be the concubine. For that, she was praised by people in the small empire. The emperor had one wife and ten concubines. He had fifteen sons and three daughters in all.
        Once when she was pregnant and got into hard labor, someone wanted to send urgent massage to the emperor, but she would not agree. At last she gave birth to twin babies, a son and a daughter. When the emperor returned and learned the condition, he was greatly moved.
        Once he was defeated. A general came to offer to lead an army for the revenge. The emperor was glad and about to consent, but empress Lou said no. She explained that if the general had an army under command, whether he won or lost in the fight, he would never come back to obey him any more. He would be independent with an army in his control. So the emperor did not let the general go. The general later did betray another emperor in another state.
        When the emperor, Gao Huan, died, his eldest son Gao Cheng became the emperor. Lou Zhaojun, as empress dowager, controlled the power. When Gao Cheng died, her son Gao Yang took the throne. Not long later, Gao Yang died, too. His son, Gao Yin, succeeded the throne. Gao Yin was the grandson of Lou. As Gao Yin was not a good emperor, the empress dowager deposed him and made him Prince JiNan. Then her another son Gao Yan was made the emperor. Not long afterwards, Gao Yan also died. She made her another son Gao Zhan the emperor, and made two other sons the princes. She died at the age of sixty-two.
 楼主| 发表于 11/19/2017 09:19:27 | 显示全部楼层
29. 穆黃花 Mu Huanghua (an empress became the bawd)
Mu Huanghua (?--?) was the third empress of the emperor Gao Wei, the last emperor of North Qi dynasty. Her mother was a maid in the family of some courtier. Then she was raped by the courtier and bore the girl. When the girl grew up, she went to the palace. At first she was the maid of the first empress of the emperor. Once the emperor saw her and liked her. She became his concubine. In 572 AD, she was made the empress when the original empress died. In 577 AD, another state invaded North Qi and took the capital. The emperor and Mu had to escape. But the emperor was captured, and Mu ran away to ChangAn city, where to make her living, she opened a brothel and became the bawd. Her brothel was at the time well-known on both sides of the Yangtze River. This was a weird experience to her from an empress to a bawd.
 楼主| 发表于 11/26/2017 08:43:41 | 显示全部楼层
30. 花木蘭 Hua Mulan (the first of the four heroines)
Hua Mulan (412—502 AD) was one of four heroines in Chinese history, fighting in the battlefield. The other three were Fan Lihua (Tang dynasty), Mu Guiying (North Song dynasty), and Liang Hongyu (South Song dynasty). Her story goes back to the second warring period. She had an elder sister and younger brother. But both of them could not fight. When Mulan was still young, a minority in the north invaded her country. Then an order was issued that every family must have one man to join the army for defense against the invasion. Mulan's father was too old. Her brother was too young. When a little girl she liked to learn how to fight as her father knew the fighting skills. She was just grown up, and so she offered to go instead of her father,  but in disguise of a young man, using her brother's name,.
        At that time, the government of the country did not supply a fighter with necessary equipment such as weapon, horse, armor and helmet, etc. Therefore, she had to go to the market to buy all these for herself. She was attired as a man should wear. Then she rode to the registration at the recruit's site. She was sent to the frontier with other recruits. She fought bravely in the battlefields and won a lot of merits. No one knew that she was a woman. After twelve years, she returned victoriously. Then she was known to her fellow fighters that she was a woman, which was at the time deemed cheating. The  emperor received her and for her great merits, she was pardoned for the cheating of a good kind. The emperor wanted to let her be an official of high rank in the government, but she excused herself, saying that her father was old, and she must go home to take care of  him. So the emperor let her go.
        Her legend was written down in a long poem called “Song of Mulan.” In Tang dynasty, a temple was built in memory of her, and a statue of her was carved and put in the temple.
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