Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Emperor Cheng of Han -- An Bi King who Ended Up in Woman’s Bed 

From A Decent Crown Prince to A Smart Monarch

Liu Ao (51 B. C. -- 7 B. C.), also respected as the Emperor Cheng of Han, was the son of Emperor Liu Shi, the 12th emperor of the Han Dynasty.

 

Liu Ao was a very good kid when he was young, for being quite respectful and polite; so his grandfather Emperor Liu Xun, one of the best emperors in Han, liked him a lot.

 

Consequently, even Ao and his mother were not appreciated by his father, he stayed safely as heir of the Han Dynasty.  

 

After Ao became the Emperor Cheng of Han, he realized that his father Liu Shi already lost many powers to the eunuch group and some powerful clans, which made it difficult for him to maintain absolute dominance.

 

In the beginning, Ao used some noble clans to crack down the strong eunuch group and annihilated their power; then he assigned his mother’s Wang clan to abate other aristocrats.

 

Afterwards, he and his mother’s clan obtained the absolute authority of the Han Empire. 

 

The Emperor Cheng of Han Liu Ao, then, selected some excellent officers who efficiently promoted the development of agriculture. He also commanded the officers to collect and edit books nationwide, which made great contribution to the preservation and dissemination of Chinese culture, bibliography and library science.

 

Under his ruling, borders were stable and people were living in peace.

 

First Queen and Male Lover of Emperor Cheng of Han

When Liu Ao was young, he had truly loved his queen, a beautiful and talented girl from his grandmother Xu Pingjun’s clan.

Years later, when his queen got older, Ao transferred his affection to an imperial concubine who was famous for her literature achievements and decency; there are still some writings of this gorgeous woman now. 

 

Till then, Ao was still a good emperor, who retrieved power, made contributions to agriculture and culture, kept peace in borders and loved women with good reputation and elegancy.

 

No one knows what exactly happened; his love life afterwards, however, was frequently criticized in the history of China. 

 

According to historical documents, Liu Ao, the Emperor Cheng of Han, was a bisexual person who used to be deeply in love with a handsome young man. He even assigned a noble born woman to marry to his lover, in order to provide him with an aristocrat status.

 

But after his lover possessed more power and occupied plenty of Ao’s attention, the empress dowager, Liu Ao’s mother, and her clan framed his lover up and expelled him far away.

 

Ao was very sad and had summoned him back from time to time, but he never dared to challenge his mother’s decision.

 

Years later, the Emperor Cheng of Han met his second queen and her sister, when he stopped seeing his male lover; then his lover got sick out of missing Liu Ao and passed away soon. 

Emperor Cheng of Han and His Dancer Queen

His second queen Zhao Feiyan was a stunningly beautiful dancer, and her sister Zhao Hede was as same gorgeous as her.

 

After the Emperor Cheng of Han met them and brought them back to his royal palace, he gave them his full attention.

 

Though the empress dowager didn’t like them and disagreed to nominate Feiyan as queen, Ao was very firm and insisted to do this. 

If a good monarch could keep working and stay responsible, as long as he was wearing the crown, then Liu Ao, the Emperor Cheng of Han, was definitely not one.

 

Gradually, he paid less attention to the management of the nation, and became more addicted to alcohol and beautiful women.

 

Especially after he met Feiyan and Hede, he spent most of his time enjoying life with them, while his mother and her clan did most of the administrative jobs and obtained more and more power.

 

Feiyan and Hede’s clan also occupied some political power and were given many privileges to manipulate the royal family, while Liu Ao fully condoned them.

Ending Up In A Beautiful Imperial Concubine's Bed

Liu Ao, the Emperor Cheng of Han, died in Hede’s bed out of a sudden at his 40s; Hede then committed suicide after hearing the empress dowager wanted to question her about the emperor’s death.

 

Ao’s children, those he and other women ever had, all died young; Feiyan and Hede never had a baby and didn’t allow other women to have one. Consequently, Ao left his empire with no sons to inherit the throne. 

 

One of Ao’s nephews ascended to the throne, while many social problems already existed and the extremely powerful Wang clan kept expanding.

 

People from this clan still listened to Ao, because of their family bond and Ao’s remaining authority.

As for the following emperors who were much younger and distant, however, were not that lucky.