Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Empress Dowager Feng -- From Maid to Successful Female Politician in the History of China 

From Imperial Maid to Empress Dowager 

Feng (442 -- 490) was born into a noble family, but her father was sentenced to death when she was little.

 

Then she was assigned to the royal palace as a maid. Luckily, Feng's aunt was the current king’s concubine, so she always looked after Feng, and recommended her to a prince. 

 

After Feng’s prince husband became the king, she was an imperial concubine and then became the queen when she was 15.

 

Feng was very beautiful and smart; sometimes she could make insightful suggestions on political issues, which impressed her husband often. They were indeed a good couple who loved each other deeply. 

 

But her husband departed at a very young age. 

 

When people were burning her late husband’s things, Feng rushed into the fire out of sudden.

 

She was rescued very soon; however, after that suicidal behavior, she became a very calm and strong empress dowager in the history of China. 

Abolishing the Next King to Revenge For Her New Lover

Afterwards, Feng was actually in charge of everything, because the next king, who was not her birth son and was raised by her, was only 12 years old.

 

Feng did a great job as an intelligent politician.

 

Three years later, Feng had her first grandson; she was very happy, and gave all the power back to the current king. 

 

Now she was only 25 years old.

 

Her king, the boy she raised up herself, however, was not happy with her romantic relationship with another man. So the king sentenced Feng’s lover to death, even he knew it was a frame up, and then abdicated the throne to his 4-year-old nephew. 

 

Someone said that the resigned king believed in Taoism and didn’t like politics; more people believed that he and Feng had a bad relationship after he killed her lover, so Feng forced him to leave.

However, this resigned king still led army won many wars and were widely respected by civilians.

 

Feng, ultimately, found an opportunity to capture and poison him to death; many people believed that she was threatened by his excellent achievements and good reputation. 

 

Taking Back of Power and Assisting of A Toddler King

Feng took power back and was in charge of the country again, in the name of assisting her grandson, the next toddler king.

 

She revenged the minister who framed up her lover before, then implemented a reform that developed agriculture and economy.

This time, she was even a better monarch.

As an excellent politician, Feng taught her grandson a lot and raised him well.

 

Though she was very strict and had been involved with some other handsome guys, the grandson king Yuan Hong, another excellent monarch in the history of China, always loved and respected her. 

 

As a monarch, Feng was smart, decisive, insightful and outstanding. She was a prototype of a statue in the famous Yungang Grottoes.

 

As a ruler, she was nice and forgiving, even when a cook accidentally left some insects in her food, he still wasn’t blamed.

 

After Feng departed, she was buried on top of a mountain as she required, instead of a fancy royal graveyard, hoping that she could watch her country from a better perspective.