Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Fu Hao -- First Female General in the History of China and Wife of Four Kings 

Among around 10,000 pieces of oracle bone inscriptions excavated in China, about 200 of them were about queen Fu Hao (or Fu Zi).

 

Recently, Fu’s well preserved cemetery was found, which contained 1928 valuable and sophisticated burial articles.

 

Those ancient oracles and over 3000 years old art works buried with her, together, are telling the world the story of this brave queen.

From A Teenage Queen to An Exceptional Marshal 

Fu Hao was a high-born princess of a vassal state of the Shang Dynasty. After Fu Hao newly married to her ambitious husband, King Wu Ding, there was a big war on their northern border and had lasted for a while.

 

She strongly recommended herself as the general of Shang’s army; at that time, she was still a teenager girl.

 

Seeing those assigned generals couldn’t win this war for a long time, King Wu Ding then reluctantly sent Fu Hao, his young and beautiful queen, into the battle.

 

To everyone’s surprise, when their queen picked up her broad axe, she was quite a brave and genius militarist; their enemy was soon defeated and the Shang Empire achieved huge success. 

Fu Hao's Exceptional Military Achievements 

From that time on, Fu Hao became a respected and honorable marshal of Shang. In the meanwhile, she was also in charge of Shang’s important sacrificial ceremonies, which was the most distinguished position in that dynasty.

 

Together with her husband, they conquered lots of powerful states and largely extended Shang’s territory.

 

The biggest war during that period was commanded by her; she had led around 13,000 warriors successfully perished a strong nomadic regime. 

 

During King Wu Ding and Queen Fu Hao’s period, the Shang Dynasty also faced threats from the Indo-European migrations, like other ancient civilizations had. Many of those defeated regimes, especially those in the north and northwest of China, according to some sayings, were constituted of these powerful migrated people.

 

From another perspective, Fu Hao and her husband were heroes who defeated strong invaders and preserved their country and their civilization in the history of China. 

 

Love Life of Queen Fu Hao and Her Husband King Wu Ding

This excellent female marshal, moreover, was also a sweet wife. She and her husband had many children together, one of their sons became the next king.

 

Every time she came back from the war, her husband would waiting for her in the outside of the capital city; then they would ditch all of their guards, and spend lots of time together.

 

In addition, she was rewarded an independent vassal state, where she was the king with an army of 3000 soldiers on her own. 

 

Fu Hao's Sudden Death and Her Special Cemetery 

Unfortunately, she departed when she was 33 years old, because of a difficult birth, or a lethal wound from the wars.

 

Her husband was very sad; he buried Fu Hao under his own palace instead of their royal cemetery. This is also the reason why the Fu Hao’s tomb had never been opened before, since this was the only case in the history of China that a king built a cemetery inside his own palace.

 

After her death, the king still divined for several times to see if Fu Hao was doing well on the other side of the world. 

 

King Wu Ding then had other two queens, but they were just for political requirements.

 

Every time the country was about to have important battles, Wu Ding would lead all of his essential officials to hold a big sacrifice ceremony to Fu Hao, trying to seek blessing from her.  

 

Fu Hao's Other Three Marriages After Her Departure

Later, King Wu Ding was worried that Fu Hao was alone and might not be well taken care of in the other side, so he held a ceremony to marry Fu Hao to one of his ancestors, the 13th king of the Shang Dynasty.

 

Sometime later, he held some other big ceremonies and married Fu Hao to the 4th and the 1st king of Shang, hoping those powerful ancestors could take very good care of his love in the other world. 

 

Now, among Fu Hao's burial articles, her sophisticated weapons and bronze wares are presenting her exceptional military achievements, her gorgeous accessories and refined kitchen wares are reminding us that she was also a beautiful and virtuous queen.

 

Those inscriptions on bones, especially those in respect to divination, noted her husband Wu Ding’s endless concern and care for her. 

Beautiful Jade Phoenix in  Queen Fu Hao's Grave

Valuable Bronze Vessels

in Queen Fu Hao's Grave