The Qing Era part of the Biographical Database provides short biographies of individuals involved in the progress of Chinese and relative East Asian history during the Qing dynasty.
Chinese names will be alphabetically sorted according to Pinyin romanization of the Chinese name (they will appear without the pinyin accent marks). Older pronunciations, former romanizations, other translations and variations will be present next to the pinyin translation. There may be more than a few exceptions to this general rule, depending on the names most commonly associated with the person, independent of romanization issues, such as Chiang Kai-shek.
Where possible, names will include Chinese character references in either traditional (BIG5) or simplified (GB) characters or both.
Please follow this primer which defines the transliteration type and/or name type for entries:
- B5- Traditional characters (BIG 5)
- GB- Simplified characters (GB)
- Should both BIG5 and GB correspond, the character will be listed under B5.
- BN- Birth Name
- PY- Pinyin romanization
- WG- Wade Giles romanization
- W- Wylie
- Y- Yale romanization
- M- Manchurian
- J- Japanese
Western names will be alphabetically sorted according to western biographical standards, or by surname. If there is a Chinese equivalent, it will be present next to the western name.
Dates reflecting a time period before the year '0' in western terms, are categorized as BCE (Before the Common Era). This is equivalent to the widely used BC (Before Christ) and a.C.n. (Ante Christum Natum "before the birth of Christ"). Dates reflecting a time period after the year '0' are categorized as CE (in the Common Era). This is equivalent to the widely used AD (Anno Domini "In the Year of the Lord"). As the Chinese culture in the majority do not subscribe to the practice of Christianity as a religion, it seemed appropriate to signify these dates in a neutral manner.
Dates before October 1582 are given in the Julian calendar, not in the proleptic Gregorian calendar. Dates after October 1582 are given in the Gregorian calendar, not in the Julian calendar that remained in use in England until 1752.
An index to all terms in this database is located after the database entries.
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Aixin Jueluo Pujie
B5: 愛新覺羅溥傑; GB: 爱新觉罗溥杰; PY: Àixīn Juéluó Pǔjié; WG: Aisin-Gioro P'u Chieh; J: Aishinkakura Fuketsu (April 16, 1907- February 28, 1994)- Born into the Manchu Aisin-Gioro clan and was the younger brother of the last Emperor of China, Puyi. He was the second son of the 2nd Prince Chun and his wife Lady Aisin-Gioro.
Prince Pujie married firstly in 1924 Tung Shih-hsia, but they had no issue and were divorced in 1936.
During the Manchukuo era, and as his elder brother Puyi had no children, Pujie was first in line to succeed the Manchukuo Throne and the Japanese had him proclaimed as heir apparent. In 1938 he married a Lady Hiro Saga (1911- 1987), who was a relative of the Japanese Imperial Family. However, he was not appointed by his brother as heir to the Qing dynasty, because imperial traditions stated that a childless Emperor should choose his heir from one of the next generations of the family. Accordingly, in 1950 Puyi appointed his younger cousin Prince Yuyan as imperial heir.
Pujie was arrested by the Russian army after the fall of the Manchukuo empire (1945) and imprisoned in Siberia (1945- 1950) with his brother and other relatives. Later he was sent back to China and incarcerated in the Fu-shun prison.
As an aged man, Pujie was made a member of the CPPCC. He had two daughters by Hiro Saga: Princess Hui-sheng (1939- 1957), and Princess Yun-sheng (born 1941).
Clan name: Aixin-Jueluo; 愛新覺羅; Aisin-Gioro; Aisinjioro
Given name: Pujie; 溥傑; P'u Chieh
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Aixin Jueluo Puyi
SEE Xuantong Emperor of Qing
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Attiret, Jean Denis
B5: 王志誠; GB: 王志诚; PY: Wáng Zhì Chéng (July 31, 1702 Dole, France- December 8, 1768 Beijing, China)- French Jesuit painter and missionary to China. Jean Denis Attiret studied art in Rome and made himself a name as a portrait painter. While a Jesuit novice, he did paintings in the Cathedral of Avignon and the Sodality Chapel. He went to China in 1737 and was given the title "Painter to the Emperor" by the Qianlong Emperor. Because the emperor insisted on the use of a Chinese painting methods and styles, Attiret's painting eventually became entirely Chinese in style. Most of his works were paintings of natural subjects such as trees, fruit, fish and other animals done on glass or silk. But they also include portraits of members of the imperial court; altogether he is credited with at least 200 portraits. After successful military campaigns in Central Asia, the Qianlong Emperor commissioned depictions of the battles. The work was carried out by four Jesuit artists, among them Attiret. The group produced 16 tableaux, which were engraved in France in 1774, 6 years after Attiret's death.
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B5: 蔣友仁; PY: Jiǎng Yǒurén (October 8, 1715 Autun or Dijon, France- October 23, 1774 Beijing, China)- Jesuit scientist, who stood in the service of the Chinese Qianlong Emperor for thirty years and is most noted for the waterworks he constructed for the emperor.
Michel Benoist studied in Dijon and at St. Sulpice, Paris. He entered the Jesuit Novitate at Nancy on March 18, 1737. Before he went to China as a missionary in 1774 or 1775, he completed astronomical studies in Paris.
At the court of the Qianlong Emperor, Michel Benoist worked on the design of the Western-Style Palaces (Xi Yang Lou) on the grounds of the Old Summer Palace. In particular, he designed several large fountains, including a "water clock" in front of the Hall of National Peace. This clock consisted of a fountain basin surrounded by 12 statues depicting the animals of the Chinese zodiac each of which was associated with one of the 12 Chinese hours by the Earthly Branches System. Each of the statues would successively spew water for the duration of the hour it represented. Michel Benoist also conducted astronomical studies and showed the emperor how to use a telescope. Furthermore he produced a large world map and a map of the Chinese empire and neighboring territories. He set up a printing shop which produced prints from a set of copper engravings showing the battles of the emperor, which had been received as a gift of king Louis XV of France. Several literary works are attributed to him, including a translation of "The Imitation of Christ" into Chinese.
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Castiglione, Rev. Giuseppe SJ
B5: 郎世寧; GB: 郎世宁; PY: Láng Shìníng (July 19, 1688- 1766)- Italian painter, court artist and Jesuit missionary to China.
Born in Milan's San Macellino district, Castiglione studied painting in Italy with Carlo Cornara of the renowned Botteghe degli Stampator painting studio. In 1709, he became a Jesuit priest and in 1715, he went to China as a missionary. His skill as an artist was appreciated by the Emperor Qianlong and Castiglione spent many years painting various subjects. His style was a unique blend of European painting with Chinese subjects and themes. He was also in charge of designing the Western-Style Palaces in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.
While in China, Castiglione took the name Lang Shining (郎世宁). Apart from his paintings Castiglione also designed a summer palace for Emperor Qianlong. He died in Beijing.
In 2005, Castiglione became the subject of the television series Palace Artist in China, played by famed foreign actor Dashan (Mark Rowswell), and broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV).
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Cixi Taihou Empress Dowager
B5: 慈禧太后; PY: Cíxǐ Tàιhòu; WG: Tz'u-hsi (November 29, 1835- November 15, 1908)- Known in China as the Western Empress Dowager (西太后), and officially known posthumously as Empress Xiaoqin Xian (孝欽顯皇后), Powerful and charismatic figure who was the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, ruling over China for most of the period from 1861 to her death in 1908.
Historians consider that she probably did her best to cope with the difficulties of the era but her conservative attitudes did not serve her well and the Western powers continued to take advantage of the country's relatively low level of technological development.
Cixi was a major concubine of the Emperor Xianfeng (咸豐皇帝). Soon after Emperor Xianfeng died in 1861, Cixi along with Empress Ci'an (慈安太后) became regents for the deceased emperor's boy. The two Dowager Empresses, counseled by the late Emperor's brother, maintained this position until 1873 when Emperor Tongzhi (同治皇帝) came of age.
Two years later, the young man was dead. Cixi violated the normal succession and had her three year old nephew named the new heir. The two Dowager Empresses continued as regents until the death of Ci'an, the other Dowager Empress, in 1881, when Cixi became the de facto ruler of China.
When Emperor Guangxu (光緒皇帝), the nephew, attained maturity, Cixi retired to the country, though she kept herself informed through a network of spies. After China lost the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), Guangxu implemented many reforms in what came to be known as the "Hundred Days' Reform." In reaction, Cixi worked with the military and conservative forces to stage a coup d'etat and take power again as active regent, confining the emperor to his palace.
The next year, Cixi supported the forces behind the Boxer Rebellion, an anti-reform and anti-foreign rebellion. When foreign troops retaliated by entering the Forbidden City and capturing Peking (Beijing), Cixi accepted the offered peace terms. As appeasement, she eventually implemented the reforms that she had stopped her nephew from instituting. She continued to rule, her power much diminished, until her death in 1908. Emperor Guangxu died as she was dying, reportedly poisoned at her direction.
Her actual power surpassed that of another great Queen who was her contemporary, England's Queen Victoria. In addition to her part in the politics of her day, she's also remembered for her patronage of the arts including the opera, and the founding of the Peking Zoological Garden in 1906, later the first zoo to breed the giant panda.
Recent biographies of Cixi usually state that she was the daughter of a low-ranking Manchu official, Huizheng (惠征), of the Yehe-Nara (Yehonala) clan, serving in Shanxi province and then in Anhui province. Her mother, the principal wife of Huizheng, was the Lady Fuca, of the Manchu Fuca clan. Recent biographies are unable to decide where exactly Cixi was born. She is supposed to have spent most of her early life in Anhui (after a brief period in Shanxi), and then moved to Peking at an unknown age between her third and her fifteenth birthday. According to biographers, her father was sacked from civil service in 1853 (Cixi was already a concubine inside the Forbidden City at that time), allegedly for not resisting the Taiping Rebellion in Anhui province and deserting his post. Some biographers even state that her father was beheaded for his desertion.
Road To Power
The young Lady Yehenara was registered by her parents with the Imperial Court, as was required for all the Manchu girls of the empire, in order to keep track of potential concubines for the emperor. In September 1851 (or June 1852, depending on sources), she was summoned to the Forbidden City with other Manchu girls to undergo a selection process, in order to provide concubines for the new emperor Xianfeng, under the supervision of Concubine Dowager Kangci (康慈皇貴太妃) (1812-1855). Lady Yehenara was one of the few girls selected by Concubine Dowager Kangci on that occasion. Concubine Dowager Kangci was the highest ranking surviving concubine of the late emperor Daoguang, and so she was the woman with the highest status inside the Forbidden City. She was the de jure mother of Emperor Xianfeng, although not his biological mother. In 1840, at the death of Xianfeng's mother, Empress Xiaoquan Cheng (孝全成皇后), the then concubine of the first rank Jing (靜皇貴妃) had raised the 8-year-old boy, and when he had become Emperor Xianfeng in 1850 at the death of Emperor Daoguang, she had been made Concubine Dowager Kangci. She was thus in charge of selecting the empress and the concubines of Emperor Xianfeng. Concubine Dowager Kangci was also the biological mother of Prince Gong (恭親王), who would play an important role in the years to come.
On April 27, 1856, Lady Yehenara, then Concubine of the fourth rank Yi, gave birth to a son, the only son of Emperor Xianfeng, to be named heir, and later Tongzhi Emperor. Her status inside the Forbidden City thus dramatically changed, and she became the second highest ranking woman in the palace, just behind the empress consort (later known as Empress Dowager Ci'an).
On August 22, 1861, in the wake of the Second Opium War, the Xianfeng Emperor died at the Rehe Traveling Palace (熱河行宫) in Jehol (now Chengde), 230 km (140 miles) northeast of Beijing, where the imperial court had fled. His heir, the son of Lady Yehenara, was only 5 years old. Although many people believe that Lady Yehenara actually staged a coup to place her son on the throne, in fact, the Chinese Court system was so bound by rules and propriety that such would have been very difficult for anyone, and virtually impossible for a woman. Her husband and Emperor was on his deathbed, confined to his own quarters. By order of his advisors, mainly Su Shun, no one other than officials were allowed to see him, especially not women.
She went to fetch her son from his nanny and carried him into the Emperor's chambers. Had she been alone, she would not have been allowed inside. Since other officials were beside the Emperor, hoping that he would name an heir (as for Manchu it is not the first child, but appointment which inherits the throne), she placed her son beside his father and asked who would be the next Emperor. The dying Emperor appointed his son as heir and his two mothers as regents. Su Shun, along with other officials were extremely displeased, and nominated themselves and the empresses as regents. Officials had heard the emperor decree the Empresses as regents, but still Su kept one of the official seals and gave the other one to the Empresses. For the next few months, Su would face resistance from the Empresses, who were being advised by Prince Kung. At one point he even ordered food withheld from the Empresses quarters for 4 days. When all was over, the Empresses had Su Shun imprisoned and beheaded. She would now be known as Empress Dowager Cixi. Cixi became co-regent along with the less politically involved Empress Dowager Ci'an, ruling behind the curtain (a court official required that the two co-regents, both women, attend imperial audiences behind a curtain). Cixi then ruled China for most of the period from 1861 until her death in 1908.
Regency Under Tongzhi
For the next forty-seven years until her death in 1908, Cixi assumed the regency of the Empire of the Great Qing, along with co-regent Ci'an, first during the minority of the Tongzhi Emperor, then during the minority of the Guangxu Emperor after the premature death of Tongzhi in January 1875. Although in theory Ci'an had precedence over her, Cixi was the actual master of China. Ci'an seldom intervened in politics but inserted her will in what may have caused her death when she intervened in Cixi's politics in 1869. The most feared grand eunuch of the imperial court An Dehai (安德海), close confidant of Cixi, was on a trip south to buy some dragon robes for Cixi. While traveling in Shandong province, he used his power as an envoy of Cixi to extort money from people, which caused great trouble. The matter was reported to the court by the governor of Shandong, and Ci'an who heard about it ordered the immediate execution of An Dehai, who had been the all powerful figure at the imperial court until then. The execution of An Dehai is said to have greatly displeased Cixi.
Cixi was perceived by the majority in modern China to have sidelined the naive and candid Ci'an and ruled as a sole authority in her need for power. However, some historians have painted a very different reality, mainly that Cixi was a shrewd and intelligent woman who was ready to make sacrifices and work hard in order to obtain the supreme power, and who faced the complex problems that were besetting China at the time, while Ci'an was indulging in an easy life and did not care as much for government and hard work as she cared for her pleasures and sweet life inside the Forbidden City. As often, reality may lie in between these two extreme visions.
Securing Absolute Power
Empress Dowager Ci'an died suddenly on April 8, 1881, during an audience at the court. Rumors that her sudden death after a life of excellent health was a result of poisoning by Cixi started more than sixty years after the fact happened. At the time, Cixi herself was ill, with a liver condition that kept her in bed for 2 years. It is in court records that Cian died of viral flu. The death of Empress Dowager Ci'an gave sole power to Empress Cixi as remaining regent.
Crisis with Guangxu
Guangxu's coming of age when he was seventeen meant Cixi would relinquish her powers. The 1st Prince Chun, however, had continually insisted that Cixi continue the regency.
Overview of Politics
While seeking China's "self-strengthening" through weak and regionalized industrial and military growth, she opposed attempts at political modernization, staging a coup d'etat (September 21, 1898) against the political influence of the Guangxu Emperor to end the Hundred Days' Reform. She opposed the creation of a national army or navy. Cixi's contribution to the self-strengthening movement, though, could be frustratingly two-sided. Whilst she supported economic and military modernization, approving the construction of railways and factories and encouraging use of Western weapons and tactics, she was capable of holding back the programme through relatively simple acts. For her 60th birthday in 1895, Cixi relocated the astronomical sum of 30 million taels of silver, which had been earmarked for the construction of ten new warships, to pay for her birthday party. The Chinese Navy had recently lost most of its modern warships in the 1894 First Sino-Japanese War, and urgently needed the money to rebuild a high-tech fleet. However, instead of using the money to safeguard China's military security, Cixi instead chose to use the money for a party.
In 1900, Cixi's support of the self-strengthening movement was again called into question when the Boxer Rebellion broke out in northern China. Eager to preserve traditional Chinese values, Cixi threw in her lot with the rebels, making an official announcement of her support for the movement. When the Westerners responded by dispatching the Eight-Nation Alliance, the Chinese military, badly underdeveloped due to Cixi's habit of filching military funds, was unable to prevent the high-tech Allied army from marching on Peking and seizing the Forbidden City. Determined to prevent another Chinese rebellion, the Western powers imposed a humiliating treaty on China, and Cixi, with no military forces capable of protecting even her own palace, was forced to sign. The treaty demanded the presence of an international military force in China and the payment of £67 million (almost $333 million) in reparations.
Cixi died on November 15, 1908, after having installed Puyi as the new emperor of the Qing Dynasty on November 14.
Cixi was interred amidst the Eastern Qing Tombs (清東陵), 125 km (75 miles) east of Beijing, in the Dingdongling (定東陵) tomb complex (literally: the "Tombs east of the Dingling tomb"), along with Empress Dowager Ci'an. More precisely, Ci'an lies in the Puxiangyu Dingdongling (普祥峪定東陵) (literally: the "Tomb east of the Dingling tomb in the Vale of wide good omen"), while Cixi built herself the much larger Putuoyu Dingdongling (菩陀峪定東陵) (literally: the "Tomb east of the Dingling tomb in the Vale of Putuo"). The Dingling tomb (literally: the "Tomb of quietude") is the tomb of the Xianfeng Emperor, the emperor of Ci'an and Cixi, which is located indeed west of the Dingdongling. The Vale of Putuo owes its name to Mount Putuo (literally: the "Mountain of the Dharani of the Site of the Buddha's Enlightenment"), at the foot of which the Dingdongling is located.
Cixi, unsatisfied with her tomb, ordered its destruction and reconstruction in 1895. The new tomb was a lavish grandiose complex of temples, gates, and pavilions, covered with gold leaves, and with gold and gilded-bronze ornaments hanging from the beams and the eaves. In July 1928, Cixi's tomb was occupied by warlord and Kuomintang general Sun Dianying (孫殿英) and his army who methodically stripped the complex of its precious ornaments, then dynamited the entrance to the burial chamber, opened Cixi's coffin, threw her corpse (said to have been found intact) on the floor, and stole all the jewels contained in the coffin, as well as the massive pearl that had been placed in Cixi's mouth to protect her corpse from decomposing (in accordance with Chinese tradition). It was said that the large pearl on Cixi's crown was offered by Sun Dianying to Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek and ended up as an ornament on the gala shoes of Chiang's wife, Soong May-ling.
After 1949, the complex of Cixi's tomb was restored by the People's Republic of China, and it is still today one of the most impressive imperial tombs of China.
The traditional view is that Cixi was a devious despot who maintained a deathgrip on what little power she had until that power faded out completely. Three years after her death, the Qing dynasty was itself overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution. However, some authors, such as Sterling Seagrave in his biography The Dragon Lady maintain a far more positive view of Cixi, arguing that she has been unfairly maligned and when seen more closely, her actions were reasonable responses to the difficulties that China faced. Another sympathetic account can be found in Anchee Min's historical novel Empress Orchid (2004). The China Central Television production Towards the Republic (走向共和) portrayed Cixi as a capable ruler, albeit not entirely positive -- for the first time in the history of Mainland Chinese television, although it also clearly demonstrated her political views as very conservative. While considering her frequent portrayal as a despot, one must bear in mind the traditional Confucian idea widely held in her day that women in general, and especially influential women, caused trouble and were not to be trusted (a similar demonization has occurred with Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty).
Pearl S. Buck's novel Imperial Woman chronicles the life of the Empress Dowager from the time of her selection as a concubine until near to her death. Cixi is portrayed as a stern, motivated woman who stands to the old ways of life and government and resists the changes brought by westerners. Cixi's actions on behalf of the two Emperors that she raised and her own actions are all accounted for and rationalized as being for the good of her people and her country.
Katherine Carl, a painter who spent some ten months with the Empress Dowager Cixi in 1903 to paint Cixi's portrait for the St. Louis Exposition, wrote a book about her experience, With the Empress Dowager, published in 1905. In the book's introduction, Carl says she wrote the book because "After I returned to America, I was constantly seeing in the newspapers (and hearing of) statements ascribed to me which I never made."
In her book, Carl describes the Empress Dowager Cixi as a kind and considerate woman for her station. Cixi, though shrewd, had great presence, charm, and graceful movements resulting in "an unusually attractive personality." Cixi loved dogs and had a kennel maintained by eunuchs at the Summer Palace where she had "some magnificent specimens of Pekingese pugs and of a sort of Skye terrier." She did not like cats and some of the eunuchs who had cats made sure to keep them "within rigid bounds, on no condition allowing them to come within Her Majesty's ken." Cixi enjoyed flowers and the staff of the Summer Palace ensured the rooms and courtyards were kept properly dressed with cut flowers.
The Empress Dowager understood loyalty and practiced it with her retinue. Carl while describing the Palace staff says: "Among these is a Chinese woman who nursed Her Majesty through a long illness, about twenty-five years since, and saved her life by giving her mother's milk to drink. Her Majesty, who never forgets a favor, has always kept this woman in the Palace. Being a Chinese, she had bound feet. Her Majesty, who cannot bear to see them even, had her feet unbound and carefully treated, until now she can walk comfortably. Her Majesty has educated the son, who was an infant at the time of her illness, and whose natural nourishment she partook of. This young man is already a Secretary in a good yamen (government office)."
Cixi enjoyed boating on the lake at the Summer Palace, walks through the gardens and grounds of the Palace (actually the Imperial family rode in sedan chairs so the eunuchs did the majority of the walking), and presentations of Chinese opera in the Summer Palace Opera house. Cixi smoked Chinese water pipes as well as European cigarettes through a cigarette holder. At an age of 69, Cixi was in sufficiently good physical shape that when providing a tour of the Summer Palace Opera House to Carl, Cixi "mounted the steep and difficult steps with as much ease and lightness as I did, and I had on comfortable European shoes, while she wears the six-inch-high Manchu sole in the middle of her foot, and must really walk as if on stilts."
She is said to have invented the board game Eight Fairies Travel Across The Sea, which is still popular today as "Eight Fairies Chess".
A film called Lover of the Last Empress (慈禧秘密生活, 1995) was made about her path to become the ruler of the Empire.
The novel, Empress Orchid, written by Anchee Min (2001) details a historically-fictional account of the Empress' life.
Cixi had different names at different stages of her life, which could be quite confusing. Moreover, most of her Western biographers, who in general do not read Chinese, frequently confuse these names.
The name of Cixi at birth is still unresolved. Upon her entrance into the Forbidden City, Cixi was registered as "the Lady Yehenara, daughter of Huizheng" (惠征). Thus she was called by the name of her clan, the Yehe-Nara, as was customary for Manchu girls. Cixi was a secretive person, and she seldom talked about her childhood. After she came to power, the subject of her life before entering the palace was taboo, so it is no surprise that records of her original name as well as her youth were lost.
When she entered the Forbidden City in September 1851 (or June 1852, depending on the source), Cixi was made a concubine of the fifth rank (貴人), and she was given the name Lan (蘭 meaning "orchid"). Her name was thus "Concubine of the fifth rank Lan" (蘭貴人). At the end of December 1854 or the beginning of January 1855, she was promoted to concubine of the fourth rank (嬪), and her name was changed to Yi (懿 meaning "virtuous"). Her name then became "Concubine of the fourth rank Yi" (懿嬪). On April 27, 1856, she gave birth to a son, the only son of Emperor Xianfeng (the empress consort had been unsuccessful in producing an heir), and was immediately made "Concubine of the third rank Yi" (懿妃). In February 1857 she was again elevated and made "Concubine of the second rank Yi" (懿貴妃).
Towards the end of August 1861, following the death of Emperor Xianfeng, Cixi's five year-old son became the next emperor- Emperor Tongzhi, whose reign officially started in 1862). Cixi was made "Holy Mother¹ Empress Dowager" (聖母皇太后), though she was not the empress consort while Emperor Xianfeng was alive. She was privileged to become empress dowager only because she was the biological mother of Emperor Tongzhi. She was also given the honorific name (徽號) Cixi- meaning "motherly and auspicious". The former empress consort was made "Empress Mother Empress Dowager" (母后皇太后), a title giving her precedence over Cixi, and was given the honorific name Ci'an- meaning "motherly and calming". As she dwelled in the western section of the Forbidden City, Cixi became popularly known as the Western Empress Dowager, while Ci'an became known as the Eastern Empress Dowager for the same reason.
On seven occasions since 1861, Cixi was given additional honorific names (two Chinese characters at a time), as was customary for emperors and empresses, until by the end of her reign her name was a long string of 16 characters starting with Cixi (as empress dowager she had the right to nine additions, giving a total of 20 characters, had she lived long enough for it).
At her death, her official name was:
The Current Holy Mother Empress Dowager Cixi; Duanyou Kangyi Zhaoyu Zhuangcheng Shougong Qinxian Chongxi of the Empire of the Great Qing; 大清國當今慈禧端佑康 頤昭豫莊誠壽恭欽獻崇熙聖母皇太后
The short form was:
The Current Holy Mother Empress Dowager of the Empire of the Great Qing; 大清國當今聖母皇太后
At the time, Cixi was also addressed as "Venerable Buddha" (老佛爺) – literally "Master³ Old Buddha". This was not a title created for her, as is often but wrongly stated by Western biographers, but an official form of address used for all the emperors of the Qing Dynasty, who were devoted Buddhists. Cixi liked to be treated like a man, and insisted on her subjects using words reserved for men when addressing her. As the de facto ruler of China, she was revered with the phrase "Long Live the Empress Dowager for ten thousand years", by convention only used on Emperors, during official and ceremonial occasions. Empress dowagers usually enjoyed only "a thousand years" of long life.
At her death in 1908, Cixi was given a posthumous name which combined her honorific names with new names added just after her death.
Posthumous name (long):
Empress Xiaoqin Cixi Duanyou Kangyi Zhaoyu Zhuangcheng Shougong Qinxian Chongxi Peitian Xingsheng Xian; 孝欽慈禧端佑康頤昭豫莊誠壽恭欽獻崇熙配天興聖顯皇后
This long name is still the one that can be seen on Cixi's tomb today.
Posthumous name (short):
Empress Xiaoqin Xian; 孝欽顯皇后
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Spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and formerly the ruler of Tibet. The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of the Buddha. When he dies, his soul is thought to enter the body of a newborn boy, who, after being identified by traditional tests, becomes the new Dalai Lama.
The first to bear the title of Dalai Lama was Sonam Gyatso, grand lama of the Drepung monastery and leader of the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect, who received it in 1578 from the Mongol chief Altan Khan; it was then applied retroactively to the previous leaders of the sect. In 1642 another Mongol chief, Gushri Khan, installed the fifth Dalai Lama as Tibet's spiritual and temporal ruler. His successors governed Tibet-first as tributaries of the Mongols, but from 1720 to 1911 as vassals of the emperor of China.
When the Chinese Communists occupied Tibet in 1950, they came into increasing conflict with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. He left the country after an unsuccessful rebellion in 1959 and thereafter lived in India. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for leading the nonviolent opposition to continued Chinese rule in Tibet. In 1995 the Dalai Lama came into conflict with Chinese authorities over the identification of a new Panchen Lama (the second most senior Tibetan religious authority). In 1996 he published Violence and Compassion, in which he and French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière consider topics of political and spiritual interest.
SEE Gayatso, Thubten (13th Dalai Lama)
SEE Gayatso, Tenzin (14th Dalai Lama)
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Daoguang Emperor of Qing
B5: 道光; PY: Dàoguāng; WG: Tao-kuang; M: Doro Eldengge; BN: Aixin Jueluo Mianning1; B5: 愛新覺羅綿寧; GB: 爱新觉罗绵宁; Àixīn Juéluó Miánníng (September 16, 1782- February 25, 1850)- Eighth emperor of the Manchu Qing dynasty, and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1820 to 1850.
He was born in the Forbidden City, Beijing, and was given the name Mianning (綿寧), changed into Minning (旻寧) when he became emperor: the first character of his private name was changed from Mian (綿) to Min (旻) so that his brothers and cousins of the same generation would not have to change the first character of their names (a character identical for all relatives of the same generation), which they should normally have done given that the private name of an emperor is taboo and cannot be written or pronounced. This novelty was introduced by his grandfather the Qianlong Emperor who thought it not proper to have a whole generation of people in the imperial family changing their names on an emperor's accession to the throne.
He was the second son of Yongyan (永琰), who became the Jiaqing Emperor in 1796. His mother, the principal wife of Yongyan, was Lady Hitara, of the (Manchu) Hitara clan, who became empress when Jiaqing ascended the throne in 1796. She is known posthumously as Empress Xiaoshu Rui (孝淑睿皇后).
Reign as Emperor and the Opium Trade
Daoguang inherited a declining empire with western imperialism encroaching upon the doorsteps of China. During his reign China experienced major problems with opium, which was imported into China by British merchants. Opium had started to trickle into China during the reign of his great grandfather Emperor Yongzheng but were only limited to about 200 boxes annually. By Emperor Qianlong's reign, the amount had increased to 1000 boxes, 4000 boxes by Jiaqing's era and more than 30,000 boxes during Daoguang's reign. He made many edicts against opium in the 1820s and 1830s, which was carried out by the famous Lin Zexu. Whilst Lin Zexu's effort to halt the spread of opium in China was quite successful, but with the onslaught of the First Opium War, Lin quickly fell out of favor and the Daoguang emperor suddenly relinquished Lin's authority and banished him to Xinjiang. Daoguang's decision was a blow to China's effort to halt the influx of opium and deepened the European's resolution to enter the vast Chinese market which eventually led to the First Opium War against Britain. Technologically and militarily inferior to the European powers and coupled by the incompetence of the Qing government, China lost this war and was forced to surrender Hong Kong at the Treaty of Nanking in August, 1842. Henceforth, Daoguang became the first emperor of the Qing dynasty to have lost a portion of its sovereign territories.
Father: Emperor Jiaqing
Mother: Empress Xiaoshu Rui, ( Lady Hitara )
Empress Xiaoquan Cheng, ( 1808 - 1840 ) of the Niuhuru clan
Empress Xiaojing Cheng.
Zhuangsun Huang Kuai Fei, natural birth mother of First Prince Chun
Emperor Xianfeng, son of Empress Xiaoquan Cheng
Yixin, the Prince Gong
Yixuan, the First Prince Chun
Death and Legacy
Daoguang died on February 25, 1850 at the Old Summer Palace (圓明園), 8 km/5 miles northwest of the walls of Beijing. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son. Daoguang failed to realized the resolution of the Europeans and although the Europeans were outnumbered, outgunned and were at a disadvantage of being thousands of miles away from home, Daoguang did not use this to his advantage. He had a poor understanding of the British and the industrial revolution Britain had undergone but instead turned a blind eye to the rest of the world. It was said that Daoguang did not even know where Britain was located in the world. His 30 years reign introduced the initial onslaught by western imperialism and foreign invasions that would plagued China, in one form or another, for the next one hundred years.
He was interred amidst the Western Qing Tombs (清西陵), 120 kilometers/75 miles southwest of Beijing, in the Muling (慕陵 - meaning "Tomb of longing", or "Tomb of admiration") mausoleum complex.
Clan name: Aixin-Jueluo (愛新覺羅) Aisin-Gioro; Aisinjioro
Given name: Mianning (綿寧), later Minning (旻寧)1
Dates of reign: 3 October 1820- 1825 February 1850
Era name: Daoguang (道光 ; Tao-kuang) Doro Eldengge (Manchurian)
Era dates: 3 February 1821- 1831 January 1851
Temple name: Xuanzong (宣宗)
Posthumous name: (short)
Emperor Cheng2; 成皇帝
Posthumous name (full):
Emperor Xiotian Fuyun Lizhong Tizheng Zhiwen Shengwu Zhiyong Renci Jianqin Xiaomin Kuanding Cheng;
1- The first character of his private given name was changed in 1820 when he ascended the throne.
2- Cheng means "the Completer" (i.e. he who puts down uprisings and perfects the foundation of the state).
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Gayatso, Tenzin (14th Dalai Lama)
Tibetan: བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ; Transliterations: Dainzin Gyaco; Chinese: 丹增嘉措; PY: Dānzēng Jiācuò; W: bstan ’dzin rgya mtsho (6 July 1935- )-
is the 14th Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader revered among the people of Tibet. He is the head of the government-in-exile based in Dharamshala, India. Tibetans traditionally believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors.
The Dalai Lama was born fifth of 16 children to a farming family in the village of Taktser. His first language was the regional Amdo dialect. He was proclaimed the tulku or rebirth of the 13th Dalai Lama at the age of two. In 1950 the army of the People's Republic of China invaded the region. One month later, on 17 November 1950, he was formally enthroned as Dalai Lama: at the age of fifteen, he became the region's most important spiritual leader and political ruler.
In 1951, the Chinese military pressured the Dalai Lama to ratify a seventeen-point agreement which permitted the People's Republic of China to take control of Tibet. He fled through the mountains to India following the failed 1959 uprising, and the effective collapse of the Tibetan resistance movement. In India he set up a government-in-exile.
The most influential figure of the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, he has considerable influence over the other sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The Chinese government regards him as the symbol of an outmoded theocratic system. Along with the 80,000 or so exiles that followed him, the Dalai Lama strives to preserve traditional Tibetan education and culture.
Circumstances in Tibet have in more recent years sparked an international protest movement, including the attempted disruption of the 2008 Olympic Games. In March 2008 the Dalai Lama called for an international inquiry into China's treatment of Tibet, which he said amounted to cultural genocide.
A noted public speaker worldwide, the Dalai Lama is often described as charismatic. He is the first Dalai Lama to travel to the West, where he seeks to spread Buddhist teachings and to promote ethics and interfaith harmony. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was given honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006, and was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal in October 2007. He has received more than 100 honorary conferments and major awards.
On 17 December 2008, after months of speculation, the Dalai Lama announced his semi-retirement. He said that the future course of the movement he had led for nearly five decades would now be decided by the elected parliament-in-exile under the prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche. The 73-year-old Nobel laureate, who had recently undergone surgery, told reporters in Dharamshala, "I have grown old.... It is better if I retire completely and get out of the way of the Tibetan movement."
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Gayatso, Thubten (13th Dalai Lama)
Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་; Transliterations: Tubdain Gyaco, Thupten Gyatso, Thubten Gyatso; Chinese: 土燈嘉措; PY: Tudeng Jiācuò; W: thub bstan rgya mtsho (February 12, 1876- December 17, 1933)-
In 1878, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. He was escorted to Lhasa and given his pre-novice vows by the Panchen Lama, Tenpai Wangchuk, and named "Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal". In 1879, he was enthroned at the Potala Palace, but did not assume political power until 1895, after he had reached his majority. Thubten Gyatso was an intelligent reformer who proved himself a skillful politician when Tibet became a pawn in the great game between Imperial Russia, China, and the British Empire. He was responsible for countering the British expedition to Tibet, restoring discipline in monastic life, and increasing the number of lay officials to avoid excessive power being placed in the hands of the monks.
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Johnston, Sir Reginald Fleming
(1874–1938)- Scottish academic, diplomat and pedagogue and the teacher of Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, and later appointed as commissioner of British-held Weihaiwei.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he studied at University of Edinburgh and later Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1898, he entered into colonial service and worked in Hong Kong. In 1919, he was elected tutor of thirteen-year-old Pu Yi who still lived inside the Forbidden City in Beijing. When Pu Yi was expelled from the Old Palace in 1924, Johnston returned to Britain and became a professor at the School of Oriental Studies University of London. In 1926, he was appointed as commissioner of Weihaiwei, a leased territory in Shandong Province. He ruled the colony in a manner similar to a Chinese mandarin until Weihaiwei was returned to the Republic of China in Nanjing on October 1, 1930.
He retired to return to Scotland and lived on the small island of Eilean Righ in Loch Craignish, in which his ashes after cremation were scattered. He died in Edinburgh.
Johnston's book Twilight in the Forbidden City, a bestseller in the 1930s, describes his experiences in Beijing and was used as a source for Bernardo Bertolucci's film dramatization of Pu Yi's life The Last Emperor. He was portrayed by Peter O'Toole in the film.
Johnston Road in Wanchai, Hong Kong, is named after him.
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Kangxi Emperor of Qing
B5: 康熙; PY: Kāngxī; WG: K'ang-hsi; BN: Aixin- Jueluo Xuanye; B5: 愛新覺羅玄燁; GB: 爱新觉罗玄烨; PY: Aìxīn Júelúo Xuányè (May 4, 1654- December 20, 1722)- Third Emperor of the Manchu Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over all of China, from 1661 to 1722. He is known as one of the greatest Chinese emperors in history. His reign of 61 years makes him the longest-reigning Emperor of China in history, though it should be noted that having ascended the throne aged 8, he did not exercise much, if any control, over the empire, until later, that role being fulfilled by his 4 guardians and his grandmother the Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang.
The Beginning of the Reign
Technically, the Kangxi Emperor inherited his father Shunzhi's throne at the age of eight. His father died in his early twenties, and as Kangxi was not able to rule in his minority, the Shunzhi Emperor appointed Sonin, Suksaha, Ebilun, and Oboi as the Four Regents. Sonin died soon after his granddaughter was made the Empress, leaving Suksaha at odds with Oboi politically. In a fierce power struggle, Oboi seized absolute power as sole Regent. For a while Kangxi and the Court accepted this arrangement. In 1669 the Emperor arrested Oboi with help from the Grand Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang and began to take control of the country himself.
In the spring of 1662, Kangxi ordered the Great Clearance in southern China, in order to fight the anti-Qing movement, begun by Ming Dynasty loyalists under the leadership of Zheng Chenggong (also known as Koxinga), to regain Beijing. This involved moving the entire population of the coastal regions of southern China inland.
He listed three major issues of concern, being the flood control of the Yellow River, the repairing of the Grand Canal and the Revolt of the Three Feudatories in South China. The Revolt of the Three Feudatories broke out in 1673 and Burni of the Chakhar Mongols also started a rebellion in 1675.
The Revolt of the Three Feudatories presented a major challenge. Wu Sangui's forces had overrun most of southern China and he tried to ally himself with local generals. A prominent general of this kind was Wang Fuchen. Kangxi, however, united his court in support of the war effort and employed capable generals to crush the rebellion. He also extended commendable clemency to the common people who had been caught up in the fighting.
Kangxi crushed the rebellious Mongols within two months and incorporated the Chakhar into the Eight Banners. After the surrender of the Zheng family, the Qing Dynasty annexed Taiwan in 1684. Soon afterwards, the coastal regions were ordered to be repopulated, and to encourage settlers, the Qing government gave a pecuniary incentive to each settling family.
In a diplomatic success, the Kangxi government helped mediate a truce in the long-running Trinh-Nguyen War in the year 1673. The war in Vietnam between these two powerful clans had been going on for 45 years with nothing to show for it. The peace treaty that was signed lasted for 101 years (Vietnam, Trials and Tribulations of a Nation by D. R. SarDesai, pg. 38, 1988).
Russia and the Mongols
At the same time, the Emperor was faced with the Russian advance from the north. The Qing Dynasty and the Russian Empire fought along the Sahaliyan ula (Amur, or Heilongjiang) Valley region in 1650s, which ended with a Qing victory. The Russians invaded the northern frontier again in 1680s. After series of battles and negotiations, the two empires signed the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689 giving China the Amur valley and fixing a border.
At this time the Khalkha Mongols preserved their independence and only paid tribute to the Manchu Empire. A conflict between the Houses of Jasaghtu Khan and Tösheetü Khan led another dispute between the Khalkha and the Dzungar Mongols over influence over Tibetan Buddhism. In 1688 Galdan, the Dzungar chief, invaded and occupied the Khalkha homeland. The Khalkha royal families and the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu crossed the Gobi Desert, sought help from the Qing Dynasty and, as a result, submitted to the Qing. In 1690, the Zungar and the Manchu Empire clashed at the battle of Ulaan Butun in Inner Mongolia, during which the Qing army was severely mauled by Galdan. In 1696, the Kangxi Emperor himself led the campaign against the Zungars. The Western section of the Qing army crushed Galdan's army at the Battle of Dsuunmod and Galdan died in the next year. The Zungars continued to threaten China and invaded Tibet in 1717. They took Lhasa with an army 6,000 strong in response to the deposition of the Dalai Lama and his replacement with Lha-bzan Khan in 1706. They removed Lha-bzan from power and held the city for two years, destroying a Chinese army in 1718. Lhasa was not retaken until 1720.
The Kangxi Emperor ordered the compiling of the most complete dictionary of Chinese characters ever put together, The Kangxi Dictionary. He also invented a very useful and effective Chinese calendar.
In many ways this was an attempt to win over the Chinese gentry. Many scholars still refused to serve a foreign conquestion dynasty and remained loyal to the Ming Dynasty. Kangxi persuaded many scholars to work on the dictionary without asking them to formally serve the Qing. In effect they found themselves gradually taking on more and more responsibilities until they were normal officials.
Twice Removing the Crown Prince
One of the greatest mysteries of the Qing Dynasty was the event of Kangxi's will, which along with three other events, are known as the "Four greatest mysteries of the Qing Dynasty". To this day, whom Kangxi chose as his successor is still a topic of debate amongst historians, even though, supposedly, he chose Yongzheng, the 4th Prince. Many claimed that Yongzheng faked the will, and some suggest the will had chosen Yinti, the 14th Prince, who was apparently the favorite, as successor.
Kangxi's first Empress gave birth to his second surviving son Yinreng, who was at age 2 named Crown Prince of the Great Qing Empire, which at the time, being a Han Chinese custom, ensured stability during a time of chaos in the south. Although Kangxi let several of his sons to be educated by others, he personally brought up Yinreng, intending to make him the perfect heir. Yinreng was tutored by the esteemed mandarin Wang Shan, who was deeply devoted to the prince, and who was to spend the latter years of his life trying to revive Yinreng's position at court. Through the long years of Kangxi's reign, however, factions and rivalries formed. Those who favored Yinreng, the 4th Imperial Prince Yinzhen, and the 13th Imperial Prince Yinxiang had managed to keep them in contention for the throne. Even though Kangxi favored Yinreng and had always wanted the best out of him, Yinreng did not prove co-operative. He was said to have very cruel habits, beaten and killed his subordinates, alleged to have had sexual relations with one of Kangxi's concubines, which was defined as incest and a capital offense, and purchased young children from the Jiangsu region for his pleasure. Furthermore, Yinreng's supporters, led by Songgotu, had gradually developed a "Crown Prince Party". The faction, among other objectives, wished to elevate Yinreng to the Throne as soon as possible, even if it meant using unlawful methods.
Over the years the aging Emperor had kept constant watch over Yinreng, and he was made aware of many of his flaws. The relationship between father and son gradually worsened. Many thought that Yinreng would permanently damage the Qing Empire if he were to succeed the throne. But Kangxi himself also knew that a huge battle at court would ensue if he was to abolish the Crown Prince position entirely. Forty-six years into Kangxi's reign (1707), Kangxi decided that "after twenty years, he could take no more of Yinreng's actions, which he partly described in the Imperial Edict as "too embarrassing to be spoken of", and decided to demote Yinreng from his position as Crown Prince.
With Yinreng rid of and the position empty, discussion began regarding the choice of a new Crown Prince. Yinzhi (胤禔), Kangxi's eldest surviving son, the Da-a-go, was placed to watch Yinreng in his newly found house arrest, and assumed that because his father placed this trust in himself, he would soon be made heir. The 1st Prince had at many times attempted to sabotage Yinreng, even employing witchcraft. He went as far as asking Kangxi for permission to execute Yinreng, thus enraging Kangxi, which effectively erased all his chances in succession, as well as his current titles. In Court, the Eighth Imperial Prince, Yinsi, seemed to have the most support among officials, as well as the Imperial Family.
In diplomatic language, Kangxi advised that the officials and nobles at court to stop the debates regarding the position of Crown Prince. But despite these attempts to quiet rumours and speculation as to who the new Crown Prince might be, the court's daily businesses were strongly disrupted. Furthermore, the 1st Prince's actions led Kangxi to think that it may have been external forces that caused Yinreng's disgrace. In the Third Month of the 48th Year of Kangxi's reign (1709), with the support of the 4th and 13th Imperial Princes, Kangxi re-established Yinreng as Crown Prince to avoid further debate, rumors and disruption at the imperial court. Kangxi had explained Yinreng's former wrongs as a result of mental illness, and he had had the time to recover, and think reasonably again.
In 1712, during Kangxi's last visit south to the Yangtze region, Yinreng and his faction yet again vied for supreme power. Yinreng ruled as regent during daily court business in Beijing. He had decided, with bad influence from many of his supporters, to allow an attempt at forcing Kangxi to abdicate when the Emperor returned to Beijing. Through several credible sources, Kangxi had received the news, and with power in hand, using strategic military maneuvering, he saved the Empire from a coup d'etat. When Kangxi returned to Beijing in December 1712, he was enraged, and removed the Crown Prince once more. Yinreng was sent to court to be tried and placed under house arrest.
Kangxi had made it clear that he would not grant the position of Crown Prince to any of his sons for the remainder of his reign, and that he would place his Imperial Valedictory Will inside a box inside Qianqing Palace, only to be opened after his death, and thus no one knew Kangxi's real intentions. What was on his will is subject to intense historical debate.
Following the abolition, Kangxi made several sweeping changes in the political landscape. The 13th Imperial Prince, Yinxiang, was placed under house arrest for "cooperating" with the former Crown Prince. Yinsi, too, was stripped of all imperial titles, only to have them restored years later. The 14th Imperial Prince Yinti, whom many considered to have the best chance in succession, was named "Border Pacification General-in-chief" quelling rebels and was away from Beijing when the political debates raged on. Yinsi, along with the 9th and 10th Princes, had all pledged their support for Yinti. Yinzhen was not widely believed to be a formidable competitor.
Official documents recorded that during the evening hours of December 20, 1722, Kangxi assembled seven of the non-disgraced Imperial Princes in Beijing at the time, being the 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th Princes to his bedside. After his death, Longkodo announced Kangxi's will of passing the throne to the 4th Prince Yinzhen. Yinti happened to be in Xinjiang fighting a war, and was summoned to Beijing. He did not arrive until days after Kangxi's death. In the meantime Yinzhen had declared that Kangxi had named him as heir. The dispute over his succession revolves around whether or not Kangxi intended his 4th or 14th son to acceed to the throne. (See: Yongzheng) He was entombed at the Eastern Tombs (東陵) in Zunhua County (遵化縣), Hebei.
- Shunzhi Emperor of China (3rd son)
- Concubine from the Tunggiya clan (1640-1663). Her family was of Jurchen origin but lived among Chinese for generations. It had Chinese family name Tong (佟) but switched to the Manchu clan name Tunggiya. She was made Empress Dowager Cihe (慈和皇太后) in 1661 when Kangxi became emperor. She is known posthumously as Empress Xiaokang Zhang (Chinese: 孝康章皇后; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Nesuken Eldembuhe Hūwanghu).
- Empress Xiao Cheng (d. 1674) from the Heseri clan - married in 1665
- Empress Xiao Zhao (Manchu: Hiyoošungga Genggiyen Gosin Hūwanghu)
- Empress Xiao Yi (Manchu: Hiyoošungga Fujurangga Gosin Hūwanghu)
- Empress Xiaogong Ren; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Gungnecuke Gosin Hūwanghu) from the Uya clan
- 36 sons. 20 reached adulthood, including
- Yinzhi (胤禔), 1st son. Son of Hui Fei
- Yinreng (1674- 1725), 2nd son. Initially Heir Apparent and later degraded. Only surviving son of Empress Xiao Cheng
- Yinzhi (胤祉), 3rd son
- Yinzhen (胤禛), later Yongzheng Emperor (1678- 1735), 4th son. Son of Empress Xiaogong Ren
- Yinzhuo (胤祚), 7th son ( 1680- 1685 ). Son of Empress Xiaogong Ren
- Yinsi, the Prince Lian (1681- ), 8th son. Son of concubine Liang Fei of the Wei family
- Yinxiang, the Prince Yi (1686- 1730), 13th surviving son. Son of concubine Min-Fei of the Janggiya clan
- Yinti (胤禵), the Prince Xun (1688- 1767), 14th son. Son of Empress Xiaogong Ren
- 20 daughters (8 survived)
Clan name: Aixin-Jueluo (愛新覺羅) Aisin-Gioro
Given name: Xuanye (玄燁) Hiowan Yei
Era name: Kāngxī (康熙; K'ang-hsi) Elhe Taifin
Era dates: February 18, 1662- February 4, 1723
Temple name: Shengzu (聖祖) Šengdzu
(short) Emperor Ren (仁皇帝) Gosin Hūwangdi
(full) Emperor Hetian Hongyun Wenwu Ruizhe Gongjian Kuanyu Xiaojing Chengxin Zhonghe Gongde Dacheng Ren 合天弘運文武睿哲恭儉寬裕孝敬誠信中和功德大成仁皇帝
SEE Image (1)
SEE Image (2)
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नैन सिंह (c.1830- c.1882)- Indian explorer in Tibet and western China who calculated the exact location of Lhasa and whose explorations in Central Asia earned him international acclaim.
Nain Singh came from the small village of Milam in Uttar Pradesh on India's northeastern Himalayan frontier with Tibet. His career as an explorer began in the mid-1850s when he served as a guide for Hermann von Schlagintweit and his brothers in their scientific expeditions into the Himalaya. At the same time, he trained to be a teacher, and from 1858 to 1863 he was headmaster of the school in his home village.
In 1863, Nain Singh enlisted with the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India. The Survey was responsible for mapping the entire Indian subcontinent and adjoining lands north of the Himalaya. However, the British were barred from entering Nepal and Tibet, and the danger was exacerbated by tension between Central Asian Muslims and their Chinese overlords. Therefore, explorers like Nain Singh, his cousin Kishen Singh, and Kintup were recruited to enter these regions in disguise to make the necessary survey. They were known as pundits (Hindi pandit,"teachers") after Nain Singh's profession.
At Dehra Dûn, the Survey's headquarters in the western Himalayan foothills, Nain Singh was introduced to the art of surreptitious surveying. Among other techniques, he learned to keep an accurate count of his footsteps, regulating them at exactly 2000 per mile, and used that data to calculate the distances he had covered. He was also trained to make astronomical observations and determine his exact location with a sextant.
Nain Singh undertook his first mission for the Survey in January 1865 when he set out from Dehra Dûn. Disguised as a merchant, Nain Singh entered Tibet on his second attempt (after being turned back at the border once) and reached the town of Shigatse at the end of October 1865. At a nearby monastery, he obtained an audience with the region's 11-year-old spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama.
When Nain Singh reached Lhasa in January 1866, the exact location of Tibet's capital was still uncharted. By observing the position of the sun and stars, he was able to fix Lhasa's longitude and latitude for the first time. With a simple mercury thermometer, he noted the higher temperature at which water boiled in Lhasa, and by comparing it proportionally with the fixed boiling point of water at sea level, he was also able to calculate Lhasa's elevation. In February 1866, anxious to arouse no suspicion about his identity, he agreed to have an audience with the Dalai Lama, maintaining that he was a merchant.
Nain Singh managed to leave Lhasa towards the end of April and, over a journey westward of some 1300 km (800 mi), went on to explore the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra River, known as the Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet. He made notes on the location of the Nyainqentanglha Shan, an uncharted mountain range north of the Himalaya. He arrived back in Dehra Dûn at the end of June.
In 1867 Nain Singh traveled from the upper reaches of the Indus River into western China. His route took him through the Karakorum Mountains by way of the 5610-m (18,400-ft) Mana Pass. Before returning to India, he crossed the Tibetan Plateau to the gold-mining regions near its western edge, all the while conducting his complex reconnaissance.
In 1873 Nain Singh and Kishen Singh traveled deeper into the interior of western China on a journey that took them to the Yarkant Oasis at the western edge of the Takla Makan Desert.
Nain Singh's explorations brought back enough data to chart more than 4800 km (3000 mi) of previously unknown territory. In 1877, in recognition of his accomplishments filling in the map of Central Asia, the Royal Geographical Society awarded him its gold medal. In addition, a mountain range he had explored on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau was known for a time as the Nain Singh Range.
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Qianlong Emperor of Qing
B5: 乾隆; PY: Qiánlóng; WG: Ch'ien-lung; BN: Aixin- Jueluo Hongli; B5: 愛新覺羅弘曆; GB: 爱新觉罗弘历; PY: Aìxīn Júelúo Hónglì; WG: Hung Li (September 25, 1711- February 7, 1799)- Fifth emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China. The fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from October 18, 1735 to February 9, 1796, at which point he retired in favor of his son, the Jiaqing Emperor- a filial act in order not to reign longer than his grandfather, the illustrious Kangxi Emperor. Despite his retirement, however, he retained ultimate power until his death in 1799.
There are many myths and legends that say Hongli was actually a Han and not of Manchu descent, whilst there were some that say Hongli is only half Manchu and half Han Chinese descent. Nevertheless, looking at historical records, Hongli was adored both by his grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor and his father, the Yongzheng Emperor. Some historians argue that the main reason why Kangxi Emperor appointed Yongzheng as his successor to the throne was because of Qianlong as he was his favorite grandson and felt that Hongli's mannerism and ways to be very close to his own. As a teenager he was very able in martial arts, and possessed very great literary ability.
After his father's succession to the throne in 1722, Hongli became the Prince Bao (寶親王). Like many of his uncles, Hongli entered in a battle of succession with his older-half brother Hongshi, who had the support of a large faction of court officials, as well as Yinsi, the Prince Lian. For many years the Yongzheng Emperor did not allow the position of Crown Prince, but many speculated he favored Hongli. Hongli went on inspection trips to the south, and was known to be an able negotiator and enforcer. Hongli was also chosen as chief regent on occasions, when his father was away from the capital.
Ascension to the Throne
Even before Hongli was read out to the assembled court, it was widely known who the new emperor would be. The young Hongli had been a favorite of his grandfather, Kangxi, and his father alike; Yongzheng had entrusted a number of important ritual tasks to him while Hongli was still a prince, and included him in important court discussions of military strategy. Hoping to avoid repetition of the succession crisis that had tainted his own accession to the throne, he had the name of his successor placed in a sealed box secured behind the tablet over the throne in the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing Gong). The name in the box was to be revealed to other members of the imperial family in the presence of all senior ministers only upon the death of the Emperor. Yongzheng died suddenly in 1735, the will was taken out and read out before the entire Qing Court and Hongli became the 4th Manchu Emperor of China. He took the Reign title of Qianlong (乾隆), meaning strong/heavens (qian); prosperous (long), or put together, the Era of Strong Prosperity.
The Qianlong Emperor was a successful military leader, presiding over a huge consolidation in the territory controlled by the Qing dynasty. This was made possible not only by Chinese strength but also by the disunity and declining strength of the Inner Asian peoples. Under Qianlong, Chinese Turkestan was incorporated into the Qing dynasty's rule and renamed Xinjiang, while to the West, Ili was conquered and garrisoned. The Qing also dominated Outer Mongolia after inflicting a final defeat on the Western Mongols. Throughout this period there were continued Mongol interventions in Tibet and a reciprocal spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia.
Ten Great Campaigns
Qianlong again sent armies into Tibet and firmly established the Dalai Lama as ruler, with a Qing resident and garrison to preserve Chinese suzerainty. Other than that, no attempt was made to integrate Tibet into the empire after the manner of Xinjiang. Further afield, military campaigns against the Burmese, Nepalese, and Gurkhas forced these peoples to submit and send tribute.
In Vietnam, things did not work out so well. In 1787 the last Le king fled Vietnam and formally requested aid to restore him to his throne in Hanoi. The Qianlong Emperor agreed and sent a large army into Vietnam to remove the Tay Son (peasant rebels who had captured all of Vietnam). The capital, Hanoi, was conquered in 1788 but a few months later, the Chinese army was defeated in a surprise attack during Tet by Nguyen Hue, the youngest and most capable of the three Tay Son brothers. The Chinese government gave formal protection to the Le emperor and his family but did not intervene in Vietnam for another 90 years.
Overall the Qianlong Emperor's military expansion captured millions of square miles and brought into the empire non-Chinese peoples - such as Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, and Mongols - who were at least potentially hostile. It was also a very expensive enterprise. In fact, the funds in the Imperial Treasury were almost used up due to the military expeditions. This may have been the cause of the later decline of the dynasty when the army was unable to develop and upgrade their weapons when faced with a Western threat.
The Qianlong emperor was also a major patron of the arts. The most significant of his commissions was a catalogue of all important works on Chinese culture, the Siku quanshu (四庫全書). Produced in 36,000 volumes, containing about 3450 complete works and employing as many as 15,000 copyists, the entire work took some twenty years. It preserved many books, but it was also intended as a means of ferreting out and suppressing those deemed offensive to the ruling Manchurians. Some 2,300 works were listed for total suppression and another 350 for partial suppression. The aim was to destroy the writings that were anti-Qing or rebellious, that insulted previous barbarian dynasties, or that dealt with frontier or defense problems.
Qianlong was a prolific poet and a collector of ceramics, an art which flourished in his reign; a substantial part of his collection is in the Percival David Foundation in London.
Dragon Throne, charcoal brazier and Iuduan incense burners.
In his later years, Qianlong was rather disillusioned and sedated with power and glory. With Heshen as the highest ranked minister and most favored by Qianlong at the time, the day to day governance of the country was left in the hands of Heshen whilst Qianlong himself indulged on everyday luxuries and his favorite pastime of hunting. It is widely said that Heshen laid the foundation for further collapse and corruption of the Qing government and eventually came to a point where it was impossible to reverse the negative impact already done to all levels of Qing Government at the time.
Worse still, the proposed cultural exchange between the British Empire at the time and the Qing Empire collapsed when Heshen further encouraged Qianlong to maintain the belief that the Qing Empire was the centre of the world and need not pay much attention to the British proposal for trade and cultural exchange. The British trade ambassador at the time, George Macartney, was humiliated when granted an audience with the Qianlong Emperor only to find just an Imperial Edict placed on the Dragon Throne. This announced to him that the Qing Empire had no need for any goods and services that the British could provide and that the British should recognize that the Qing Empire was far greater.
Insistent demands from Heshen and the Qing Court that the British Trade ambassadors should kneel and kowtow to the empty dragon throne worsened matters. The British of course rejected these demands and insisted they would kneel only on one knee and bow to the Dragon throne as they did for their own monarch. This caused uproar in the Qing Empire at that time. The Trade ambassadors were dismissed and told to leave China immediately. They were further told that the Qing Empire had no particular interest in doing trade with them, with strict orders given to all local governors not to allow the British to carry out any trade or business in China.
According to an unofficial "Field History" of the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong was the son of Chen Yuanlong of Haining. Emperor Kangxi chose the heir to his throne based not just on his son's capability to govern the Empire, but also whether his grandson was of no lesser caliber, to ensure the Manchus' everlasting reign over the country. Yongzheng's own son was a weakling and he surreptitiously arranged for his daughter to be swapped for Chen Yuanlong's son, who became the apple of Kangxi's eye. Thus, Yongzheng got to succeed the throne, and his "son", Hongli, subsequently became Emperor Qianlong. Later, Qianlong went to the southern part of the country four times, he stayed in Chen's house in Haining, leaving behind his calligraphy and also frequently issued imperial decrees making and maintaining Haining as a tax-free state.
However there are major problems with this story. His eldest surviving son Hongshi was only 7 when Hongli was born far too early too make the drastic choice of replacing a child of royal birth with an outsider (and risking disgrace if not death). Yongzheng had three other princes that survived to adulthood who had the potential of ascending the throne. Indeed given the fact that Hongshi was forced to commit suicide, the story would have been far more logical if he was the adopted child of Yongzheng.
Stories about Qianlong visiting the Jiang Nan area disguised as a commoner had been a popular topic for many generations. In total, he has visited Jiang Nan for eight times, as opposed to the Kangxi emperor's 6 inspections.
Some stories say that Qianlong had multiple Samurai Swords in his possession.
Father: The Yongzheng Emperor (of whom he was the 4th son)
Mother: Empress Xiaosheng Xian (1692- 1777) of the Niuhuru Clan (B5: 孝聖憲皇后; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Enduringge Temgetulehe Hūwanghu)
- Empress Xiaoxian Chun (1712- 1748), of the Fucha clan.
- Demoted Empress of the Wuya clan (1718- 1766).
- Empress Xiaoyi Chun, of the Weigiya clan, natural birth mother of Emperor Jiaqing.
- Huixian Huang Kuai Fei (d. 1745), of the Gaogiya clan.
- Chunhui Huang Kuai Fei (1713- 1760), of the Sugiya clan.
- Shujia Huang Kuai Fei (d. 1755), of the Gingiya clan.
- Qinggong Huang Kuai fei (1724- 1774) of the Lu clan.
- Ying Kuai Fei (1731- 1800) of the Silam clan of Mongol origin.
- Wan Kuai Fei (1717-1812).
- Dun Fei (1745- 1806) mother of Hexiao, Qianlong's 10th daughter.
- Shu Fei (1728- 1778) of the Yehenala clan.
- Rong Fei (1734- 1788), who is better know as Xiangfei or Fragrant Concubine.
- 2nd: Prince Yonglian 永璉 (1730- 1738), 1st Crown Prince, son of Empress Xiaoxian Chun
- 5th: Prince Yongqi 永琪 (174-1766), bore the title Prince Rong of the blood (榮親王)
- 7th: Prince Yongzhong 永琮 (1746- 1748), 2nd Crown Prince, son of Empress Xiaoxian Chun
- 8th: Prince Yongxuan 永璇
- 11th: Prince Yongxin 永瑆
- 15th: Prince Yongyan 永琰 (Emperor Jiaqing), son of Empress Xiaoyi Chun. In 1789 he was made Prince Jia of the 1st rank (嘉親王).
- 17th: Prince Yonglin 永璘, given the title as the 1st Prince Qing Yonglin. His grandson is Prince Yikuang, bore the title Prince Qing 慶親王奕劻 (February 1836- January 1918).
- 18th: Prince ?
- 1st: Princess ? (1728- 1729), daughter of Empress Xiaoxian Chun
- 3rd: Princess Hejing 固倫和敬公主 (1731- 1792), daughter of Empress Xiaoxian Chun
- 4th: Princess Hejia 和硕和嘉公主 (1745- 1767), daughter of Chunhui Huang Kuai Fei
- 7th: Princess Hejing 固伦和静公主 (1756- 1775), daughter of emppress Xiaoyi Chun
- 10th: Princess Hexiao (daughter-in-law of Heshen) was spared execution when Emperor Jiaqing prosecuted Heshen in 1799. She was given some of Heshen's estate.
Clan name: Aixin-Jueluo 愛新覺羅; Aisin-Gioro
Given name: Hongli; 弘曆; Hung Li
Dates of reign: 18 October 1735- 8 February 17961
Era name: Qianlong; 乾隆; Ch'ien-lung; Abkai Wehiyehe
Era dates: 12 February 1736- 8 February 1796
Temple name: Gaozong; 高宗; Gaodzung
Chun Hunagdi; 純皇帝; Yongkiyangga; hūwangdi
Emperor Fatian Longyun Zhicheng Xianjue Tiyuan Liji Fuwen Fenwu Qinming Xiaoci Shensheng Chun; 法天隆運至誠先覺體元立極敷文奮武欽明孝慈神聖純皇帝
1- Officially abdicated (taking effect from February 9, 1796) and received the title Taishang Huang (太上皇). In practice, however, ruled in the stead of his son Jiaqing until his death.
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B5: 孫逸仙; GB: 孙逸仙; PY: Sūn Yìxiān; WG: Sun I-hsien Also: Sun Zhongshan; B5: 孫中山; GB: 孙中山; PY: Sūn Zhōngshān; WG: Sun Chung-shan (November 12, 1866- March 12, 1925)
SEE Biographical Database :: Republic of China (Taiwan)- (1949- Present)- Sun Yat-sen
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Wan Rong Empress
B5: 婉容皇后 (1906- 1946)- Last Empress of China's Qing Dynasty, and Empress of Manchukuo (also known as the Manchurian Empire). She was given the posthumous title of Empress Xiaokemin (孝恪愍皇后) in 2004 by members of the Qing imperial household.
She was the daughter of the Minister of Domestic Affairs Rong-Yuan of the Qing Government (内务大臣荣源). At the age of 17, she married Emperor Xuantong (also known as Puyi). Puyi's health is debated to this day, with some believing he was infertile. Others claim that he was homosexual. Records of the Qing court show that the Emperor and Empress were not sexually intimate.
After the Emperor was forced to abdicate in 1924, the couple moved from Beijing to the City of Tianjin, southeast of Beijing. There, they lived in the former residence of General Zhang (张园). With a hope of recovering the Qing Dynasty, the Emperor and Empress moved to Changchun, Jilin to become rulers of the Manchurian Empire in March, 1932. Realizing her husband had no real political power, the Empress's addiction to opium started to become serious. While living in the Manchurian palace, her opium addiction and lack of freedom adversely affected her mental health.
Puyi thereupon ordered her to be sent to the "Cold Palace" (冷宫), a palace for the isolation of emperors' disfavored consorts. In reality, she continued to reside in her previously assigned apartments throughout her stay in Changchun. The term "Cold Palace" was used merely to illustrate that the Emperor no longer visited or spent any time with her. The Empress's health declined dramatically and she was barely able to stand up. When the Japanese were defeated in 1945, Puyi left China, abandoning Wan Rong and some other royal family members. The Empress died alone in the Prison of Yanji in Jilin Province (吉林省延吉监狱) in June 1946 after being captured by the Communist Revolutionary Army. Puyi did not receive the news for another three years.
Wan Rong started using opium when she was a teenager. According to Puyi's memorial, it was fashionable for educated girl to smoke cigarettes at that time, and a small amount of opium was often added by the Chinese public as an analgesic. In Tianjin, Wan Rong attempted unsuccessfully to quit opium. She did not become addicted to the drug until her time in the Manchurian Empire.
Some allege that Wan Rong had affairs with two men during the Manchukuo period and gave birth to a daughter. Many TV shows and novels have promoted this idea. However, those close to Wan Rong argue that this would have been impossible as she was kept under close watch, which would have made it difficult to conduct affairs and give birth secretly.
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Xuantong Emperor of Qing
B5: 宣統皇帝; GB: 宣统皇帝; PY: Xuāntǒng Huángdì; WG: Hsuan-tung; M: Gehungge Yoso; BN: Aixin Jueluo Puyi; B5: 愛新覺羅溥儀; GB: 爱新觉罗溥仪; PY: Àixīn Juéluó Pǔyí; WG: Pu-i; CN: Henry Puyi (February 7, 1906 - October 17, 1967)- Of the Manchu Aisin-Gioro ruling family, he was the Xuantong Emperor (宣統) of China between 1908 and 1924 (ruling emperor between 1908 and 1912, and non-ruling emperor between 1912 and 1924), the tenth and last emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty to rule over China.
He was married to the Empress Gobulo Wan Rong under the suggestion of the Imperial Dowager Concubine Duan-Kang （端康太妃）. Later between 1934 and 1945 he was the Kangde Emperor (康德皇帝) of Manchukuo. In the People's Republic of China he was a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1964 until his death in 1967 under the Chinese name Aixinjueluo Puyi. His abdication being a symbol of the end of a very long era in China, Puyi is widely known as the Last Emperor (末代皇帝).
Puyi's great-grandfather, was the Daoguang Emperor of Qing (r.1820- 1850). He was succeeded by his fourth son, who became the Xianfeng Emperor of Qing (r.1850- 1861).
Puyi's paternal grandfather was the 1st Prince Chun (1840- 1891) who was himself a son of the Daoguang Emperor and a younger half-brother of Xianfeng Emperor, but not the next in line after Xianfeng (the 1st Prince Chun had older half-brothers that were closer in age to Xianfeng). Xianfeng was succeeded by his only son, who became the Tongzhi Emperor (r.1861- 1875).
Tongzhi died without a son, and was succeeded by Guangxu Emperor (r.1875- 1908), the son of the 1st Prince Chun and his wife, who was the younger sister of Empress Dowager Cixi. Guangxu died without an heir.
Puyi, who succeeded Guangxu, was the eldest son of the 2nd Prince Chun (1883- 1951), who was the son of the 1st Prince Chun and his second concubine, the Lady Lingiya (1866- 1925). Lady Lingiya was a Han Chinese maid at the mansion of the 1st prince Chun, whose original Chinese family name was Liu (劉) and was changed into the Manchu clan's name Lingyia when she was made a Manchu, which was required in order to become the concubine of a Manchu prince. The 2nd Prince Chun was therefore a younger half-brother of the Guangxu Emperor and the first brother in line after Guangxu.
Puyi was in a branch of the imperial family with close ties to Cixi, who was herself from the (Manchu) Yehe-Nara clan (the imperial family were the Aisin-Gioro clan). Cixi married the daughter of her brother to her nephew Guangxu, who became, after Guangxu and Cixi's death, the Empress Dowager Longyu (1868- 1913).
It is interesting to note that Puyi's lesser known brother, Pu Xuezhai 薄雪齋, is an important master of the guqin musical instrument tradition.
2nd Prince Chun with his eldest son Puyi on his left, and his second son Pujie on his lap. Photo taken in the end of 1907.
Puyi's mother, the 2nd Princess Chun (1884- 1921), given name Youlan (幼蘭), was the 2nd Prince Chun's wife. She was the daughter of the Manchu general Ronglu (榮祿) (1836-1903) from the Guwalgiya clan, one of the leaders of the conservative faction at the court, and a staunch supporter of Cixi whom she rewarded by marrying his daughter into the imperial family.
Emperor of China (1908- 1924)
Chosen by Cixi on her deathbed, Puyi ascended to the throne at age 2 years 10 months in December 1908 following his uncle's death on November 14. His father, the 2nd Prince Chun, served as a regent until December 6, 1911 when Empress Dowager Longyu took over in the face of the Xinhai Revolution.
Empress Dowager Longyu signed the "Act of Abdication of the Emperor of the Great Qing" (清帝退位詔書) on February 12, 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution, under a deal brokered by Yuan Shikai with the imperial court in Beijing and the republicans in southern China: by the "Articles of Favorable Treatment of the Emperor of the Great Qing after his Abdication" (清帝退位優待條件) signed with the new Republic of China, Puyi was to retain his imperial title and be treated by the government of the Republic with the protocol attached to a foreign monarch as Italy's Law of Guarantees (1870) which accorded the Pope certain honors and privileges similar to those enjoyed by the King of Italy. He and the imperial court were allowed to remain in the northern half of the Forbidden City (the Private Apartments) as well as in the Summer Palace. A hefty annual subsidy of 4 million silver dollars was also granted by the Republic to the imperial household (never fully paid and abolished after just a few years).
Brief Restoration (1917)
In 1917, the warlord general Zhang Xun (張勛) restored Puyi on his throne for twelve days from July 1 to July 12. Beijing male residents hastily bought some false queues (long plaits) to avoid punishment at the cutting of their queues in 1912. During those 12 days, one small bomb was dropped over the Forbidden City by a republican plane, causing minor damage. This is considered the first aerial bombardment ever in Eastern Asia. The restoration failed due to large opposition across China, and the decisive intervention of another warlord general, Duan Qirui. In mid-July, the streets of Beijing were strewn with the thousands of false queues that had been discarded as hastily as they had been bought.
Private Citizen (1924- 1932)
In the end of October 1924, the staunch republican warlord Feng Yuxiang seized Beijing with his troops and organized a coup, deposing president Cao Kun. On November 4, 1924, Feng Yuxiang had the government revise the "Articles of Favorable Treatment": the revised articles stated that Puyi was to be stripped of his imperial title and henceforth made a regular citizen of the Republic of China. The following day, November 5, Feng's troops surrounded the Private Apartments of the Forbidden City and forced Puyi to sign the revised articles. Puyi and the small imperial court were expelled from the Forbidden City that same day.
Puyi took up his abode at the Northern Residence (北府), the mansion of his father, the 2nd Prince Chun, nearby the Forbidden City. In the beginning of 1925 he escaped the surveillance of Feng's soldiers and took refuge at the Japanese Legation. The Japanese organized his flight to the Japanese concession in Tianjin where he lived in two large mansions (first Zhangyuan, then later Jingyuan). He set up a "court-in-exile" there until 1932 when he became the ruler of the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo.
Ruler of Manchukuo (1932- 1945)
On March 1, 1932, Puyi was installed by the Japanese as the ruler of Manchukuo under the reign title Datong (大同). In 1934 he was officially crowned the emperor of Manchukuo under the reign title Kangde (康德). He was constantly at odds with the Japanese in private, though gushingly submissive in person. He resented being "Head of State" and then "Emperor of Manchukuo" rather than being fully restored as Qing Emperor. At his enthronement he clashed with Japan over dress; they wished him to wear a Manchukuoan uniform whereas he considered it an insult to wear anything but traditional Qing robes. In a typical compromise, he wore a uniform to his enthronement and dragon robes to the announcement of his accession at the Altar of Heaven. His brother Pujie, who married Hiro Saga, a distant cousin to the Japanese Emperor Hirohito, was proclaimed heir apparent.
As Emperor of Manchukuo, Puyi's household was closely watched by the Japanese who began taking increasing steps in the full Japanization of Manchuria, as they had done in Korea and elsewhere. When Puyi went on a state visit to Tokyo he was embarrassingly flattering of the Japanese imperial family. At a review, he even thanked Emperor Hirohito for "allowing" clear skies and sunshine for the event. He began taking a greater interest in Buddhism during these empty years, some would call it becoming more devoutly religious, others would call it becoming more superstitious and paranoid. However, Japan soon forced him to make Shintoism the national religion of Manchukuo. Slowly, his old supporters were eliminated and pro-Japanese ministers put in their place. During this time, his life consisted mostly of signing laws prepared by Japan, reciting prayers, consulting oracles and making formal visits around his kingdom.
Later Life (1945- 1967)
At the end of World War II, he was captured by the Soviet Red Army (1945) and turned over to the Chinese Communists in 1950. He spent ten years in a reeducation camp in Fushun, in Liaoning province, was declared reformed, and claimed to become a supporter of the Communists. Afterwards, he worked at the Beijing Botanical Gardens. He was made a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, in which he served from 1964 until his death. He wrote an autobiography (我的前半生 - "The former half of my life", translated in English as From Emperor to Citizen) in the 1960s and died in Beijing of cancer in 1967 during the Cultural Revolution.
At the age of 16, in 1922, he married two women. His first choice for wife was Wen Xiu (1907-1950/51), who was deemed by court officials to be not beautiful enough to be an empress; designated a concubine, she eventually divorced him in 1931. His second choice, a Manchu considered highly attractive, named Wan Rong or "Beauty in Flower" (1906-1946, a.k.a Elizabeth, a.k.a. Radiant Countenance), became empress, addicted to opium, and finally died in a Chinese prison.
His third wife was Tan Yuling, whom he married around 1939. A teenager at the time, she was a Manchu who died mysteriously six years later after being attended for her illness by a Japanese-occupation doctor.
In 1943 Pu Yi married his fourth wife, a 15-year-old student named Li Yuqin (c. 1928- 2001), a Han. She divorced him in 1958. She was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 1995 and died six years later at the age of 73.
In 1962, he married for the fifth time to another Han, Li Shuxian (1925- 1997), a nurse, who was to die of lung cancer.
The emperor had no children. Some maintain he had homosexual tendencies.
In 1995, his widow was allowed to transfer his ashes to a commercial cemetery near the Western Qing Tombs (清西陵), 120 km (75 miles) southwest of Beijing, where four of the nine Qing emperors preceding him are interred, along with 3 empresses, and 69 princes, princesses, and imperial concubines. In accordance to the laws of the People's Republic of China at the time, Puyi's body was cremated, unlike the bodies of his ancestors, which were interred whole.
Puyi's life was portrayed in Bernardo Bertolucci's renowned 1987 film, The Last Emperor. Although it contained some elements that were dramatized, the film is considered to be a plausible portrayal of Puyi's life.
In both his autobiography and the film, Puyi is portrayed as a largely-innocent pawn controlled by more powerful figures. Some historians are skeptical about this account; indeed, Puyi had a very strong interest in minimizing his own role in history, because any admission of active control would most likely have led to a death sentence.
In English he is known more simply as Puyi (Pu-i in Wade-Giles romanization), which is in accordance with the Manchu tradition of never using an individual's clan name and given name together, but is in complete contravention with the traditional Chinese and Manchu custom whereby the private given name of an emperor was considered taboo and ineffable. It may be that the use of the given name Puyi after the overthrow of the empire was thus a political technique, an attempt to express desecration of the old order. Indeed, after Puyi lost his imperial title in 1924 he was officially styled "Mr. Puyi" (溥儀先生) in China. His clan name Aisin-Gioro was seldom used. He is also known to have used the name "Henry"¹, a name allegedly chosen with his English language teacher, Scotsman Reginald Johnston, in reference to King Henry VIII of England. However, the name Henry was merely used in communication with Westerners between around 1920 and 1932, and is never used in China.
Àixīn-Juéluó; 愛新覺羅; Aisin-Gioro, Aisinjioro
Puyi; 溥儀; No Manchu name was given to him
Emperor of China
Dates of reign:
Dec. 2, 1908- Nov. 5, 19241
Era name: Xuāntǒng; 宣統; Hsuan-tung; Gehungge Yoso
Era dates: Jan. 22, 1909- Feb. 12, 1912
Chief Executive (執政) of Manchukuo
Term of office:
Mar. 9, 1932- Feb. 28, 1934
Era name: Dàtóng (大同)
Emperor (皇帝) of Manchukuo
Dates of reign:
Mar. 1, 1934- Aug. 15, 1945
None as yet2.
Aisin-Gioro is the clan's name in Manchu, pronounced Àixīn Juéluó in Mandarin; Pǔyí is the Chinese given name as pronounced in Mandarin.
Though it is uncommon to include the clan name of Aisin- Gioro when referring to Qing family members, both Puyi and his brother, Pujie, were the last of their dynasty and lived during a period of modernization in China. They are both commonly known by their names with Aisin- Gioro at the beginning, particularly when they began their lives as private citizens in the PRC.
1- Ruling emperor until February 12, 1912, non-ruling emperor between 1912- 1924.
2- In 2004 descendants of the Qing imperial family have conferred a posthumous name and temple name upon Puyi. Posthumous name: Mindi (愍帝). Temple name: Gongzong(恭宗). This has not been approved by the direct line of the imperial family.
3- Xundi ("The Abdicated Emperor") is the posthumous name given by mainland China and Taiwan's history books to Puyi.
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