A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.


Yang Gui Fei

(concubine of the great Tang emperor Xuanzong)

She was born 719 CE, the daughter of a census official in Sichuan. Her father died when she was very young, and she was raised in the household of an uncle.  She was one of the few obese women in Chinese history to have been considered beautiful; in fact, she grew up to be one of the four great beauties of ancient China.  And, in addition to her beauty, she was an accomplished singer and dancer.  

Lady Yang lived during the Tang Dynasty and began her court life at the age of 16 when she was chosen to enter the imperial harem as a wife of an Imperial Prince.  This marriage didn't last very long for when the 60 year old emperor Xuanzong saw her, he fell in love with her and asked his son to divorce her because he wanted to take her as his wife.  So, it was arranged for her to become a Taoist nun...merely a ruse to prevent criticisms that might make it difficult for him to fulfill his plan of making her his concubine. 

The emperor adored her so much that he made her his favorite concubine.  Just a smile from her was enough to enchant him, and he loved her more than anything else in the world. The emperor wallowed in a life of pleasure with her. And for the next 15 years he wrote her poetry, played her music, and spent so much time with her that the country was beginning to show signs of unrest as the economy began to slip

His generals met with him to advice him of the upheavals in the Mongolian mountains, but he didn't pay any attention to them.  After repeated warnings, the generals made a stand...Choose your country or choose your wife. Now, Lady Yang's family held several high ranking positions, and the army began killing them to regain control.  They were about to kill Lady Yang when the Emperor begged for mercy and asked that she be taken away from the city, but allowed to live in the country.  But, on the road the imperial soldiers became so enraged with Lady Yang whom they blamed for all the problems, they executed her.

Emperor Xuanzong and Lady Yang's love story has inspired many television shows and movies in Hong Kong and China.  She was one of the few women whose beauty has caused the downfall of manarch and a nation.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, talk about a powerful woman....
    Love this story Mary (o: