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Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing

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Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing

Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing
Spouse Xianfeng Emperor
Issue Kurun Princess Rong'an
Posthumous name
Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing
(莊靜皇貴妃)
House House of Tatara (by birth)
House of Aisin-Gioro (by marriage)
Father Qinghai
Born 1837
Died 1890 (aged 52–53)
Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing
Traditional Chinese 莊靜皇貴妃
Simplified Chinese 庄静皇贵妃

Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing (1837–1890) was a consort of the Xianfeng Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

Biography

Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing was born of the Manchu Tatara (他他拉) clan. Her personal name is unknown. Her father was Qinghai (慶海), a zhushi (主事; a type of official post). Born in 1837 during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor, she entered the Forbidden City in 1850 during selections for women to join the Xianfeng Emperor's imperial harem. Around the same time, Lady Yehenara (the future Empress Dowager Cixi) also entered the palace.[1] Lady Tatara was chosen to stay and was given the title of Noble Lady Li (麗貴人) in 1852. Two years later she was promoted to the rank of Imperial Concubine Li (麗嬪). During her time as a concubine to the Xianfeng Emperor, she was said to have possessed the most extravagant beauty of all the women in the harem (she was supposedly the most esteemed beauty in the Imperial City), and was bestowed with a natural grace and allure that her daughter later inherited. Written descriptions and lamentations over the purported impressiveness of the beauty of Lady Tatara are among the most illustrious and elaborate of Qing Dynasty historical texts; they somewhat differ from the passive mentions of beauty and virtue in descriptions of other imperial consorts of the Qing Dynasty and better resemble vivid descriptions of beauties in the historical records of native Han Chinese dynasties.

In 1855 Lady Tatara gave birth to the Xianfeng Emperor's only daughter, Gurun Princess Rong'an. Due to the Emperor's intense and near monopolic love for her, their daughter was styled as a "Gurun" princess against tradition, as Qing Dynasty regulations held that only the daughters of empresses could be named Gurun princesses. During the princess's Three Baths (洗三) ceremony, Lady Tatara was elevated to the status of Consort Li (麗妃). It is said that Lady Tatara was the Xianfeng Emperor's favourite and most luminously charming consort and he spent the vast majority of his nights with her. On the other hand, Lady Yehenara (the future Empress Dowager Cixi) only caught the emperor's attention during and after Lady Tatara's pregnancy. This was because the emperor was not allowed to have sex with her in the 100 days after she gave birth.[2]

In 1860 Lady Tatara fled together with the Xianfeng Emperor, his empress, and other concubines to Jehol during the Second Opium War. The Xianfeng Emperor died in the following year and was succeeded by Lady Yehenara's son Zaichun, who was enthroned as the Tongzhi Emperor. Because Lady Tatara had served the Xianfeng Emperor for many years, and was widely considered to have been his favorite consort, and had given birth to his eldest daughter, she was promoted to the rank of Imperial Noble Consort Li (麗皇貴妃). At the time she lived in the Palace of Eternal Harmony.[3]

In January 1875 the Tongzhi Emperor died and was succeeded by his cousin Zaitian, who became known as the Guangxu Emperor. Lady Tatara was given the title of Imperial Noble Dowager Consort Li (麗皇貴太妃). Her daughter died in February 1875 at the age of 19 after suffering a miscarriage upon hearing news of her brother the Tongzhi Emperor's death though in her lifetime she was said to have resembled Lady Tatara and was just as impressively beautiful, elegant and cultured as her mother. Official historical records state that Lady Tatara was often sick and she died from illness in 1890 at the age of 53. The Guangxu Emperor ordered members of the imperial clan and officials to don mourning garments for a day. Consort Li was buried in Dingling Mausoleum for imperial concubines in Hebei three years later, together with Noble Consort Mei (玫貴妃), who died seven days before her. Lady Tatara was granted the posthumous title of Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing (庄靜皇貴妃).

Titles

  • Noble Lady Li (麗貴人) in 1852.
  • Imperial Concubine Li (麗嬪), in 1854.
  • Consort Li (麗妃), in 1855.
  • Imperial Noble Consort Li (麗皇貴妃).
  • Imperial Noble Dowager Consort Li (麗皇貴太妃).
  • Imperial Noble Consort Zhuangjing (庄靜皇貴妃), posthumous title.

See also

References

  1. ^ Royal archives of the Qing dynasty (清宫档案).
  2. ^ Sterling Seagraves, "Dragon Lady" (softcover, p. 36).
  3. ^ Royal archives of the Qing dynasty (清宫档案).

Literature and sources

  • Draft history of the Qing dynasty. 《清史稿》卷二百十四.列傳一.后妃傳.文宗庄静皇贵妃.
  • Royal archives of the Qing dynasty (清宫档案).
  • Sterling Seagraves, "Dragon Lady" ISBN 0-679-73369-8. Contains a lot of information about Consort Li.
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