Wang Zhaojun (52 BCE–18 CE)

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Wang Zhaojun (52 bce–18 ce)

Chinese poet, concubine and empress. Name variations: Wang Chao-chun; Wang Qiang; Empress Ninghu (empress who brought peace to a border tribe). Born in 52 bce in Baoping, Xingsha County, Hubei, China; died in 18 CE in Inner Mongolia; dau. of a poor scholar; m. Huhanye, king of the southern Xiong Nu (died); married his eldest son, according to custom; children: (1st. m) son; (2nd m.) 2 daughters.

A royal concubine (one of thousands) to Emperor Yuan (Xuan) of the Western Han dynasty, was portrayed harshly by the court painter (Mao Yen-Shou), when she refused to pay a bribe (he added a black mole); was married off to a barbarian Xiong Nu (Hun) chieftain as a bid for peace by Emperor Yuan; brought culture and refinement to her new country (Mongolia); after the death of the chieftain, married his son by another wife; wrote poetry to express longing for homeland; remembered in legend as bringer of peace between China and its border enemies. Called one of the four beauties in Chinese history, is the subject of countless songs, paintings, poems and plays, in the many differing versions of this story.