Empress Xiaojingcheng

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Empress Xiaojingcheng
《雍宫式范》静妃部分.jpg
Empress Dowager of the Qing Dynasty
Reign 13 August 1855 - 21 August 1855
Predecessor Empress Xiaoherui
Successor Empress Xiaozhenxian (1861-1881)
Empress Xiaoqinxian (1861-1908)
Spouse Daoguang Emperor
Issue Yikang, Prince Shun
Yiji, Prince Hui
Kurun Princess Shou'en
Yixin, Prince Gong
Posthumous name
Empress Xiaojing Kangci Yizhao Duanhui Zhuangren Heshen Bitian Fusheng Cheng
(孝靜康慈懿昭端惠庄仁和慎弼天撫聖成皇后)
Father Borjigit Hualianga
Born (1812-06-19)19 June 1812
Horqin, Mongolia
Died 21 August 1855(1855-08-21) (aged 43)
Shoukang Palace, Elegant Spring Garden, Old Summer Palace, Beijing, China
Burial Muling Mausoleum
Empress Xiaojingcheng
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 孝靜成皇后
Simplified Chinese 孝静成皇后
Lady Borjigit
Traditional Chinese 博爾濟吉特氏
Simplified Chinese 博尔济吉特氏
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡥᡳᠶᠣᠣᡧᡠᠩᡤᠠ ᠴᡳᠪᠰᡝᠨ ᡧᠠᠩᡤᠠᠨ ᡥᡡᠸᠠᠩᡥᡝᠣ
Romanization hiyoošungga cibsen šanggan hūwangheo

Empress Xiaojingcheng (19 June 1812 – 21 August 1855) was a Imperial Noble Consorts of the Daoguang Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Although she was never an Empress Consort when she was living, she was posthumously granted the title of Empress Xiaojingcheng in 1855 by the Xianfeng Emperor.

Birth and early life[edit]

Empress Xiaojingcheng was born on the 11th day of the fifth lunar month in the 17th year of the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor. She was the daughter of Hualiang'e (花良阿), a Secretary of the Second Class (員外郎) in the Ministry of Justice. She was from the Mongol Borjigit clan, the same clan as Genghis Khan. At the time of her birth, her clan was under the Mongol Banners, but in 1855 they were merged into the Plain Yellow Banner of the Manchu Eight Banners.[1] Her personal name is unknown.

As the Daoguang Emperor's concubine[edit]

Lady Borjigit entered the Forbidden City at the beginning of the reign of the Daoguang Emperor and was given the title of Noble Lady Jing (靜貴人). On November 22, 1826, Lady Borjigit gave birth to Yikang (奕綱), Daoguang's second son. She was promoted to the rank of Imperial Concubine Jing (靜嬪) a month later in December 1826. The four month old Yikang died prematurely on March 5, 1827. Two months later, Lady Borjigit was further promoted to the status of Consort Jing (静妃).

In December 1835 Lady Borjigit was elevated to the rank of Noble Consort Jing (靜貴妃). In 1840, after the death of Empress Xiaoquancheng, she was placed in charge of the Daoguang Emperor's imperial concubines and granted the title of Imperial Noble Consort Jing (靜皇貴妃).

As Empress Dowager for eight days[edit]

Portrait of Borjigit as Imperial Consort

When the Daoguang Emperor died in 1850, his successor the Xianfeng Emperor refused to grant Lady Borjigit the status of Empress Dowager, and conferred the title of Imperial Noble Dowager Consort Kangci (康慈皇贵太妃) on her instead. Both Lady Borjigit and her only surviving son, Yixin, were not content with the arrangement. According to both law and tradition Lady Borjigit had no right to claim the position of Empress Dowager, so her appeals to the Xianfeng Emperor as his foster mother went unheeded. However, Xianfeng did pay respect to her and treated her as if she was his birth mother.

In 1852, as the highest ranked consort of the late Daoguang Emperor, Lady Borjigit was in charge of selecting potential candidates to be the Xianfeng Emperor's concubines. Among those chosen by her were the future empress dowagers Ci'an and Cixi.

In August 1855 Lady Borjigit became seriously ill. Fearing that she had little time left, she conspired with her son Yixin to issue a false imperial edict in the Xianfeng Emperor's name, which granted her the title of Empress Dowager. Xianfeng was furious when he learned about it, but he did not rescind the edict because he wanted to save himself from public embarrassment.[citation needed] On August 13, 1855, Lady Borjigit became Empress Dowager and she died eight days later. Xianfeng appointed two princes, one of whom was Yixin, to manage the funeral arrangements, and announced that he would spend the mourning period in Yangxin Palace.[2]

Two years later Lady Borjigit was interred in the Daoguang Emperor's mausoleum for concubines in the Western Qing Tombs. She was also granted the posthumous title of Empress Xiaojing (孝靜皇后). Unlike Daoguang's other empresses, she received an additional Chinese character - cheng (成) - in her posthumous title only later, when her son Yixin urged the Tongzhi Emperor to do so. She received domestic ancestral rites in the palace for the rest of the century.

Children[edit]

Lady Borjigit gave birth to a daughter and three sons. After the death of Empress Xiaoquancheng in 1840, she was put in charge of the rest of the Daoguang Emperor's concubines, as well as being responsible for the upbringing of Empress Xiaoquancheng's son, who later became the Xianfeng Emperor.

Lady Borjigit's children:

  • Yigang, Prince Shunhe of the Second Rank (順和郡王奕綱; 22 November 1826 – 5 March 1827), Daoguang's second son, died prematurely
  • Yiji, Prince Huizhi of the Second Rank (慧質郡王奕繼; 2 December 1829 – 22 January 1830), Daoguang's third son, also died prematurely
  • Yixin, Prince Gongzhong of the First Rank (恭忠親王奕訢; 11 January 1833 – 29 May 1898), Daoguang's sixth son
  • Kurun Princess Shou'en (壽恩固倫公主; 20 January 1831 – 1859), Daoguang's sixth daughter, married Jingshou (景壽)

Portraits[edit]

Living quarters[edit]

During the Qing Dynasty, the emperor's concubines did not live in the same quarters within the Forbidden City. At the minimum, each concubine moved at least once during her lifetime after the emperor's death, so as to make way for the concubines of the new emperor. Lady Borjigit moved at least five times during her life, and the places she lived in are as follows:

  • Palace of Eternal Harmony (永和宮), when she was Noble Consort Jing.
  • Palace of Gathering Essence (鍾粹宮), between 1845 and 1850.
  • Palace of Complete Happiness (咸福宮), during the first year of the Xianfeng Emperor's reign, only for a few months.
  • Palace of Longevity and Good Health (壽康宮), when she was Empress Dowager.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (《清文宗实录·卷179》咸丰五年十月谕:“孝静皇后丹阐著抬入正黄旗满洲。) "丹阐" means "family" in the Manchu language. It was normal for empresses, even after death, to have their clans moved to a banner of higher rank. The Mongol Banner that Empress Xiaojingcheng's clan originally belonged to was not recorded in history.
  2. ^ Wenzong Xian huangdi shilu, XF 5/7/1 (August 13, 1855), 42:896;j.51 for 1852, j. 171 for August 1855; also Zhang Naiwei, Qing gong shuwen, 408 - The Last Emperor, Evelyn S. Rawski

Succession[edit]

Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress Xiaoquancheng
Empress of China
(elevated to this position posthumously)
Succeeded by
Empress Xiaozhenxian
Preceded by
Empress Dowager Gongci
Empress Dowager of China
1855
Succeeded by
Empress Dowager Ci'an