Wenxiu

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Wenxiu
宣统帝shu'fei.jpg
Photograph of Wenxiu
Spouse Puyi (m.1922-1931)
Liu Zhendong
Full name
Erdet Wenxiu
(額爾德特·文繡)
House House of Erdet (by birth)
House of Aisin-Gioro (by marriage)
Father Duangong
Born (1909-12-20)20 December 1909
Died 17 September 1953(1953-09-17) (aged 43)
Wenxiu
Simplified Chinese 文绣
Traditional Chinese 文繡
Lady Erdet, Consort Shu
Simplified Chinese 淑妃额尔德特氏
Traditional Chinese 淑妃額爾德特氏

Wenxiu (20 December 1909 - 17 September 1953), also known as Consort Shu, was a concubine of Puyi, the last Emperor of China and final ruler of the Qing Dynasty. She was from the Mongol Erdet (額爾德特) clan and her family was under the Bordered Yellow Banner of the Eight Banners.

Biography[edit]

Wenxiu was among the candidates listed as suitable by the Qing court as Empress consort. They were not paraded before the emperor as had previously been the tradition; instead, they had their photographs taken and presented to Puyi, who was encouraged to choose his empress from among them. Puyi himself claims that he in fact chose Wenxiu as his empress rather than Wanrong.[1] However, his choice was not approved of because of a conflict among his predecessor's widows, who had different favorites among the candidates. When the time came for Puyi to marry, Consort Jin and Dowager Consort Jingyi (敬懿太妃) had an argument over who should be the empress (the emperor's primary spouse). Lady Tatara favoured Wanrong while Jinyi preferred Wenxiu. In Lady Tatara's opinion, Wenxiu was not beautiful enough to be empress and she came from a lesser family background as compared to Wanrong. Despite so, Puyi's first choice was Wenxiu, and this frustrated Lady Tatara. She held a discussion with other nobles and officials in the imperial court, and they succeeded in persuading Puyi to select Wanrong as his empress and name Wenxiu as a consort. [1] Wenxiu was taken to the court before Wanrong and welcomed her when she arrived in 1922.

Along with Puyi and Empress Wanrong, Wenxiu left the Forbidden City in 1924, and moved to the Zhang Garden (张园) in the Japanese Concession of Tianjin. According to Puyi, Wenxiu and Wanrong were during this period both obsessed with luxury and material values, specified by the fact that as soon one of his consorts was given a gift, the other one demanded to be given the same [1] Wenxiu was, however, in the end more unsatisfied with her life than Wanrong, and status was less important to her.[1] She filed and was granted a divorce in 1931. According to Puyi, Wenxiu demonstrated great courage and willpower during the proceedings, as her wish was greatly disapproved of.[1] Following the divorce, Puyi, urged by former Qing officials, stripped Wenxiu of her imperial titles. According to Puyi, she worked as a school teacher for some years after the divorce.[1] She married Major Liu Zhendong in 1947.

In 2004 descendants of the imperial house of the Qing Dynasty granted posthumous titles to Puyi, his two spouses and two consorts. However Wenxiu did not receive a posthumous title because she is considered to have been reduced to the status of a commoner after she divorced Puyi.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Puyi (Swedish): Jag var kejsare av Kina (I was the emperor of China) (1988)