Empress Zhang (Hongxi)

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Empress Chengxiao

Empress Zhang (1379–20 November 1442), was a Chinese Empress consort of the Ming Dynasty, married to the Hongxi Emperor. She served as the Regent of China during the minority of her grandson, Emperor Yingzong of Ming, from 1435 until 1442.

Early life[edit]

Zhang was from Northern Shanxi. She was the daughter of Zhang Čchiho. She became the first spouse of the future Hongxi Emperor in 1396. In 1404, her spouse was crowned Crown Prince and she, as his consort, Crown Princess. She gave birth to 3 sons and a daughter.

Empress[edit]

On 7 September 1424, her spouse ascended the throne as the Hongxi Emperor, and 29 October, she was made empress. She was described as wise, good and capable, with a great knowledge of all events both inside and outside of the palace, and was held in good confidence of the emperor, who allowed her to participate in state affairs.[1]

In 1425, her son succeeded to the throne as the Xuande-Emperor. He granted his mother the title of Empress Dowager. She was a dominant presence during the reign of her son, and accompanied him on his trips around the empire.[2]

Regency[edit]

In 1435, her son was succeeded by her eight-year-old grandson, Emperor Yingzong of Ming, and she was granted the title Grand Empress Dowager. A regency was formed consisting of the three eunuch-secretaries Yang Shih-chi, Yang Rongji och Yang Pu and the child-emperors teacher Wang Cene, with Zhang as the head of the regency council and regent. She was never formally given the title of regent: when she was asked to, she responded that there was no ancestral precedence for such a thing in the dynasty.[3] Though she refused the title, however, she still acted as regent, and held council with her ministers, listened to their views, and reserved the final say to her.[4]

She kept her position as regent of China until her death in 1442.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Volume II: Tang Through Ming 618 - 1644
  2. ^ Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Volume II: Tang Through Ming 618 - 1644
  3. ^ Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Volume II: Tang Through Ming 618 - 1644
  4. ^ Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Volume II: Tang Through Ming 618 - 1644
  • Denis C.; GRIMM, Tilemann. The Cheng-t'ung, Ching-t'ai, and T'ien-shun reigns, 1436—1464. In MOTE, Frederick W; TWITCHETT, Denis C. The Cambridge History of China Volume 7: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1988. [dále jen Twitchett, Grimm]. ISBN 0521243327.
  • DREYER, Edward L. Early Ming China: A Political History. Stanford : Stanford University Press, 1982. 315 s. ISBN 0-8047-1105-4. S. 223. (anglicky) [Dále jen Dreyer].
  • EER, Ph. de. The Care-taker Emperor : Aspects of the Imperial Institution in Fifteenth-century China as Reflected in the Political History of the Reign of Chu Chʾi-yü. Leiden : Brill, 1986. 226 s. ISBN 9004078983, 9789004078987.
Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress Renxiaowen
Empress of China
1424–1425
Succeeded by
Empress Gongrangzhang