Fu Shou

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Fu Shou
Empress Fu Shou (right) standing beside Emperor Xian, from an illustrated version of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Empress of the Eastern Han dynasty
Born (Unknown)
Died 214
Traditional Chinese 伏壽
Simplified Chinese 伏寿
Pinyin Fú Shòu
Wade–Giles Fu Shou
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Fu.

Fu Shou (died 214) was an empress of the Eastern Han dynasty. She was the first wife of Emperor Xian, the last Han emperor.

Family background and marriage to Emperor Xian[edit]

Fu Shou's father was Fu Wan (伏完), a seventh generation descendant of the early Eastern Han official Fu Zhan (伏湛) and the hereditary Marquess of Buqi. His wife was the Princess Yang'an (陽安公主), a daughter of Emperor Huan), but she was not mother of Fu Shou as Fu Shou's mother was named Ying (盈). Fu Wan also had a wife surnamed Fan (樊), and it is not clear whether she was Ying. The Fu family descended from the prominent Confucian scholar Fu Sheng.[1]

In 190, as Emperor Xian was being forced by Dong Zhuo to move the capital west to Chang'an, Lady Fu became an imperial consort. In 195, while Emperor Xian was largely under the control of Dong's subordinates Li Jue (李傕) and Guo Si (郭汜), he created her empress.

As empress[edit]

As Emperor Xian continued his reign of being constantly under the control of one warlord or another, he and Empress Fu were apparently in a loving relationship, but both saw their power increasingly becoming minimal. Later in 195, during Emperor Xian's flight back to the old capital Luoyang, Empress Fu was personally carrying silk, which were seized by soldiers ostensibly protecting her—such that even her own personal bodyguards were killed, and their blood splashed on her. When they returned to Luoyang, the court was ill-supplied, and while there is no record indicating that Empress Fu personally was under threat of starvation, a number of imperial officials died of hunger or were killed by robbers. Materially, the court became much better supplied once Cao Cao arrived in 196 and took Emperor Xian and his court under control. Cao relocated the court to his headquarters of Xu (in modern Xuchang, Henan).

Empress Fu was apparently not happy about Cao's domination of the political scene. In 200, when Emperor Xian's concubine Consort Dong, whose father Dong Cheng had been killed in a failed conspiracy against Cao, was forcibly executed by Cao against Emperor Xian's wishes, Empress Fu became angry and fearful, and she wrote her father Fu Wan a letter accusing Cao of cruelty and implicitly asking him to start a new conspiracy. Fu Wan was fearful and did not act on the letter, but Empress Fu's letter was discovered in 214. Cao was extremely angry and forced Emperor Xian to have Empress Fu deposed. Emperor Xian was hesitant, and Cao sent his forces into the palace to force the issue. Empress Fu hid inside the walls, but was finally discovered and dragged out. As she was led away, she cried out to Emperor Xian for him to save her life, but his only response was that he could not even know what would happen to him. She was incarcerated and presumably killed along with her two sons and family. Emperor Xian was spared, but his status as a puppet was by then fully exposed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 伏胜 (in Chinese). Guoxue.com. 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress He
Empress of Eastern Han Dynasty
Succeeded by
Empress Cao Jie