Empress Mao (Ming)

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Empress Mao
Empress of Cao Wei
Born (Unknown)
Died 237
Traditional Chinese 毛皇后
Simplified Chinese 毛皇后
Pinyin Máo Huánghòu
Wade–Giles Mao Huang-hou
Posthumous name Empress Mingdao (Chinese: 明悼皇后; pinyin: Míngdào Huánghòu; Wade–Giles: Ming-tao Huang-hou)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Mao.

Empress Mao (died 237), personal name unknown, formally known as Empress Mingdao, was an empress of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. She was married to Cao Rui, the second ruler of Wei.

Empress Mao became a concubine of Cao Rui's during the reign of his father, Cao Pi. Cao Rui was the Prince of Pingyuan at that time. She was not his wife or princess—that status belonged to Lady Yu. However, Consort Mao was a favored consort of Cao Rui's.

When Cao Rui became emperor in 226 following his father's death, it was widely expected that Princess Yu, as his wife, would be created empress. However, Cao Rui created Consort Mao empress instead in 227. Even though her family was of low birth, her father Mao Jia (毛嘉), who was a carpenter, and brother Mao Zeng (毛曾) were promoted to honored posts, and Mao Jia was created a marquess. When Cao Rui became aware that the aristocratic families looked down at his father-in-law, he promoted Mao Jia further and ordered all important officials to attend feasts at the Mao residence.

However, as the years went by, Empress Mao began to lose Cao Rui's favor. By 237, Consort Guo had replaced her as Cao Rui's favorite. Once, when Cao Rui was attending a feast hosted by Consort Guo, Consort Guo requested that Empress Mao be invited to join as well, but Cao Rui refused and further ordered that no news about the feast be given to Empress Mao. However, the news leaked, and Empress Mao talked about the feast with him anyway. He became exceedingly angry, and killed a number of his attendants whom he suspected of leaking the news to Empress Mao, and, inexplicably, ordered Empress Mao to commit suicide, even though she was still buried with honors due an empress, and her family remained honored.

See also[edit]


Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress Guo Nüwang
Empress of Cao Wei
Succeeded by
Empress Guo