Hou Lan

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Hou Lan (simplified Chinese: 侯览; traditional Chinese: 侯覽, Pinyin Hóu Lǎn) (d. 172) was a eunuch who served Emperor Han Huandi. Hou Lan came originally from Shanyang Commandery, in modern Shandong. He participated in the overthrow of Liang Ji in 159 and, as a reward, was made Marquis of Gao.[1] In 165, Grand Commandant Yang Bing requested that Hou Lan be dismissed due to alleged extortionate behavior of Hou Can, Hou Lan’s brother.[2] Hou Lan was dismissed in 165,[3] but reinstated by 166.[4] At some point prior to 172, he became Grand Coachman of the Palace of Prolonged Joy. This was the official residence of the Empress Dowager,[5] and the appointment presumably reflected support from Empress Dowager Dou Miao. The appointment is likely to have occurred in 168, when the death of Emperor Huan of Han left Hou Lan without an employer. Certainly, the Empress Dowager is known to have protected him from execution that same year, when his death was urged by Chen Fan, one of her own senior advisers.[6] In 172, Hou Lan was abruptly “found guilty of luxury and arrogance, and of acting with arbitrary authority.” Hou Lan was ordered to surrender his seal and ribbon of office. He then committed suicide.[7] It seems likely that Hou Lan’s fall, on such vague charges, did not result from any particular misconduct of his own. Rather, his arrest and dismissal are better explained by his relationship to the Empress Dowager in the controversy which led to her arrest and the death of her brother Dou Wu, together with many of their relatives, that same year.[8]


  1. ^ de Crispigny, Rafe (1989). Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling (Internet (2003) ed.). Canberra, Australia: Australian Nat. Univ., Faculty of Asian Studies. p. 1750: CC-DD. 
  2. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1778-1779: D
  3. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1779: D)
  4. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1788: N, n. 29)
  5. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1804: E, n. 19)
  6. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1809: K)
  7. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1828: C)
  8. ^ de Crispigny (1989: 1810-1811: K-M)