Story of Yanxi Palace
|Story of Yanxi Palace|
|Mandarin||Yán Xǐ Gōng Lüè|
|Based on||Yan Xi Gong Lüe by Zhou Mo|
|Written by||Zhou Mo|
|Directed by||Hui Kaidong|
|Country of origin||China|
|No. of episodes||70|
|Executive producer||Yu Zheng|
|Production location||Hengdian World Studios|
|Running time||45 mins (TVCs times included for Vietnam)|
|Production companies||Huanyu Film|
|Original network||iQiyi |
|Original release||July 7 –|
August 26, 2018
|Followed by||Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventure|
Story of Yanxi Palace (Chinese: 延禧攻略) is a Chinese period drama series created by Yu Zheng. It is an original screenplay written by Zhou Mo, and later developed into a novel by Xiao Lian Mao. Starring Wu Jinyan, Charmaine Sheh, Qin Lan, Nie Yuan, Tan Zhuo and Xu Kai, the series premiered on iQiyi from July 19, 2018 to August 26, 2018. During its run it was streamed more than 15 billion times.
Distributed in more than 70 markets worldwide, Story of Yanxi Palace has since become a huge hit, especially in Asia. It was the most Googled TV show in the world in 2018, despite Google being blocked in Mainland China.
In 18th century Beijing (18 March 1741), Wei Yingluo enters the court of the Qianlong Emperor, Aisin Gioro Hongli, as one of the palace embroiderers to secretly investigate her beloved sister's rape and subsequent mysterious death.
¹At first believing the imperial guard Fuca Fuheng to be the prime suspect, Yingluo schemes to approach his sister, the Empress Fuca Rongyin, and succeeds in getting transferred from her embroidery unit to the Empress's Changchun Palace as her maid. Over time, she learns that the Fuca siblings are honest and kindhearted people, innocent of the crime. Yingluo and Fuheng fall for each other. Fuheng, extremely handsome and righteous, was admired by many around the Palace, including Qianlong's Consort Chun who allies herself to Empress Fuca because of her crush on her brother, and by the empress's head handmaid, Erqing.
Yingluo's looks, cunning and ability to talk her way out of any situation catches the attention of Qianlong himself.
Though Yingluo is not noble by birth and is illiterate, the kindhearted Empress Fuca teaches her how to read and write, along with all the proper etiquette and mannerisms for noblewomen at the time. The empress saves her several times from punishment for probing too deeply into her sister's death. In turn, Yingluo helps Empress Fuca survive a series of maneuvers by her chief rivals. The two develop a tight friendship akin to sisterhood. In time, Yingluo discovers that her sister was raped by the son of the late Emperor Yongzheng, half-brother to the current emperor. To cover up the shameful act, the Prince's mother murdered Yingluo's sister. Yingluo hatches a plot to drive the culprit to her untimely death. Empress Fuca, for fear of Qianlong's fury over Yingluo's actions, banishes her to the palace sanitation unit to escape his decree of severe punishment. There, Yingluo befriends a conniving eunuch, Yuan Chunwang, who is subsequently revealed to be a bastard son of Emperor Yongzheng.
Without Yingluo, Empress Fuca falls victim to the machinations of Noble Consort Gao that puts her in a coma. News reaches Yingluo who secretly visits Empress Fuca's chamber to sit by her mistress's side and care for her. Yingluo's devotion to Empress Fuca touches Qianlong even more. His own feelings towards her made him forbid Fuheng and Yingluo from marrying. Yingluo persists in her love despite various punishments from the emperor, but Fuheng backs down, causing the two to become distant. The emperor eventually relent on his tough stance towards her and allow her to return as maid to the Empress. Empress Fuca eventually woke from her coma, and becomes pregnant again. She goes through almost life-ending labor to give birth to another son, who is immediately the target of assassination by the duplicitous Consort Chun. Meanwhile, Consort Xian purposefully makes a birthday party for the Empress Dowager go wrong, injuring several people and killing Noble Consort Gao, who was her nemesis since the very beginning. Consort Chun had been devastated for having been rejected by Fuheng, now strived to be the Emperor's new favorite and even borne a son, placing her in direct competition and conflict with her former friend, the Empress. One New Year's eve, Consort Chun devised a plan to kill the Empress's new baby. Empress Fuca was left devastated to lose another child. She seemingly committed suicide out of grief. After Empress Fuca's death, Yingluo is sent to live and guard over her mistress's grave at the Old Summer Palace. She stays there with Yuan Chunwang until one year (1750), during an imperial visit by Qianlong and his consorts to Fuca's grave, Yingluo learns that Consort Chun was responsible for her late mistress's suicide, and was torturing her friend and fellow maid of the late Empress. She decides once again to enter the Forbidden City and exact retribution on the evildoers.
In order to achieve the goal, Yingluo skillfully charms Qianlong, becoming part of his harem, and is bestowed a title. With meticulous planning, she quickly rose through the ranks, toppling her rivals one after another, including the villainess, now Noble Consort Chun, even insofar as exposing her role in Empress Fuca's death, which leads to her fall in the hands of Yingluo's archrival, the newly named Empress Hoifa-Nara (1751). Yingluo's captivation of Qianlong brings her numerous threats, none greater than that of her former sworn brother Yuan Chunwang. He, at Empress Hoifa-Nara's direction, revealed she was secretly taking birth control, that led to the revelation to her real reason for entering the harem. Qianlong, who had truly fallen for her, was shattered and instantly branded her out of favor. Yingluo in term, teamed up with the Empress Dowager, whose own relationship with Qianlong was put to the test through the Empress's schemes. The two women once most dear to Qianlong went into self-imposed exile. A few years later, another threat in the form newcomer Concubine Shun, a beautiful and cunning woman, called Yingluo back to the Forbidden City. Yingluo had set out to reclaim Qianlong's favor, but found herself befriended by her rival. As this was the Forbidden City, Shun had her own agenda. Framing Yingluo for attempted assassination, Concubine Shun deftly teams up with Empress Hoifa-Nara to put Yingluo under house arrest and pull strings to starve her nearly to death. Nevertheless, Yingluo is able to reverse her situation, reveal Shun's treachery, and reclaim Qianlong's affections for her. Having reached stalemate at this point, Yingluo negotiates for a truce with Hoifa-Nara on the condition that they both not harm any children of the palace in spite of the rivalry.
A decade later (1765), however, the nihilistic Yuan Chunwang, now Hoifa-Nara's trusted servant, betrays his new mistress by causing a series of mishaps in the palace that destabilized Hoifa-Nara's rule, and affected her sanity. Yuan Chunwang gradually used Hongzhou's, the Emperor's half-brother, affection for Hoifa-Nara to instigate a rebellion. They plotted to sabotage Qianlong's Southern river tour in order to seize power and, in Hongzhou's mind, free the Empress from her eroding position. On a chosen night, a band of rebels suddenly storms onto the royal vessel just as a fire engulfs the Empress Dowager's cabin, prompting Qianlong to charge into the flaming cabin to save his mother, seemingly perishing himself in the process.
The next morning, as Hongzhou gallantly appears to restore order from the overnight coup, Qianlong and the Empress Dowager emerge safely from a secret passageway designed by Fuheng and expose Hongzhou's plan of treachery. As it turns out, Hongzhou was betrayed by the Empress, who always loved Qianlong and wanted to use Hongzhou's rebellion to prove her devotion to her husband. Just then, Noble Consort Ling comes out of hiding under the protection of the Emperor's guards, the only consort to receive protection. This clear favorism after all her years of devotion drove Hoifa-Nara mad. In a fit of rage and jealousy, she cuts off her own hair, a taboo in Manchu tradition analogous to an outcry for divorce, effectively cursing the entire Aisin Gioro clan. After Qianlong sentences Hongzhou to confinement and the Empress was dragged away, Yuan Chunwang proclaimed his innocence, only for Yingluo to reveal the real reason Yuan hated Qianlong so much. Yuan believed he was a bastard son of the late Yongzheng Emperor. The Empress Dowager loudly denies this. Her pity for his "wasted life" drives Yuan Chunwang into madness.
Back when Wei Yingluo was being punished to work in the hard labor department, the then Noble Consort Xian had saved her life by ordering an Imperial Physician to attend to her after she collapsed from illness. To repay this kindness from long ago, Wei Yingluo plead for leniency for Empress Hoifa-Nara, and she is permitted to keep her title, but loses her managerial authority in the imperial harem and all of the Emperor's affections. Hongzhou is given poisoned wine by the emperor, and Wei Yingluo's revenge for her sister is finally complete. Wei Yingluo is elevated to the most powerful title: 'Imperial Noble Consort" (Second in rank only to the Empress) and given the authority to manage the imperial harem.
- Wu Jinyan as Wei Yingluo, Noble Consort Ling (令)
- Embroidery Maid → Maid at Changchun Palace → Maid at Labor Workhouse → Maid at Changchun Palace → Maid at Yuanming Garden → Noble Lady Wei (魏）→ Concubine Ling → Consort Ling → Noble Consort Ling → Imperial Noble Consort Ling → Empress Xiaoyichun (孝儀純皇后 - posthumous)
- An upright, strong and cunning woman who is ahead of her time in terms of knowledge and reasoning. She enters the palace to investigate the murder of her sister. In the palace, she uses her innate skills to rise above the tangles of conventional palace rivalries for nobler causes and defeat her enemies. She also became the adoptive mother of the Fifth Prince, Yongqi.
- Charmaine Sheh as Hoifa-Nara Shushen, Consort Xian (娴)
- Consort Xian → Noble Consort Xian → Imperial Noble Consort Xian → Empress
- initially a kind-hearted and virtuous woman who wanted nothing but peace, she soon realizes that her kindness only results in her being stepped on. After her family's demise, she becomes a cunning woman who manipulated others for her own means. She is also stripped of her titles when she lops off her hair in the Southern Tour.
- Qin Lan as Empress Fuca Rongyin
- The First Empress of Emperor Qianlong, Empress Xiaoxianchun. Kind, gentle and virtuous. A mentor of Yingluo during her stay in Changchun Palace. Killed herself after her infant son, Yongcong, was killed by Lady Chun.
- Nie Yuan as Emperor Qianlong
- Emperor of the Qing Dynasty — a ruthless Emperor who fell in love with a cunning woman Wei Yingluo, who became the mother of their children and posthumously known as Empress Xiaoyichun.
- Xu Kai as Lord Fuca Fuheng
- Leader of the imperial guards, younger brother of Empress Xiaoxianchun. He is a foil for the Emperor since he is a rather free man without the hamper of pomp and circumstance. In this way, he can be truer himself in love and life, and he maximizes the privilege by being upfront and forward in his feelings, without the hesitation and unease that clouds every step taken by his more powerful superior. Ends up marrying Erqing and dies from malaria while retrieving a cure for a rare disease Yingluo contracted.
- Tan Zhuo as Gao Ningxin, Noble Consort Gao
- Noble Consort Gao (高) → Imperial Noble Consort Huixian (惠娴) (posthumous)
- The first mentioned Noble Consort of Emperor Qianlong in the series. Her palace strategy can be summed up as "the best defence is a strong offence." With an air of indifference, she walks and talks meaner than a viper, and for those who think lightly of her, cruelty is her specialty. However, for all that they know, she is actually a lonely child who lives by making the whole palace her stage in the hopes of catching the attention of her man. She commits suicide after Lady Xian convinces her that her beauty is ruined after an accident.
- Wang Yuanke as Su Jinghao, Noble Consort Chun (纯)
- Consort Chun → Noble Consort Chun → Second Class Female Attendant Su → Imperial Noble Consort Chunhui (Posthumous)
- Consort of Emperor Qianlong. Described as gentle, sophisticated, and talented by many, she is actually a supremely intelligent schemer. She initially acts as the loyal lackey and confidant of Empress Rongyin (posthumous Xiaoxianchun), going so far as to deliberately avoid the Emperor's favour. Later, it is revealed that she was in love with Lord Fuca Fuheng and that due to the machinations of her maid, she misunderstood Fuca Fuheng's actions as returning her affections but being unable to act on them. The revelation of the truth turned her into a scorned woman. Due to her humiliation, regret, and Hoifa-Nara Shushen's sly instigations, she went berserk and caused the death of Empress Xiaoxianchun's son, which therefore directly caused her death. She becomes ruthless on her quest for the Emperor's affections and power struggle to ensure her son becomes favored.
- Jenny Zhang as Niohuru Chenbi, Concubine Shun (顺)
- gifted to Emperor Qianlong as a diplomatic gesture by a Qing vassal state. She has the face of pure innocence and the heart of a shrew.
- Lian Lian as Keliyete Ayan, Consort Yu (愉)
- Noble Lady Yu → Concubine Yu → Consort Yu → Nun
- gave birth to Qianlong's fifth son Yongqi. Timid and cowardly, she remains reticent about her abuse until Yingluo comes to her protection. In time, she learns to be quite a machiavellian as she sacrifices herself and takes down Yingluo's rival, Consort Chun.
- Xu Baihui as Imperial Concubine Yi (怡)
- Friend to Noble Lady Yu. An early victim of Noble Consort Gao.
- Pan Shiqi as Imperial Concubine / Noble Lady Jia (嘉)
- Concubine Jia → Noble Lady Jia → Second Class Female Attendant Jin
- Concubine Jia → Consort Jia
- A daughter of Korean minister. Underling of Noble Consort Gao and mother of 4th Prince. To survive, she does Gao's dirty work and is there to take the fall for her. Her younger sister later enters the harem with a strong distaste for Yingluo and does not get very far. Moreover, younger concubine Jia is impulsive and pretensional.
- Li Chun'ai as Nalan Chunxue, Lady Shu (舒)
- Noble Lady Shu → Concubine Shu → Consort Shu
- One of the harem who very early handled by Yingluo and even over the course of the series, to the point of becoming comic relief.
- Li Ruoning as Lu Wanwan, Consort Qing (庆)
- First Class Female Attendant Qing → Noble Lady Qing → Concubine Qing → Consort Qing → Noble Consort Qing
- Quiet but self-assured, she is a little person who can effect big changes. She becomes Wei Yingluo's most trusted ally and raises 15th Prince Yongyan.
- Wang Xinhui as Concubine Wan (婉)
- Timid and tactfull lady, she obeys the rules.
- Liu Lu as Concubine Ying (颖)
- She seems to be a well-informed lady with good intentions and a conformist
- Fu Xiaoyu as Noble Lady Rui (瑞)
Many of the film props and costumes use as centerpieces exquisitely made articles from traditional Chinese crafts that are dying out with few master-level experts remaining to pass on their skills to the next generation. The acquisition of these skills requires a lifetime commitment to perfect, since they are unsurprisingly labor-intensive, demanding a sharp eye and tireless hands in order to replicate in painstaking detail the exclusive nature of their beauty.
Velvet flowers (ronghua)
The velvet flower headwear used by the main characters was designed based on historical documents or antiques housed in the Palace Museum. Each adornment is created according to the characteristics of individual palace women. Zhao Shuxian, one of the few craftsmen still making velvet flowers, created all the headwear in the show using the art of making velvet flower (ronghua). This technique dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and refers to the creation of not only floral displays, but also animal shapes made by silk on a twisted wire frame.
Worn by the Empress and Consorts as status symbols of opulence, these are hairpins of a particular vibrant blue hue, made from the preserved feathers of the wings and back of the kingfisher bird. The technique resembles cloisonné, and when inlaid with pearls and other gemstones, are especially eye-catching the way a peacock dazzles fanning its tail.
|Story of Yanxi Palace|
Original Soundtrack (OST)
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||July 23, 2018|
|Label||Dongyang Huanyu Film|
The original soundtrack was released as an extended play on July 23, 2018. "Willows of the Palace" by Li Chunai was released independently from the album.
A 70-track studio album titled The Story of Yanxi Palace TV soundtrack (延禧攻略 影视剧配乐) was released July 19, 2018, containing the instrumental music of the series composed by Chen Guoliang. The music was recorded in J Productions House, and features flute player: Tan Baoshuo, Violin player: Leslie Ryang, Pipa player: Liu Tuotong, erhu player: Huang Leting, and Li Junzhu as the female voice. A total of 129 pieces were used in the show.
|1.||"Look (看)" (Opening theme song)||Yu Zheng, Lu Hu||Lu Hu||Lu Hu||4:03|
|2.||"Sighs of the Palace Walls (红墙叹)" (Ending theme song)||Wang Yaoguang||Wen Kui||Hu Xia||4:30|
|3.||"The Sound of Snow Falling (雪落下的声音)" (Ending theme song)||Yu Zheng, Lu Hu||Lu Hu||Lu Hu||5:11|
|4.||"The Sound of Snow Falling (雪落下的声音)"||Yu Zheng, Lu Hu||Lu Hu||Qin Lan||5:05|
|5.||"Forgetting About Each Other (相忘)" (Ending theme song)||Wang Xiaoqian||Yang Chengyin||Su Qing||4:13|
|6.||"Willows of the Palace (宫墙柳)"||Yu Zheng||Tan Xuan||Li Chunai||4:13|
The series has generated buzz online for its engaging plot of a "Cinderella" tale with Chinese characteristics. It set the single-day online viewership record in China with a total of 530 million views, and has attracted a cumulative over 13 billion views since August 2018. The drama is the most viewed Chinese language drama of 2018.
It was also the most Googled show on earth in 2018, despite Google being blocked in the mainland.
Many viewers praised the story, because unlike the amicable heroines they were used to seeing, the main character Wei Yingluo fights fire with fire and outmaneuvers her opponents. It also received praise for its well-developed cast of characters and exciting interpretation by the actors; beautiful cinematography and intricate costume design; as well as its accurate portrayal of history and Qing-dynasty settings. Owing to its success, there has been an increased number of visitors to the Palace Museum in Beijing, which is where all the main characters in the show used to live in times gone by.
|Air date||Ratings (%)||Rank||Audience share (%)||Daily cumulative eps|
|September 24, 2018||0.253 (AM)/0.498 (PM)||1||—||8|
|September 25, 2018||0.330||7||3.787||4|
|September 27, 2018||0.319||6||3.853||4|
|September 28, 2018||0.354||5||4.316||4|
|September 29, 2018||0.285||7||3.780||4|
|October 1, 2018||0.593||—||—||8|
|October 2, 2018||0.615||—||—||8|
|October 3, 2018||0.689||1||7.317||8|
|October 4, 2018||0.694||1||7.474||8|
|October 5, 2018||0.603||1||6.202||2+ 6 (two rounds)|
|October 6, 2018||0.565||2||5.576||8|
|October 7, 2018||0.619||2||5.787||8|
|October 8, 2018||0.403||4||4.894||4|
|October 9, 2018||0.422||4||4.915||4|
|October 10, 2018||0.494||2||5.957||4|
|October 11, 2018||0.442||1||5.546||4|
|October 12, 2018||0.520||1||6.485||4|
|October 13, 2018||0.518||1||5.451||8|
|October 14, 2018||0.588||1||5.848||8|
|October 15, 2018||0.528||1||6.362||4|
|October 16, 2018||0.541||1||6.545||4|
- Highest ratings are marked in red, lowest ratings are marked in blue
There was uproar in China after a Vietnamese website managed to acquire episodes not yet shown in China and asked visitors to the website to answer questions confirming their Vietnamese identity before the website loads. "This service is for Vietnamese people only. Please answer the following questions: To which country do the Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) belong? Vietnam, China, Philippines or Japan?". The only correct answer to the question is Vietnam. Copies of the episodes were later removed from the platform.
On January 25, 2019, the Beijing Daily, an official government newspaper, criticized the program for failing to promote socialist values. Four days later, on January 29, the Chinese government cancelled the program and similar programs such as Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace. CNN and other media outlets quickly reported on this incident, calling it Chinese censorship. A Hong Kong professor stated that the show was censored because it became too popular and defied social norms.
Awards and nominations
|2018||5th Hengdian Film and TV Festival of China||Best Television Series||Story of Yanxi Palace||Won|||
|24th Huading Awards||Best Actress (Ancient Drama)||Wu Jinyan||Won|||
|Best Supporting Actress||Charmaine Sheh||Nominated|
|2019||Golden Bud - The Third Network Film and Television Festival||Most Influential Web Series||Story of Yanxi Palace||Won|||
|Influence of Recreational Responsibilities Awards||Web Drama of the Year||Won|||
|Asian Academy Creative Awards||Best Telenovela/Soap Opera||Won|||
|TVB Jade||6 August - 6 October (Monday-Friday at 20:30)
(Two episodes back to back for Saturday & Sunday) at 20:30.
|Dubbed with Cantonese, 26 August and 22 September was not air. TVB Jade will air at 20:30 on 1 October.|
|HTV7 - Ho Chi Minh City Television||9 August - October 2018 (Monday-Friday at 17:00)||Dubbed with Vietnamese|
|H1 - Hanoi Radio Television||22 November 2018 - 20 February 2019 at 19:50:
||Aired on the Film for fans (Vietnamese: Phim truyện Dành cho người hâm mộ) time slot.
Original language with Vietnamese voiceover.
Edited to 77 episodes.
|VTC1||March - 13 May 2019 at 17:00||Dubbed with Vietnamese|
|Hub VV Drama||20 September - (Weekdays 17:00)||Original Language|
|Mediacorp Channel U||8 March - 13 June (Weekdays 22:00)||Original Language|
|Fairchild TV 2 HD (FTV2HD)||6 August - Present (Monday-Friday)
Vancouver (West) 4:30pm, 8:30pm
Toronto (East) 7:30pm, 11:30pm
|Dubbed with Cantonese (TVB Version)|
|TBA||TBA||Coming Soon. Subtitles in French (Franćais)|
|ABS-CBN (defunct)||27 January - 5 May 2020 (cancelled broadcast on free-to-air, due to the network's shutdown because of expired franchise)||Dubbed in Filipino|
|Asianovela Channel (defunct)||1–30 June 2020 (cancelled re-run)|
|Kapamilya Channel||November 2, 2020 - February 12, 2021 (complete re-run, via cable and satellite)|
|Sony Entertainment Television||Coming Soon||Dubbed Hindi|
|RCTI||TBA||Dubbed with Bahasa Indonesia|
|M-Net||Coming Soon||Dubbed with English|
|CTI America||From 3 September 2018 - (Weekdays) At 7:00 PM (PT)
Repeat at next day 3:00 PM (PT)
|Eigeki||18 February 2019 (Monday-Friday at 21:00)||Original language with Japanese subtitles|
|PPCTV Drama 10||10 March 2019 (Monday-Sunday) 11:30 & 19:30||Dubbed khmer|
|8TV||16 September 2019 - 22 December 2019 (Monday-Friday at 19:00)||Original Language with subtitles|
|Astro Prima||TBA||Dubbed with Bahasa Melayu|
|TVR 1||9 October 2019 - 28 January 2020 (Monday-Friday) 17:35
24 March - 13 July 2020 (Monday-Friday) 17:00
|Original Language with subtitles|
|LNK||4 January 2020 - 30 August 2020 (Saturday-Sunday at 17:45)||Dubbed with Lithuanian|
|RTP1||Coming Soon||Original Language Within Subtitles in Portuguese|
|Asian Box (Mongolia)||5 June 2019 - 10 July 2019 (Monday-Friday at 22:00)||Dubbed with Mongolian|
On December 31, 2019, Netflix released a 6-episode season, "Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures", which covers the marriage of Imperial Consort Ling's daughter, Princess Zhaohua, played by Wang Herun.
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