Empress Xiao Yanyan
|Empress Dowager Chengtian of Liao|
from one 1892 print of the novel Legends of Generals of the Yang Family (楊家將傳)
|regent of Liao dynasty|
|empress dowager||13 October 982 - 23 December 1009|
|Regent||Emperor Shengzong, son|
|Died||December 23, 1009|
|Spouse||Yelü Xian (Emperor Jingzong)|
|Father||Xiao Siwen (蕭思溫)|
|Mother||Yelü Lübugu (耶律呂不古)|
Xiao Yanyan (蕭燕燕) (953–1009) was a Khitan empress of imperial China's Liao dynasty. Her Chinese name was Xiao Chuo (蕭綽). She married Emperor Jingzong of Liao. At his death in 982, she became regent for her son Emperor Shengzong. She was formally referred to as Empress Dowager Chengtian (承天皇太后).
She commanded her own army of 10,000 cavalry which she stayed at the head of until she was near the age of sixty. Song dynasty troops attacked the Liao in 986, but they were pushed back and later defeated in 989. She was known for her great skills in civil administration and retained great influence until her death.
Xiao Chuo was the 3rd child of Xiao Siwen (蕭思溫), Liao's chancellor. At a young age, she distinguished herself from her sisters by being very thorough sweeping the floors. Impressed, her father chose her to marry the new Emperor Jingzong as a consort. Soon afterward, she was given the title of empress; she later gave birth to Emperor Shengzong. She is one of the greatest women in Liao history. It is said that she have a marriage promise with Han Derang who is the important man in the Liao history. 
Film and television
- Portrayed by Mu Qing in the 1995 Chinese movie Great Liao's Empress Dowager.
- Portrayed by Shim Hye-jin in the 2009 KBS2 TV series Empress Cheonchu.
Notes and references
- Essentially the same novel, with slight modifications by publishers and editors, as the second half of Records of the Two Songs, South and North (兩宋南北志傳) written by Xiong Damu (熊大木) in the late 16th century.
- Biographical Sketches, p.44
- Toqto'a; et al. (1344). Liao Shi (宋史) [History of Liao] (in Chinese).
- "Biographical Sketches". Chinese Studies in History. 35: 11–93. 2002. doi:10.2753/CSH0009-4633350211.
- " Women in power 750-1000" from Guide2womenleaders.com, last accessed January 13, 2007