Xin Xianying

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Xin Xianying
Traditional Chinese 辛憲英
Simplified Chinese 辛宪英

Xin Xianying (191–269)[1] was the daughter of Xin Pi, an official of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. The tribulations of this period caused insecurity and her brother Xin Chang repeatedly asked her for advice.

Xin Xianying's words showed her wisdom and practicality, for which she was famous. Many times Xin Xianying spoke her mind, even when others couldn't.


Her hometown was in Longxi County, Gansu. Her father was a high-ranking official as an imperial adviser. As a young girl she became known for her studying.[2] When she was sixteen, she married Yang Dan (羊丹) of Taishan. During the uncertain times of the three kingdoms, her brother often asked her for advice.[3]

In 217, Cao Pi was named Cao Cao's heir. When her father told her of Cao Pi's delight at his appointment, Xin Xianying remarked that it does not forebode well for the dynasty if Cao Pi was happy about shouldering such a sad and heavy responsibility when his father dies.[1]

In 234, when Zhuge Liang gave Sima Yi the lady's dress attempting to stir up Sima's anger. Sima wrote to Cao Rui and asked for the authority to fight Shu's forces (it was not known in history whether Sima Yi did this because he was angry himself, or just doing it to calm down his generals). Xin Pi thought it was amusing and told it to his daughter at the dinner-table, Xin Xianying replied with a serious tone, "The army determines the fate of a nation, nobody can afford to joke over that. Fighting the enemy because of anger often leads to unexpected losses, it is something we should avoid." Xin Pi thanked his daughter, and replied Cao Rui next day, advising him to enforce Sima Yi to defend his camp and wait for opportunities. Zhuge Liang died of illness the following month.

Xin Xianying often talked to her nephew Yang Hu about Zhong Hui's ambitions to rule, and said that one should avoid having too close personal contacts with Zhong Hui.


  1. ^ a b de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 897. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0. 
  2. ^ Bennet Peterson (2000), p. 133
  3. ^ Bennet Peterson (2000), p. 134


See also[edit]