|Empress of Northern Zhou|
|Died||April 23, 582 30–31)(aged|
|Burial||April 29, 582|
Chenma (陈马), Xianyang
|Spouse||Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou|
Empress Ashina (阿史那皇后, personal name unknown) (551–582) was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the daughter of Göktürk's Muqan Qaghan, and her husband was Emperor Wu.
She was born in 551, shortly before her grandfather Tumen (Bumin Qaghan), initially a vassal of Rouran, declared independence from Rouran and establishing a separate Göktürk state as its Illig Qaghan. Göktürk soon conquered most of Rouran, taking over as the main power over the steppes to the north of the Chinese states Western Wei and Eastern Wei (and their successor states, respectively Northern Zhou and Northern Qi). Because of this, Yuwen Tai, the paramount general of Western Wei, made repeated alliance overtures to Tujue, and initially, Ashina Qijin, who took over the throne in 554 after the death of his brother, the Issik Qaghan, agreed to give a daughter to him in marriage, but soon revoked the agreement. After Yuwen Tai's death in 556, his son Yuwen Jue seized the throne from Emperor Gong of Western Wei in spring 557, ending Western Wei and establishing Northern Zhou as its Emperor Xiaomin, and subsequently, after Emperor Xiaomin's younger brother Emperor Wu took the throne in 560, he resumed the marriage overture with Tujue, and Ashina Qijin agreed.
In 565, Emperor Wu sent a delegation of 120 people led by his brother Yuwen Chun (宇文純) the Duke of Chen to Tujue to escort Ashina Qijin's daughter back to Northern Zhou, but Ashina Qijin again revoked his offer and instead considered an alliance with Northern Qi, detaining Yuwen Chun and the rest of the delegation. In or before 568, a major storm inflicted damage on Ashina Qijin's royal tent, and Ashina Qijin took this as a sign of divine disapproval on his revocation of the marriage offer, and so permitted Yuwen Chun to escort his daughter to Northern Zhou. In 568, when she arrived at the Northern Zhou capital Chang'an, Emperor Wu personally welcomed her and created her his empress. Empress Ashina was said to be beautiful and appropriate in her actions, and Emperor Wu honored her but was said to not favor her, until his niece Lady Dou (the daughter of his sister the Princess Xiangyang and the official Dou Yi (竇毅) the Duke of Shenwu), around 572, reminded him of Tujue's power and that he still had to face the rivals Northern Qi and Chen Dynasty, and that he needed to show the empress greater favor to appease her home state. He agreed. However, they had no children together.
In 578, Emperor Wu died, and his son Yuwen Yun (by Consort Li Ezi) took the throne as Emperor Xuan. He honored both Empress Ashina and his mother Consort Li as empress dowagers. In 579, after Emperor Xuan had passed the throne to his son Emperor Jing and taken for himself the atypical title Tianyuan Shanghuang (天元上皇, a variation of Taishang Huang (retired emperor)), he honored her as "Empress Dowager Tianyuan" (天元皇太后 (Tianyuan Huang Taihou), later 天元上皇太后 (Tianyuan Shang Huang Taihou)). After he died in 580, Emperor Jing honored her as grand empress dowager. She survived Northern Zhou's usurpation by Emperor Xuan's father-in-law Yang Jian in 581 (as Yang Jian established Sui Dynasty as its Emperor Wen), and while Yang Jian killed most of Northern Zhou's imperial house, she was not harmed. She died on 23 April 582 and was buried with honors due an empress with her husband Emperor Wu on 29 April 582.
Her tomb was found in 1993 on Chenma village, Xianyang.Tomb was raided numerous times by looters, but several of artifacts, including her golden seal were recovered by Shenyang police. Empress Ashina's golden seal is the earliest known seal in existence, made in 579-580 with inscription "Empress Dowager Tianyuan" (天元皇太后) in large seal script.
Bumin Qaghan (Old Turkic: 𐰉𐰆𐰢𐰣:𐰴𐰍𐰣, romanized: Bumïn qaγan, also known as Illig Qaghan or Yamï Qaghan was the founder of the Turkic Khaganate. He was the eldest son of Ashina Tuwu. He was the chieftain of the Turks under the sovereignty of Rouran Khaganate. He is also mentioned as "Tumen" of the Rouran Khaganate.
Emperor Wen of Sui, personal name Yang Jian (楊堅), Xianbei name Puliuru Jian (普六茹堅), alias Narayana deriving from Buddhist terms, was the founder and first emperor of China's Sui dynasty. He was a hard-working administrator and a micromanager. The Sui Shu records him as having withdrawn his favour from the Confucians, giving it to "the group advocating Xing-Ming and authoritarian government." As a Buddhist, he encouraged the spread of Buddhism through the state. He is regarded as one of the most important emperors in ancient Chinese history, reunifying China in 589 after centuries of division since the fall of the Western Jin dynasty in 316. During his reign, the construction of the Grand Canal began.
Taspar Qaghan or Tatpar Qaghan was the third son of Bumin Qaghan and Wei Changle (長樂公主), and the fourth khagan of the Turkic Khaganate (572–581).
Muqan Qaghan; was the second son of Bumin Qaghan and the third khagan of the Göktürks who expanded their khaganate and secured the borders against the Hephthalites.
Emperor Ming of (Western) Liang ( 梁明帝) (542–585), personal name Xiao Kui (蕭巋), courtesy name Renyuan (仁遠), was an emperor of the Chinese Western Liang dynasty. He, like his father Emperor Xuan and his son Emperor Jing, controlled little territory and relied heavily on military support from Northern Zhou and Northern Zhou's successor state Sui dynasty.
Yuwen Tai (507–556), nickname Heita (黑獺), formally Duke Wen of Anding (安定文公), later further posthumously honored by Northern Zhou initially as Prince Wen (文王) then as Emperor Wen (文皇帝) with the temple name Taizu (太祖), was the paramount general of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei, a branch successor state of Northern Wei. In 534, Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei, seeking to assert power independent of the paramount general Gao Huan, fled to Yuwen's domain, and when Gao subsequently proclaimed Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei emperor, a split of Northern Wei was effected, and when Yuwen subsequently poisoned Emperor Xiaowu to death around the new year 535 and declared his cousin Yuan Baoju emperor, the split was formalized, with the part under Gao's and Emperor Xiaojing's control known as Eastern Wei and the part under Yuwen's and Emperor Wen's control known as Western Wei. For the rest of his life, Yuwen endeavored to make Western Wei, then much weaker than its eastern counterpart, a strong state, and after his death, his son Yuwen Jue seized the throne from Emperor Gong of Western Wei, establishing Northern Zhou.
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou ( 周武帝) (543–578), personal name Yuwen Yong (宇文邕), Xianbei name Miluotu (禰羅突), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. As was the case of the reigns of his brothers Emperor Xiaomin and Emperor Ming, the early part of his reign was dominated by his cousin Yuwen Hu, but in 572 he ambushed Yuwen Hu and seized power personally. He thereafter ruled ably and built up the power of his military, destroying rival Northern Qi in 577 and annexing its territory. His death the next year, however, ended his ambitions of uniting China, and under the reign of his erratic son Emperor Xuan, Northern Zhou itself soon deteriorated and was usurped by Yang Jian in 581.
Empress Dowager Chinu, formally Empress Xuan, was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Wu.
Gao Heng, often known in history as the Youzhu of Northern Qi ( 齊幼主), was briefly an emperor of Northern Qi. In 577, with Northern Qi under a major attack by rival Northern Zhou, Gao Heng's father Gao Wei, then emperor, wanted to try to deflect ill omens that portended a change in imperial status, and therefore passed the throne to Gao Heng. Later that year, after they fled in face of Northern Zhou forces' arrival, they were captured and taken to the Northern Zhou capital Chang'an, where, in winter 577, Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou ordered them, as well as other members of the Gao clan, to commit suicide. Northern Qi territory was seized by Northern Zhou, although for several years Gao Wei's cousin Gao Shaoyi claimed imperial title in exile under Tujue's protection.
Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou ( 周宣帝) (559–580), personal name Yuwen Yun (宇文贇), courtesy name Qianbo (乾伯), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. He was known in history as an erratic and wasteful ruler, whose actions greatly weakened the Northern Zhou regime. As part of that erratic behavior, he passed the throne to his son Emperor Jing in 579, less than a year after taking the throne, and subsequently entitled not only his wife Yang Lihua empress, but four additional concubines as empresses. After his death in 580, the government was taken over by his father-in-law Yang Jian, who soon deposed his son Emperor Jing, ending Northern Zhou and establishing Sui Dynasty.
Li Ezi, later Buddhist nun name Changbei (常悲), was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Xuan.
Yang Lihua was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, and later a princess of Sui Dynasty. Her husband was Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, and her father was Yang Jian who later usurped the Northern Zhou throne to become the Emperor Wen of Sui.
Zhu Manyue, later known by her Buddhist name Fajing (法淨), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, and she was the mother of Emperor Jing.
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Yuchi Chifan or Yuchi Fanchi (566–595), later Buddhist nun name Huashou (華首), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.
Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou ( 周靜帝) (573–581), personally name né Yuwen Yan (宇文衍), later Yuwen Chan (宇文闡), was the last emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. He became emperor at the age of six, after his father Emperor Xuan formally passed the throne to him, but Emperor Xuan retained the imperial powers. After Emperor Xuan's death in 580, the official Yang Jian, the father of Emperor Xuan's wife Yang Lihua, seized power as regent. Yang soon defeated the general Yuchi Jiong, who tried to resist him, and in 581 had the young Emperor Jing yield the throne to him, ending Northern Zhou and establishing Sui Dynasty. Yang soon had the young emperor, as well as other members of Northern Zhou's imperial Yuwen clan, put to death.
The daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei, whose given name is unknown, was briefly the emperor of Northern Wei (386–534), a Xianbei dynasty that ruled Northern China from the late fourth to the early sixth century AD. She bore the surname Yuan, originally Tuoba. Yuan was the only child of Emperor Xiaoming, born to his concubine Consort Pan. Soon after her birth, her grandmother the Empress Dowager Hu, who was also Xiaoming's regent, falsely declared that she was a boy and ordered a general pardon. Emperor Xiaoming died soon afterwards. On 1 April 528, Empress Dowager Hu installed the infant on the throne for a matter of hours before replacing her with Yuan Zhao the next day. Xiaoming's daughter was not recognised as an emperor (huangdi) by later generations. No further information about her is available.
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Empress Taimu (太穆皇后; 569-613, was posthumously honored the first Empress of the Tang Dynasty. She was known as Duchess Dou or Lady Dou throughout her lifetime, and was the wife of Emperor Gaozu and mother of Emperor Taizong.
| Empress of Northern Zhou |
| Empress of China (Western)|
Empress Mu of Northern Qi
| Empress of China (Northern/Central)|