Empress of Northern Zhou

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Northern Zhou had nine empresses in its history (although the first two used the alternative title of "Heavenly Princess" (天王后, Tian Wanghou)), five of whom were the wives of emperors:

Northern Zhou former country

The Northern Zhou followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the Northern Dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was eventually overthrown by the Sui Dynasty. Like the preceding Western and Northern Wei dynasties, the Northern Zhou were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei.

  1. Yuan Humo (r. 557), the wife of Emperor Xiaomin.
  2. Empress Dugu (r. 558), the wife of Emperor Ming.
  3. Empress Ashina (r. 568-578), the wife of Emperor Wu.
  4. Yang Lihua (r. 578-579), the wife of Emperor Xuan.
  5. Sima Lingji (r. 579-580), the wife of Emperor Jing.

Further, Emperor Xuan, after he had become retired emperor, created four of his concubines empresses as well, in contravention to the convention of having only the emperor's wife being empress:

In Chinese history, a Taishang Huang or Taishang Huangdi is a retired emperor who had, at least in name, abdicated in favor of someone else. Although technically no longer the reigning sovereign, there are instances where the retired emperor continued to exert considerable power, if not more than the reigning emperor.

  1. Chen Yueyi
  2. Yuchi Chifan
  3. Yuan Leshang
  4. Zhu Manyue


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Empress Yuan may refer to: