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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:
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.
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.
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Empress Wang, formally Empress Xiaoxuan (孝宣皇后), semi-formally Empress Dowager Qiongcheng was an empress during Han Dynasty. She was the third wife of Emperor Xuan.
Empress Deng Mengnü (鄧猛女), also briefly known as Liang Mengnü (梁猛女) then as Bo Mengnü (薄猛女), was an empress during Han Dynasty. She was the second wife of Emperor Huan.
Empress Ashina (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.
Emperor Xuan of Chen (陳宣帝) (530–582), personal name Chen Xu (陳頊), courtesy name Shaoshi (紹世), nickname Shili (師利), was an emperor of the Chen dynasty of China. He seized the throne from his nephew Emperor Fei in 569 and subsequently ruled the state for 13 years. He was considered to be a capable and diligent ruler, who at one point militarily expanded at the expense of Northern Qi. After Northern Qi fell to Northern Zhou in 577, however, Chen was cornered, and soon lost the gains it had previously made against Northern Qi. Emperor Xuan died in 582, leaving the state in the hands of his incompetent son Chen Shubao, and by 589, Chen would be destroyed by Northern Zhou's successor state Sui dynasty.
Empress Liu (534–616), personal name Liu Jingyan (柳敬言), was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Chen Dynasty. Her husband was Emperor Xuan.
Yuchi Jiong (尉遲迥), courtesy name Bojuluo (薄居羅), was a general of the Chinese/Xianbei states Western Wei and Northern Zhou. He first came to prominence while his uncle Yuwen Tai served as the paramount general of Western Wei, and subsequently served Northern Zhou after the Yuwen clan established the state after Yuwen Tai's death. In 580, believing that the regent Yang Jian had designs on the throne, Yuchi rose against Yang but was soon defeated. He committed suicide.
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 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.
Chen Yueyi, later Buddhist nun name Huaguang (華光), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.
Yuan Leshang, later Buddhist nun name Huasheng (華勝), 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.
Sima Lingji was, briefly, an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. Her husband was Emperor Jing, the final emperor of the dynasty.
Chen Yin (陳胤), courtesy name Chengye (承業), was a crown prince of the Chinese dynasty Chen Dynasty.
Yang Yong, nickname Xiandifa (睍地伐), also known by his posthumous title of Prince of Fangling (房陵王), was a crown prince of the Chinese Sui dynasty. He was the oldest son of Emperor Wen and Empress Dugu. He drew ire from his parents for wastefulness and having many concubines, while his younger brother, Yang Guang, whom Emperor Wen and Empress Dugu thought lacked these faults, was favored by them. In 600, Emperor Wen deposed Yang Yong and replaced him with Yang Guang. Subsequently, after Emperor Wen died in 604, Yang Guang had Yang Yong put to death.
Empress Yuan may refer to: