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Zhu Manyue (Chinese :朱滿月; 547–586), later known by her Buddhist name Fajing (法淨), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou (Yuwen Yun), an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, and she was the mother of Emperor Jing (Yuwen Chan).
Zhu Manyue was said to be from the Wu region, now southern Jiangsu. Because someone from her family, probably her father, was accused of crimes, she was forced to be a servant and assigned to the palace of Yuwen Yun, who was then crown prince under his father Emperor Wu. She was in charge of the clothes of Yuwen Yun, 12 years younger than her. On one occasion, he summoned her to have sexual relations with him; in summer 573, she gave birth to his first son, Yuwen Yan (宇文衍), whose name was later changed to Yuwen Chan.
In 578 Emperor Wu died, and Yuwen Yun took the throne as Emperor Xuan. He created Yuwen Chan crown prince, and after Emperor Xuan passed the throne to Yuwen Chan and became retired emperor in spring 579 (with the atypical title of "Emperor Tianyuan" (天元皇帝, Tianyuan Huangdi), he, in another unusual move, decided to create three (and later one more) additional empresses in addition to his wife, Yang Lihua, and Consort Zhu, on account of her being the mother of Emperor Jing, received the title of Empress Tianyuan (Tianyuan Di Hou, 天元帝后, a slightly less honored title than Empress Yang's Tianyuan Huanghou (天元皇后)), later changed to Tian Huanghou (天皇后), and then further changed in 580 to Tian Da Huanghou (天大皇后). It was said that she was not favored by him on account of her being much older and also of lowly birth.
Emperor Xuan died in 580, and Empress Yang's father Yang Jian became regent. Three of Emperor Xuan's empresses, other than Empresses Yang and Zhu, became Buddhist nuns, but Empress Zhu did not at this point, and was honored as empress dowager (along with Empress Yang) but with the secondary title of Di Taihou (帝太后), lower than Empress Dowager Yang's title of Huang Taihou (皇太后). In 581, Yang Jian seized the throne from Emperor Jing, ending Northern Zhou and establishing the Sui dynasty. Emperor Jing and other members of the imperial Yuwen clan were soon slaughtered. Empress Dowager Zhu became a Buddhist nun and took the name Fajing. She died in 586 and was buried only with ceremonies due a Buddhist nun, west of the capital Chang'an.
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 China 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.
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.
Emperor Wen of Western Wei ( 魏文帝) (507–551), personal name Yuan Baoju (元寶炬), was an emperor of Western Wei—a branch successor state to Northern Wei. In 534, Yuan Baoju, then the Prince of Nanyang, followed his cousin Emperor Xiaowu in fleeing from the capital Luoyang to Chang'an, after a fallout between Emperor Xiaowu and the paramount general Gao Huan. However, Emperor Xiaowu's relationship to the general that he then depended on, Yuwen Tai, soon deteriorated as well, and around the new year 535, Yuwen Tai poisoned Emperor Xiaowu to death, making Yuan Baoju emperor. As Gao Huan had, late in 534, made Yuan Shanjian the son of Emperor Wen's cousin Yuan Dan (元亶) the Prince of Qinghe emperor, thus establishing Eastern Wei, Emperor Wen was known as Western Wei's first emperor, formalizing the division. Emperor Wen's relationship with Yuwen appeared cordial, but he was unable to exercise much real power.
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 Xiaomin of Northern Zhou ( 周孝閔帝) (542–557), personal name Yuwen Jue (宇文覺), nickname Dharani (陀羅尼), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou (although he used the alternative title "Heavenly Prince". He was the heir of Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and after Yuwen Tai's death in 556, his cousin Yuwen Hu, serving as his guardian, forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue in spring 557, establishing Northern Zhou. Later in 557, however, Yuwen Jue, wanting to assume power personally, plotted to kill Yuwen Hu, who in turn deposed him and replaced him with his brother Yuwen Yu. Later that year, Yuwen Hu had Yuwen Jue executed.
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 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 Fei of Chen (陳廢帝), personal name Chen Bozong (陳伯宗), courtesy name Fengye (奉業), nickname Yaowang (藥王), also known by his post-removal title of Prince of Linhai (臨海王), was an emperor of the Chinese Chen Dynasty. He was the son and heir of Emperor Wen, but after he came to the throne in 566, the imperial administration fell into infighting almost immediately. The victor, Emperor Fei's uncle Chen Xu, deposed Emperor Fei in winter 568 and took the throne himself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dugu Qieluo or Dugu Jialuo, formally Empress Wenxian (文獻皇后), was an empress of the Chinese Sui dynasty. She was the wife of Emperor Wen, who, on account of his love and respect for her, as well as an oath they made while they were young, did not have any concubines for at least most of their marriage, an extreme rarity among Chinese emperors. She also bore him all his 10 children. She was exceedingly powerful and influential during her husband's reign and very effective in managing the government. She was heavily involved in his decision to divert the order of succession from their oldest son Yang Yong to the second son Yang Guang.
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.
Queen Dugu is a 2019 Chinese web series starring Joe Chen and Chen Xiao. It is based on the life of Dugu Jialuo and her husband Yang Jian, the founders of the Sui dynasty. It started airing online via iQiyi, Youku and Tencent on February 11, 2019.