Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday mieography

BW watches a lot of TV.
at least this is what she tells me when she forwards me information on ladies she thinks we might want to learn about. So far she is 3 for 3, this being her third suggestion. Go, BW!

Todays selection is Empress Dowager Cixi.

The exact origin of her is unknown, most biographies claim she was the daughter of a low ranking Manchu official and his principal wife. She spent most of her early life in the Anhui Province before moving to Beijing, before she was 15. She ended participating, with 60 other girls, in the selection process for concubines for the new Emperor. She was one of the few girls selected, and was appointed "Preparative Concubine xiu nu. (Elegant Female) She was "promoted" to Noble Person, concubine 5th rank after she entered the Emperor's bed. She became pregnant with his child, and gavebirth to the only male heir of the Emperor, and became a "Noble Consort", and at his first birthday became Noble Imperial Consort Yi"
Then came the British and French troops. They attacked many places, including Beijing, burning the Imperial Summer Palace Complex to the ground. The Emperor and his people escaped to Manchuria. Upon hearing of the loss of his Summer Palace, the Emperor, who was showing signs of dementia, fell into a depression, began drinking, using drugs, fell into illness, and died. Before he died, he named Eight men as "Eight Regent Ministers" to direct and support his heir, whom at this time was only Five. He also told his Empress, and Cixi, the mother of the heir, that they needed to get along and help the young man mature. Cixi was a master manipulator by this point in her life. She took advantage of the Empresses naivete and good nature,and got her to make them both co-reigning Empress Dowagers, with powers that exceeded those of the Eight Regent Ministers. This caused tension, of course, and many confrontations. Cixi began to secretly collect support of some of the ministers, soldiers, and others whom the Eight Regents disliked. After many manipulations, a coup was accomlished, the Xinyou Palace Coup, and Cixi became the first, and only Qing Dynasty Empressto rule from "behind the curtains". She ruled, despite her son, for 48 years, until her death. Her reign was despotic, and attributed to the fall of the Imperial China.


Daryl said...

Fascinating .. thanks BW .. and thanks Mie, another good one!


sybil law said...

That was really cool....

Bubblewench said...

Did love this one. She was pretty amazing for her time.