Ming Dynasty (Early period)


Empress Xiaominrang

Empress Xiaominrang (孝愍讓皇后; 1378–1402), of the Ma clan, was the empress consort to the Jianwen Emperor and the second empress consort of China’s Ming dynasty.

Born in 1378, Ma was the daughter of an official from the town of Yingtian in modern Nanjing named Ma Quan (馬全). She married Zhu Yunwen, grandson of the Hongwu Emperor, and was proclaimed consort of the Imperial Grandson-heir (Chinese: 皇太孙妃; pinyin: Huáng Tàisūnfēi) in 1395.

Zhu Yunmen ascended the throne in 1398 and Ma was instated as the empress consort in the second month of his reign. She had two sons, Zhu Wenkui, Crown Prince Hejian and Zhu Wengui, Prince Huai of Run, both posthumously honored.

In 1402, Zhu Di sacked Nanjing and set fire to the palace, where Empress Ma died.

Spouse: Emperor Jianwen of Ming


The Jianwen Emperor, Zhu Yunwen, reigned as the second emperor of the Ming dynasty from 1398 to 1402. His era name, “Jianwen,” symbolized a shift towards establishing civility compared to his grandfather’s martial-focused era. His reign faced challenges, notably the Jingnan rebellion triggered by attempts to restrain his uncles. Eventually overthrown by his uncle Zhu Di, who became the Yongle Emperor, Jianwen’s fate remained mysterious. While the Yongle Emperor presented a charred body as Zhu Yunwen’s, persistent rumors suggested that he had escaped in disguise. The Yongle Emperor’s sponsorship of Admiral Zheng He’s treasure voyages was said to be linked to a quest for the Jianwen Emperor, presumed to have survived and fled to Southeast Asia.

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