Southern dynasty

He Jingying 何婧英

He Jingying (何婧英) was an empress of the Chinese Southern Qi dynasty, who lived during the years 482 to 494. She was married to Xiao Zhaoye, also known as the Prince of Yulin. Her father, He Ji, was a high-level official during the reigns of Emperor Gao and Emperor Wu of Southern Qi.

In 484, despite initial reservations due to her family’s lack of a strong household, He Jingying became the wife of Xiao Zhaoye, who was in line to inherit the throne. Known for her adulterous activities, particularly with Xiao Zhaoye’s attendant Yang Min, He Jingying still maintained a seemingly happy marriage with Xiao Zhaoye.

After the death of Crown Prince Zhangmao in 493, Xiao Zhaoye became crown prince, and He Jingying became crown princess. When Emperor Wu died later that year, Xiao Zhaoye succeeded him as emperor and made He Jingying empress, breaching protocol by bringing her family members into the palace.

Empress He continued her affair with Yang Min, leading to a conflict with the prime minister Xiao Luan. In early 494, Xiao Tanzhi advised Xiao Zhaoye to execute Yang Min due to the widespread knowledge of the affair. Despite Empress He’s tearful pleas, Yang Min was executed. In the same year, Xiao Zhaoye was assassinated by Xiao Luan, who demoted him posthumously to the Prince of Yulin. Empress He was demoted to the title of Princess of Yulin, and there is no further historical record of her activities or the date of her death.

Artist’s Note


Xiao Zhaoye 蕭昭業

Xiao Zhaoye, also known as the Prince of Yulin, was an emperor of the Southern Qi dynasty in China. His reign was marked by excessive indulgence in games and pleasure, leading to a lack of awareness regarding the ambitions of his granduncle, Xiao Luan. In 494, Xiao Luan orchestrated his assassination, after which Xiao Zhaoye was posthumously demoted to the title of Prince of Yulin. Following his death, Xiao Luan briefly installed Xiao Zhaoye’s brother, Xiao Zhaowen, as emperor before seizing the throne for himself.

More from Xiang Li Art