Southern dynasty

Wang Xianyuan 王宪嫄

Wang Xianyuan, also known as Empress Wenmu, was an empress of the Chinese Liu Song dynasty. Born into a noble family, she married Liu Jun, who later became Emperor Xiaowu, in 443. Wang Xianyuan was favored by Liu Jun, and they had at least six children.

After Liu Jun seized the throne from his older brother in 453, Wang Xianyuan was created empress. Little is known about her life during her husband’s reign, but historical accounts mention Emperor Xiaowu’s sexual immorality and incestuous relationships. Despite her husband’s questionable behavior, Empress Wang’s position was secure, and she presided over ceremonies, such as feeding silkworms, in 460.

Emperor Xiaowu died in 464, and their son Liu Ziye succeeded him as Emperor Qianfei, honoring Wang Xianyuan as empress dowager. However, Emperor Qianfei proved to be a cruel and arbitrary ruler, and Empress Dowager Wang, growing seriously ill in fall 464, was denied a visit from her son. In frustration, she expressed anger and soon passed away. Empress Dowager Wang was buried alongside her husband Emperor Xiaowu.

Artist’s Note

。皇太子刘子业继位。我被尊为皇太后。刘子业也荒唐皇帝。比父亲更加胡来。我病重,刘子业不肯去见我,气的我连呼,快替我取刀来 割开我的肚子看一看,怎么会生出如此逆子!没过几天便呜呼哀哉,38岁。”

Emperor Xiaowu of Song

Emperor Xiaowu of Song, born Liu Jun, was an emperor of the Liu Song dynasty in China, born on September 19, 430. He was the son of Emperor Wen. After his older brother Liu Shao assassinated their father in 453 and seized the throne, Liu Jun rebelled against him and successfully overthrew him. Emperor Xiaowu was considered a capable but harsh ruler known for his immoral behavior. During his reign, he significantly reduced the powers of officials and imperial princes. He passed away on July 12, 464.

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