Southern Song Dynasty

Empress Quan

Empress Quan (1241–1309) of the Song dynasty, chosen as the primary spouse of the future Emperor Duzong due to her family’s noble connections, lived through a tumultuous period in Chinese history marked by the Mongol invasion. Although her life during her husband’s reign is not well-documented, her husband indulged in pleasures, leaving state affairs to his chancellor. Following Duzong’s death in 1274, her young son, Emperor Gong, ascended the throne, with the regency, not assigned to Quan, but to her husband’s adoptive mother, Grand Dowager Empress Xie Daoqing. As the Mongols overran the Song dynasty, Empress Quan, with her son and the royal family, surrendered to the Mongols in 1276. They were taken to Beijing and later to Inner Mongolia, submitting to the Mongol ruler and being stripped of their titles, yet granted tax-free properties in Beijing. Following the death of Grand Dowager Empress Xie in 1283, Empress Quan retired to a nunnery in Beijing.

Spouse: Emperor Duzong of Song

Emperor Duzong of Song (Zhao Qi) was the 15th emperor of the Song dynasty in China and the sixth emperor of the Southern Song dynasty, reigning from 1264 until his death in 1274. Originally named Zhao Mengqi, his name was changed to Zhao Zi in 1251 and later to Zhao Qi in 1253 after being designated as the heir apparent to Emperor Lizong. Duzong’s reign was marked by internal strife, with rebellions and warfare. The court was influenced by his chancellor, Jia Sidao, while Duzong himself neglected his duties, indulging in drinking and relationships. He died in 1274, leaving three young sons, and one of them ascended the throne as Emperor Gong. Duzong was the last Emperor of the Song dynasty to issue coins, as subsequent emperors were preoccupied with conflicts against the newly proclaimed Yuan dynasty and lacked the resources to establish mints.

More from Xiang Li Art