Xin dynasty

Empress Wang

Her Story

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Empress Wang (王皇后, personal name unknown) (died 21 CE), formally Empress Xiaomu (孝睦皇后, literally, the Filial and Congenial Empress) was an empress during the Xin Dynasty.

Lady Wang married her husband, the eventual Xin emperor Wang Mang while he was still a commoner (albeit a well-connected commoner, being the nephew of then-Han empress Empress Wang Zhengjun).

She was the daughter of Wang Xian (王咸), the Marquess of Yichun, who was the grandson of Han prime minister Wang Xin (王訢). Her marriage to Wang Mang is evidence that at that time, the Chinese prohibition against endogamy based on the same family name was not as strict as it was later.

Lady Wang bore her husband at least five children—sons Wang Yu (王宇), Wang Huo (王獲), Wang An (王安), and Wang Lin (王臨), and a daughter (personal name unknown) who later became empress to Emperor Ping of Han and was given the title of Princess Huanghuang during Xin Dynasty.

Her Spouse

Wang Mang (Chinese: 王莽) (45 BC – 6 October 23 CE), courtesy name Jujun (Chinese: 巨君; pinyin: Jùjūn), was the founder and the only emperor of the short-lived Chinese Xin dynasty. He was originally an official and consort kin of the Han dynasty and later seized the throne in 9 CE. The Han Dynasty was restored after his overthrow, and his rule marked the separation between the Western Han Dynasty (before Xin) and Eastern Han Dynasty (after Xin). Traditional Chinese historiography viewed Wang as a tyrant and usurper, while more recently, some historians have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. During his reign, he abolished slavery and initiated a land redistribution program. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos.

About this Portrait

Chinese watercolor, on silk. The Chinese Empresses Collection
Painted by Xiang Li
75 x 36 inches

Empress Wang

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