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Yang Guifei

Yang Guifei (楊貴妃 "Secondary-consort Yang") (June 1, 719- 756), born Yang Yuhuan (楊玉環), was one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. She was a consort of Xuanzong of Tang China who was killed (together with her cousin Yang Guozhong) because of an angry army convinced that the Rebellion of Anshi was ultimately the Yangs' fault.

Yang was born in Yongle (永樂), Pu Prefecture (蒲州) with an ancestry in Huaying (華陰), Hongnong (弘農) (in Shaanxi) to Yang Xuanyan (楊玄琰), the sihu (司戶), a finance and food official, in Shu Prefecture (蜀州). A few years after her father's death, she married the Prince Shou (壽王), Li Mei (李瑁), a sixteen-year-old (like Yang) son of Xuanzong.

Three years after Xunzong's Wu Guifei (武惠妃) died in 737, Gao Lishi arranged Xuanzong to meet Yang in Xingwen Fountain Palace (幸溫泉宮) and make Yang divorce from her husband to be a nun with the sobriquet Taizhen (太真 "Utmost Truth") living in Taizhen Palace. Five years later, Prince Li Mei was given another wife, the daughter of General Yuan Zhaoxun (韋昭訓), then Yang was made a guifei.

Most of Yang's relatives become officials, such as:

In addition, Yang family married two Li princesses and two prefects. (See also: Guanxi)

While escaping with the emperor to Chengdu, the accompanying army demanded the death of Yang Guozhong in Mawei Relay Stop (馬嵬驛站) (today in Xinping (興平縣), Shaanxi). Still unsatisfied, the army further asked Yang Guifei to be killed as well. Yang then hanged herself or was hanged by by Gao Lishi. Yang died at the age of 38. The following year, Xuanzong tried to retrieve her body from Mawei Relay, but no body was found. Therefore, a Japanese myth tells that she was rescued, escaped to Japan and lived her remaining life there. There exists a memorial tomb for her in Xi.


Yang's life is popular in literature, such the operass Novels: Drama plays: While some literature describes her as the author of much misfortune, other writings sympathize with Yang as being a scapegoat.

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