Yang GuifeiYang Guifei
(楊貴妃 "Secondary-consort Yang") (June 1
- 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:
- Yang's eldest sister becomes Lady of the Han State (韓國夫人)
- Yang's third eldest sister becomes Lady of the Guo State (虢國夫人)
- Yang's eighth eldest sister becomes Lady of the Qin State (秦國夫人)
- Yang's gambler distant cousin, Yang Guozhong, became high-ranking official.
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
- Guifei Intoxicated (貴妃醉酒 Guifei Zuijiu)
- The Unofficial Biography of Taizhen (太真外傳 Taizhen Waizhuan)
- The Slope of Mawei (馬嵬坡 Mawei Po) by Chen Hong (陳鴻)
- The Unofficial Biography of Yang Taizhen (楊太真外傳 Yang Taizhen Waizhuan)
- The Biography-Song of the Everlasting Sorrow (長恨歌傳 Changhen Kezhuan)
- The Hall of Longevity (長生殿 Changshen Dian) by (洪升) of the Qing Dynasty
- The Mirror to Grind Dust (磨塵鑒 Mocheng Jian) by an anonymous of the Ming Dynasty
- The Records of Shocking the Grandeur (驚鴻記 Jinghong Ji) by (吳世美) of the Ming Dynasty
- The Records of Colourful Hair (彩毫記 Caihao Ji) by (屠隆隆) of the Ming Dynasty
- Emperor Ming of Tang China in an Autumn Night with Kolanut and Rain (唐明皇秋夜梧桐雨 Tang Mingzong Qiuye Wutong Yu) by Bai Pu (白樸) of the Yuan Dynasty
While some literature describes her as the author of much misfortune, other writings sympathize with Yang as being a scapegoat.