Throughout the thousands of years of Chinese history the Emperors of China who had lavish lifestyles and an imperial harem of 3,000 consorts they were faced with many beautiful and exquisite women. In Chinese history there were Four Beauties of China from four different dynasties. It is said that these beauties nearly brought down the kingdom due to their distraction to the emperors.
Xi Shi is said to have lived in 506B.C. and was from the Spring Autumn dynasty. She was summoned by King Goujian of the Yue Kingdom to seduce the King of the Wu Kingdom, Fuchai. After the downfall of the Yue Kingdom to the Wu Kingdom, Goujian had been plotting revenge to bring down Fuchai and trained Xi Shi to lure Fuchai away from his state affairs.
Xi Shi was offered to Fuchai as a gift and she was successful and had Fuchai under her spell, she even managed to convince him into killing his loyal minister. Not long after the Kingdom of Wu became weak and Goujian launched his attack and the Kingdom of Wu was defeated.
It is said that Xi Shi was in love with Goujian’s minister Fan Li and after her mission was complete they together lived on a fishing boat on the Taihu Lake and were never seen again.
Xi Shi is commemorated by Xi Shi Temple located at the bottom of Zhu Lou Hill.
Wang Zhaojun lived during the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-8AD). She was perhaps one of the most famous “Political Brides” in Chinese history. Born into a prestigious family in Hubei, Wang Zhaojun was talented in all aspects. Due to her beauty she was chosen to represent her county as a concubine for the Emperor Yuan. Due to the customs of court the Emperor was presented a portrait of his concubines before he chose. Wang Zhaojun’s portrait was plain and the artist had not illustrated her real beauty therefore the Emperor overlooked her.
To bring peace between Han and Xiongnu tribes, Emperor Yuan offered Wang Zhaojun as a peace offering after viewing her portrait believing she was plain and ordinary. When the Emperor summoned her to the court did he realize his mistake. Having sealed her fate he could not change his decision. It is said that she lived a harmonious life with her husband Huhanye and she secured the peace between both kingdoms.
Wang Zhaojun is remembered by Zhaojun Tomb located in Hohhot.
Memorials of the Four Beauties of China (Part 1)
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