Memorials of the Four Beauties of China (Part 2)

5/20/2014 Donna Sights China 1833
Yang Guifei

Yang Guifei is perhaps one of the most influential women of the Tang dynasty, her beauty had captured the heart of Emperor Tang Xuanzhong. Yang entered the court at the age of 18 and was actually a concubine of Emperor Xuanzhong’s son. Captivated by her beauty the Emperor made Yang his concubine. Yang was later granted the title Guifei which was the highest ranking concubine title at that time. Yang’s influence over the Emperor was obvious as he began to lose interest in his court affairs and slowly the Tang dynasty was beginning to decline.

The Emperor would go to all lengths to please Yang Guifei, one of the most famous stories is his use of the elite cavalry to have her favorite fruit Lychees delivered from the south of China all the way to the capital just to please her. She was also granted use of the Huaqing Springs that was part of the Huaqing Palace that was located in Xi’an.

Despite Emperor Xuanzhong’s love for Yang Guifei this could still not prevent her fate. Due to the An Rebellion and the Tang armies reluctance to fight Xuanzhong had no choice but to sentence Yang and her family to death. Their love story lives on today and had been written by many famous Chinese poets such as Bai Ju Yi.

Today Yang Guifei’s burial site can be visited 60 kilometers west of Xi’an.

Diao Chan

Diao Chan is the only beauty that has no record of existence in history and it has been said she is only a fictional character in Luo Guanzhong’s famous historical novel, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. She was described as being intelligent and talented in dance and music. She used her beauty and charm to erupt jealousy and rage between Dong Zhuo and his step son Lu Bu. In the end she in her plan to have Dong Zhuo killed by his step son Lu Bu. However, within the novel after Dong’s death, Diaochan is never mentioned again. So there are many versions of her fate in the novel.

To commemorate Diao Chan there is a statue of her in the Diaochan Lake Park in Gansu Lintao County. 

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