Images of the past

A chronologue of beauty

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Women of Imperial China

Chinese Empresses,Consorts and Concubines

Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD)

Consort Feng Yuan,consort of Emperor Yuan of the Han Dynasty,she is in the middle of the painting depicting her saving the Emperor from a bear attack while consort Fu is shown on the left fleeing

Ban Jiey (c.48 BC-c.6 BC),consort of Emperor Cheng of the Han Dynasty

Zhao Hede (died 7 BC),consort of Han Dynasty Emperor Cheng of Han

Yu Miaoyi (died 202 BC),consort of Emperor Shun of Han Dynasty

Court lady from the Han Dynasty

 Statue of a Lady in Han Court dress

A Han Court attendant

 Dacer from the Han Dynasty period

Figurine in Han period clothing

Chen Dynasty (557-589)

Emperor Fei (c.554-570 ) of the Chen Dynasty with two concubines

Tang Dynasty (1618-907)

Wu Zetian(c.625-705),concubineof Tang Dynasty Emperor Taizong and also consort to his son Emperor Gaozong,she would go on to become the first and only woman Emperor of China

 Consort Wu Zetian of Tang

Consort Wu Zetian

 Emperor Taizong of Tang

"Emperor Taizong in Dunhuang",Tang Dynasty painting

Emperor Gaozong of Tang

 Yang Guifei(719-756),consort of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty

 depicted mounting a horse

 Statue of Imperial Consort Yang Guifei

Japanese depiction of Consort Yang Guifei

 Emperor Xuanzong of Tang

Spring outing of the Tang Court

 A group of Tang palace ladies,mural from tomb of Emperor Gaozong's 6th son, Li Xian 706 AD

 Tang court ladies,mural from the tomb Princess Yongtai

 A Tang Dynasty dancer from a mural in the Astana graves

Tang Dynasty serving girl from the Astana graves

 Two female figurines in Tang ceremonial robes

 A court official of the Tang Dynasty

 Court Lady of the Tang Dynasty

Figurine of a Lady from the Tang Dynasty

 Female figurine from the Tang Dynasty

 Figurine of a Tang lady

 Two Tang Dynasty court ladies

 A Tang Dynasty official

 A figurine dressed as a Tang Dynasty Empress

Tang Dynasty handmaiden

Song Dynasty (960-1279)

 An Empress of the Song Dynsty,consort of Emperor Zhenzong(968-1022)

Empress Consort of Emperor Zhenzong of Song

Emperor Zhenzong of Song

Empress Cao (1016-1079),consort to Renzong of Song,with her maids

Emperor Renzong of Song

Empress Gao(1032-1093),Consort to Song Dynasty Emperor Yingzong

Empress Xiang (1047-1102),consort of Emperor Shenzong of Song

Empress Xiang of the Song Dynasty

Empress Xiansu (lived around 1127),consort of Emperor Huizong of Song

Empress Xiansu

Emperor Huizong of Song

Empress Xiansu of Song

Empress Renhuai (lived c. 1127),consort to Qinzong of Song

Empress Wu (1115-1197),consort to Gaozong of Song

Empress Wu

Emperor Gaozong of Song

Empress Chengsui (died 1203),consort to Xiaozong of Song

Empress Gongsheng (1162-1232),consort of Emperor Ningzong of Song

 Song Dynasty palace concert

 "Night Revels",a group of famous paintings from the Song Dynasty

 "Night Revels",women musicians playing the flute

  "Night Revels"

 "Night Revels",det.

 Court ladies preparing silk,Song dynasty

Women form the Song dynasty period preparing silk

Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)

Empress Chabi (1227-1281),consort of Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty

Empress Radnashiri (died 1322),consort of Yuan Dynasty Emperor Renzong

Empress Zhenge (died 1327),consort of Emperor Wuzong of Yuan

Emperor Wuzong of Yuan

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Empress Xiaocigao (1332-1382),consort of Ming Emperor Hongwu

 Emperor Hongwu of Ming

Empress Renxiaowen (1362-1407),consort of Ming Emperor Yongle

Emperor Yongle

Empress Xiaogongzhang (died 1462),consort to Xuande Emperor of the Ming Dynasty

 Ming Dynasty Empress Xiaoke,consort of Emperor Jiajing (1507-1567)

 Emperor Jiajing

Emperor Jiajing on horseback

Empress Xiaoan (d.1596),consort to Ming Emperor Longqing

Emperor Longqing of Ming

Empress Xiaoduanxian (1564-1620)consort of Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty

Empress Xiaoduanxian of Ming 

Phoenix crown worn by Empress Xiaoduanxian of Ming Dynasty

Imperial Noble Consort Wensu (1565-1612),consort of Emperor Wanli of Ming Dynasty was later created Empress Dowager Xiaojing

Empress Dowager Xiaojing

Crown of Empress Dowager Xiaojing

Phoenix coronet of Empress Dowager Xiaojing 

Emperor Wanli of Ming

A modern replica of Emperor Wanli's gold crown

Consort Fifth Grade Xiaohe,consort of Emperor Taichang of Ming (1582-1620) 

posthumously created Empress   Dowager

Consort Seventh Grade Xiaochun,consort of Emperor Taichang of Ming (1582-1620) 

posthumously created Empress   Dowager

Emperor Taichang of Ming

Empress Xiaojie (d.1644),consort of Emperor Chongzhen last ruler of the Ming Dynasty

 An Imperial Consort's crown form the Ming dynasty

Phoenix Crown belonging to a Ming Empress

Emperor Chongzhen

 Go players at the Imperial court,Ming Dynasty

Ladies of the Imperial Court of the Ming Dynasty

Court ladies having their portrait painted,Ming Dynasty

 Two ladies and a gentleman from the Ming Dynasty

Ming Dynasty palace ladies

Qing Dynasty (1644-1912)

 Empress Xiaozhe (d.1644),consort to first Qing Emperor Tianqi

Emperor Tianqi of Qing

Empress Xiaohuizhang (1641-1717),consort of Emperor Shunzi of the Qing Dynasty,

dressed as a Mongolian court lady

Empress Xiaokangzhang (1640-1663),consort of Emperor Shunzi

Emperor Shunzi of Qing

Empress Xiaogongren (1660-1723),Consort of Qing Emperor Kangxi

 Emperor Kangxi in armour

Emperor Kangxi of Qing

Empress Xiaojingxian(died 1731),consort of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing 

 Empress Xiaoshengxian(1693-1777),consort of Yongzheng Emperor

Emperor Yongzheng in a winter robe

 Emperor Yongzheng

Emperor Yongzheng and his concubines

Empress Xiaoxianchun (1712-1748),consort to Emperor Qianlong of Qing

 Empress Xiaoxianchun (1712-1748),consort of Emperor Qianlong of Qing

Ulunara the Step Empress (1718-1766),Consort of Qianlong of Qing

 Empress Xiaoyichun (1727-1775),consort of Qianlong Emperor

 Empress Xiaoyichun

Imperial Noble Consort Huixian (died 1745),consort of Qianlong Emperor

Imperial Noble Consort Huixian

 Noble Consort Xin (d.1764),concubine of Emperor Qianlong

Consort Jin,concubine of Emperor Qianlong of Qing

 Consort Rong or the Fragrant Concubine,favourite consort of Emperor Qianlong 

Consorts of the Qianlong Emperor of Qing Dynasty

Imperial Concubine Ling (1727-75),consort of Qianlong and her son future emperor Jiaqing.

Later created Empress Xiaoyichun 

 Emperor Qianlong  by European Qing court painter Guiseppe Castiglione

 Emperor Qianlong with some of his children and consorts

 Emperor Qianlong of Qing


Emperor Qianlong on horseback by Guiseppe Castiglione

Emperor Qianlong practicing calligraphy

Empress Xiaoherui (1776-1850),a consort to Qing Emperor Jiaqing

Emperor Jiaqing of Qing

Empress Xiaoshurui(1760-1797),consort of Daoguang Emperor of Qing


Empress Xiaoquangcheng (1808-1840),consort to Daoguang with her son

 Empress Xiaoquangcheng

Empress Xiaoquangcheng 

 Empress Xiaoquangcheng

Empress Xiaoquangcheng

Two of Emperor Daoguang's daughters,State Princess Shou-An whose mother was Empress Xiaoquangcheng and Sate Princess Shou-En daughter of Empress Xiaojingcheng

Empress Xiaojingcheng (1812-1855),consort of Emperor Daoguang

Consort Xiang (d.1861),concubine of Daoguang Emperor of Qing Dynasty

Emperor Daoguang with his children and consorts

 Empress Xiao Zhen Xian (1831-1861),consort of Xianfeng Emperor of Qing,

later Dowager Empress Ci'an

 Empress Xiao Qin Xian,consort of Xianfeng and later Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi

A Qing ceremonial headdress,possibly belonging to Empress Dowager Cixi

 Qing ceremonial headdress

 Qing ceremonial headdress

 Qing ceremonial headdress

Qing ceremonial headdress,det.

 Imperial Concubine Xin,consort to Emperor Xianfeng of Qing

Two concubines of the Emperor Xianfeng fishing in a palace pond

 Empress Xiaodingjing (1868-1913),consort of the Qing Emperor Guangxu

Empress Xiaodingjing

 Empress Wangrong (1906-1946),consort of Emperor Xuantong,the last Emperor of China

 Empress Wangrong,the last Empress of China

Empress Wangrong of China 

Empress Wangrong of China

Empress Wangrong of China

 Emperor Xuantong the last Emperor of China

 Two Qing palace ladies 

 Lady Yehenara from the Imperial Qing court

A semi-formal robe worn at the Qing court


  1. Hi Reinette,

    I am hoping to reproduce two of the images on this website for use in a film. I need to find out the original owner, so I can get permission and source a high-res jpeg.

    Do you have any idea where the "Japanese Depiction of consort Yang Guifei" and "Night Revels" come from?

    Many thanks


    1. Hi Stella
      Both images are from Wikimedia so here are the links and hopefully you'll be able to get the information from there."Night Revels" is from the Wikipedia page on their creator Gu Hongzhong
      The Japanese painting of Yang Guifei is here,
      Good luck with your project and I would love to see the film!