Empress Dowager Cixi born: 1835; died: 1908 Cixi was probably most powerful woman in China since Empress Wu Zetian of the seventh century Zhou Dynasty. In fact, Cixi may have been even more powerful than Wu Zetian. She was an ambitious and conservative leader. She opposed foreign influence and supported the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Empress Wu, Dowager Cixi, Boxers Rebellion, Power Woman, Qing Dynasty, Foreign Influence, Powerful Women, Empress Dowager, Conservative Leader
The Empress Dowager Cixi rose from the position of concubine to become the most powerful woman in China, in a reign that lasted 47 years – from 1861 to 1908. Seen here as a young woman, Cixi had the good fortune to bear the Xianfeng Emperor’s only male heir. After the death of the Emperor, Cixi ruled through her son, who was only five years old when his father died. Then, when the boy Emperor himself died at an early age, Cixi installed her nephew to the throne and ruled through him.
Empress Wu Zetian born: 625 AD; died: 705 AD Empress Wu Zetian is considered to be one of the most powerful women in Chinese history. She lived during the Tang Dynasty and was born to a wealthy and noble family. She was also very well educated. When Wu Zetian was 13, she was sent to Emperor Taizong’s court to be one of his concubines. After Emperor Taizong’s death in 649 AD, Emperor Gaozong came to power and Wu Zetian was sent off to become a Buddhist nun.
It was during the Taiping Rebellion in China, that the Empress Dowager Cixi rose to prominence. Originally a concubine, Cixi managed to maneuver her way to the top and manipulate the ineffective emperors, ruling from behind the scenes between 1861 and 1908.
Ci'An was official empress at the time of the 1861 coup. She was kept in the picture to add legitimacy to the conspirators. She was declared Co-Empress Dowager with Cixi and co-mother of Cixi’s son, the Qixiang, later named the Tongzhi Emperor. Although the two Empress Dowagers were supposed to be equal in every way, Ci'An was powerless. The young Emperor was the object of a tug-of-war between his two “mothers”. Ci'An’s death at age 44 was a blessing to Cixi. LU Zhengliang Arts Studio.