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Written by: JudyFengLiu
Hello, I’m Judy and welcome to my film about women in Chinese history.
Today, I would like to introduce you to 武wǔ则zé天 tiān; the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regent …or in Chinese: (女nǚ皇帝huáng dì). 武wǔ则zé天 tiān was born in 624AD and died in 705AD.
The daughter of a high-ranking civil servant and one of the founders of the唐táng Dynasty, she grew up to be beautiful, vivacious and intelligent. At only 14 she was recruited to the court of Emperor唐táng太tài宗zōng and became one of his concubines.
At that time, emperors had one wife whose title was 皇后huáng hòu which means empress, and there were a lot of concubines who were ranked into classes; 才cái人rén was a lower one and武wǔ则zé天 tiān’s new title of ‘才cái人rén’ defined her as a concubine with the fifth rank of Tang’s nine-rank system for imperial officials, nobles, and consorts.
Taizong gave her the name 武wǔ媚mèi娘niáng (meaning charming & beautiful) but she would later change it to武wǔ曌zhào. “曌zhào” was a word she coined herself; the meaning inferring an emblazoning light, akin to the power of the sun and the moon in the sky.