The Good, The Bad, And The Cunning—Stuff Empress Ki Did Part II

In the previous post, we talked about the [mostly] bad things that Empress Ki did, but that was probably because historians like to vilify her, as they have done with so many women. But the thing is, for her to stay top dog, she had to think like one, and there were other things that she did, to make sure that she could represent the people. 

Empress Ki Does Research

The thing is, the Empress did a lot of research. She read this book called The Conduct of Filial Piety. and also read up on all the virtuous empresses throughout history so that she could emulate them as well as possible. I totes wouldn’t be surprised if she herself had read up on a lot of Chinese culture and did her best to assimilate into Chinese society as well.

And Puts Them Into Practice

So… like when people sent food and goods as tribute, Empress Ki made sure that all of these went to ancestral temples before she had a go at them. Also, during the amine of 1359, she gave rice porridge to peeps who were hungry, and gave gold, silver, silk and millet so that peeps could bury the 100,000 peeps who had died. Also, when it came to her birthday she was all, “Nah, it’s cool. I ain’t gonna celebrate it ‘cause it’s not in accord wit’ our rites, k? K”

Participation In Politics

Lotsa peeps didn’t like how Empress Ki participated in politics, especially when she fought for this official called Togtõ, who was forced to resign in 1344. Somehow, she managed to reinstate him in 1349 after makin’ some noise in court, though that totally wasn’t appreciated by the peeps in court ‘cause she was seen as interfering. After Togtõ was reinstated, Yuan politics changed, but she soon ousted the dude when it was apparent that he totes wasn’t gonna help her lobby her son to become crown prince.

Shit Starts Happenin’ In Korea

So remember that time Ki Cheol was ousted ‘cause he was actin’ like he had more authority than the Korean monarch? Yeah, well, another source says that Ki Cheol was leading a pro-Mongol faction, and that didn’t sit well wit’ King Kongmin, who was the king of Goryeo, who obviously thought that Goryeo would totes be much better without Mongol influence. Empress Ki told her brother not to rock the boat, but King Kongmin of Goryeo had enough of that shiz, and rebelled against the Mongols after executing him. Well, there was also the Red Turban rebellion, which spelled the end of the Yuan dynasty, but that’s for the next post.

Next: The Downfall Of The Yuan Dynasty, and Empress Ki’s Death or, Hey, where did she go?

Source: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Tang Through Ming, 618-1644, edited by Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles

3 days ago · 7 notes

atla-annotated:

Business Card Translation
郭大夫 Doctor Guo
针灸师 Master of Acupuncture and Moxibustion*
皂阜市大街23号 Zao Fu Shi Avenue Number 23
Notes:
皂阜市 is a bit of a mystery to me. I am assuming it’s some kind of joke, but I am not getting it. 
皂 ‘zao’ can mean ‘black’ or ‘soap’
阜’fu’ means ‘mound’ or ‘abundant’
市 ‘shi’ means market
The problem is that you can’t just put these words together to make a compound noun like you can in English. 皂阜市 does not mean ‘Soap Mound Market’.
If you have any idea what the joke is, let me know!
*Moxibustion is when you put tiny balls moxa (dried mugwort) on the acupuncture needles and light them.

atla-annotated:

Business Card Translation

郭大夫 Doctor Guo

针灸师 Master of Acupuncture and Moxibustion*

皂阜市大街23号 Zao Fu Shi Avenue Number 23

Notes:

皂阜市 is a bit of a mystery to me. I am assuming it’s some kind of joke, but I am not getting it. 

皂 ‘zao’ can mean ‘black’ or ‘soap’

阜’fu’ means ‘mound’ or ‘abundant’

市 ‘shi’ means market

The problem is that you can’t just put these words together to make a compound noun like you can in English. 皂阜市 does not mean ‘Soap Mound Market’.

If you have any idea what the joke is, let me know!

*Moxibustion is when you put tiny balls moxa (dried mugwort) on the acupuncture needles and light them.

1 week ago · 257 notes · Reblogged from atla-annotated

The Good, The Bad, And The Cunning—Stuff Empress Ki Did Part I

Note: I am going to do the Wikipedia thing and say that this post has some unsubstantiated claims, because the sources I used didn’t elaborate enough and some of the sources painted a completely different picture of her. You will see some assertions vilify the Empress, but I am still writing them down anyway because they have yet to be verified, and give us a better idea of how the Empress was really like, warts and all. This post will be updated as soon as more information. 

Okay, so we know Lady Ki eventually became Empress, but we gotta know the details. Besides, it’s pretty fun to know what she got up to.

Lady Ki’s Family Gains Power

It seemed like Lady Ki’s star was rising, ‘cause in 1342, her father was posthumously awarded wit’ an honour. Her clansmen were also awarded with higher ranks, which let them do a lot more and that meant they appropriated a lot of land, property, women, and children. They also stole other people’s property and got slaves.

Lady Ki’s Educates Her Son

While her clan gained power, she made sure that she groomed her only son, Ayushiridara, to be Emperor, like his daddy. Her son was taught to write and read in Uighur, and he also studied the Mongolian language. She also got a Buddhist monk from Tibet to teach him, and later wanted to include Confucianism in the curriculum. The monk protested ‘cause he taught it would hinder the crown prince’s road to enlightenment, but Lady Ki was having none of it—she knew that it was essential for her son to learn all aspects of Chinese culture, since he was gonna rule “under all of heaven.” He was also made to read political texts, too.

The Future Empress Helps Herself To The Empire’s Wealth?

From the time she was primary consort, Lady Ki created a government organ that let her collect taxes from the people. This money enabled her to back up a lot of projects, and even used this money to fund her lavish lifestyle.

The Fall Of Lady Ki’s Family

Lady Ki’s brother, a dude called Ki Cheol, also abused his power and acted like he had more authority than the Korean monarch. ‘Cause of this, Lady Ki herself had to call out that he was doin’ some bullshit—he was vilified and cited as a traitor in Korea’s official historical texts.

Since Lady Ki was favoured by the emperor, and that her family was also honoured, nobody said anything ‘bout their misappropriation of funds and resouces till very much later, in 1363, two years before Lady Ki became Empress. The Goryeo King got real upset ‘bout all this and ordered her clan to be executed. Lady Ki was so upset that she asked her son to gather 10,000 soldiers to seek revenge, but the dude only came back wit’ 17 of them, which shocked and saddened Lady Ki.

Manoeuvring For Power

In 1360, Lady Ki also tried to cement her place in power by telling her husband, or insinuating in some way that her son should totally be rulin’ instead of him. The Chinese also did like to vilify Toghun Temür, and painted him as a ruler who liked sex and drinking and would rather not govern. However, the emperor was able to hold onto his throne, which made Lady Ki’s efforts seem like it was for nothing.

Finally, when her predecessor died in 1365, Lady Ki became Empress Ki. She did a lot to improve her image, and actually did lots to help the country.

Next: The Good, The Bad, And The Cunning—Stuff Empress Ki Did Part II

Sources: Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Tang Through Ming, 618-1644, edited by Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles, A History of Korea by Kyung Moon Hwang, and Empire’s Twilight: Northeast Asia Under the Mongols by David M. Robinson

1 week ago · 10 notes

ancientpeoples:

Bronze ritual wine holder 
25.4cm high (10 inch.) 
Chinese culture, Western - eastern Zhou dynasty, 1046 - 256 BC. 
Source: Metropolitan Museum

ancientpeoples:

Bronze ritual wine holder 

25.4cm high (10 inch.) 

Chinese culture, Western - eastern Zhou dynasty, 1046 - 256 BC. 

Source: Metropolitan Museum

1 week ago · 235 notes · Reblogged from ancientpeoples

I Am Going To Osaka!

Hello everyone!

I am going to Osaka, Japan, at the end of this month! This means I won’t have time to update regularly—oh wait, I haven’t been.

Yes, I am a terrible terrible blogger and you guys have been waiting for aaages for updates. I do apologise. 

I will do my best to finish bits about Empress Ki—I am really excited about her because I’m writing out of my comfort zone, which is awesome. 

What I would like to ask is this—I am going to Kansai, and I would like to know some of the best places to eat sushi, okonomiyaki or takoyaki, and where to buy really awesome stuff like cosmetics (I know about Shinsabashi street) and great souvenirs. Travel tips in general would be appreciated as well because this is some work I am doing for a magazine.

Thank you all! You guys are awesome.

1 week ago · 14 notes

religiousenpai asked: “Hey! i was wondering if you're going to post about the Four Handsome Men in Ancient China.”

Hello!

While I appreciate your suggestion, it is my priority to write about women in ancient China because their achievements are often overlooked or credited to men. I find that very sad! Growing up, I was told to look up to men, like great generals and emperors, but I did not connect to them in the same way I connected to these great women. I only found out about these awesome women very much later, when I started this blog, and I realized how inspiring and empowering they could be. 

I am not saying that I won’t write about them—maybe in the future, but my priority is to focus on women because they have been overlooked and sidelined for most of history, when they shouldn’t have been in the first place. Both men and women have contributed to society, and I would like to do my very best to show you guys how important these women were, too.

1 week ago · 20 notes

2 weeks ago · 96 notes

Goryeo Women In The Mongol Empire & The Rise Of Empress Ki

One of the things that the Mongols did when they were rulin’ Goryeo was to let men take multiple wives. Even though aristocratic women enjoyed a higher standing, it didn’t mean that they were seen as equal to men. However, they did kind of enjoy more privileges related to marriage and inheritance than in the preceding era, which was the Chosŏn era, but that’s for another post (and maybe another blog).

But the Mongols still treated Korean women real shittily (y’all know about Genghis Khan), and sending “tribute women” to the Mongol court was yet another way of making the Koreans bow to them. The official records say that between 1275 to 1355, Goryeo sent women as tribute to the Mongols 50 times, and each time, 200 girls were sent, but those numbers only counted aristocratic women—many women of lower status were sent in the court to be slaves, and men were also sent to be eunuchs in court.

This is pretty much where Empress Ki came in.

Empress Ki—Early Beginnings

In case you’re wondering, nope, Empress Ki wasn’t one of those noble ladies who did some political manoeuvring to rise to the top. She happened to be in the right place at the right time, and was a lowly servant girl in charge of serving the Emperor Toghon Temür his tea. This happened in the early 1330s, and back then, the Emperor was only 15 years old, and he was sick of his wife, and his ministers all talked down to him ‘cause he was a young punk.

Toghon Temür was drawn to Lady Ki ‘cause of her artistic accomplishments—he liked painting, poetry and astronomy, and she was pretty good at singing, dancing and poetry. In 1333, Lady Ki was the Emperor’s official concubine, but the Empress was obviously jealous so she used to abuse her and tortured her with a white hot iron brander. Lady Ki was lucky ‘cause after a while, the empress, whose name was Danashiri, was put under house arrest and executed. (Well that was because the Empress’ father was removed from power and most of his relatives were executed.)

Okay well, Toghon Temür’s request to make Lady Ki second consort, or a second wife was met wit’ a lotta opposition ‘cause errbody in the court felt that Toghom Temür shoulda picked someone who was Mongol. So, they gave Toghon Temür a bride called Bayan Qutuq. Bayan Qutuq gave birth to  son, but so did Lady Ki in 1340, so there was some confusion as to who should be crown prince. Even though Bayan Qutuq was second consort, errybody in the whole court knew that the business wit’ Lady Ki wasn’t over, and so, when this consort died, Lady Ki became second consort. Some officials weren’t happy wit’ it and complained, in 1348, that the palace had too much yin and no yang. 

Next: How Lady Ki Became Empress

Source: A History Of Korea by Kyung Moon Hwang and Empire’s Twilight: Northeast Asia Under The Mongols by David M. Robinson

2 weeks ago · 19 notes

Crash Course History is back for a second season! John Green talks about the idea of civilization and how biased it is, using China and Southeast Asia as examples. 

2 weeks ago · 27 notes

A Li’l Background About 13th Century Korea And How The Mongols Were Assholes To Them

So, back in the Yuan dynasty, the Chinese actually had a Korean woman as Empress. Like, say what? Yeah, this is fo’ real, ‘cause like, the Yuan dynasty was founded by Mongols. I mean, Genghis Khan was pillaging and killing lots of places and raping lots of women, and his grandson, Kublai Khan took over and decided to invade Koryŏ/Goryeo, which sort of looked like this during that period of time:

image

Thanks, Wikipedia

Hold up! You say. What’s the history of Korea gotta do wit’ the history of China? Am I reading the right blog? Yes, yes you are. ‘Cause in order to understand how a Korean lady became the Empress of China, we gotta look at how Korea was ruled during that period of time.

Back in the 10th century, the Goryeo peeps did lotsa administrative shiz to make sure that they gained power, and eventually the military got pissed and succeeded wit’ a coup in 1170 AD. The emperor on the throne was reduced to a figurehead. Soon, this family called the Cho’e family came to rule, and lots of peeps in the military were part of the family. They also had to quell the rebellion when they established rule, but they were threatened by Kublai Khan’s army, which invaded in 1231.

So the royal family an off to Kanghwa island, and they resisted for a while even though the country was in chaos. This didn’t last, though, ‘cause in 1261, the last general was assassinated on Jeju island, which meant the Mongols had a lot of say in how the country was ruled. Some Korean people still rebelled on the island’s coast, but the Mongols were most def here to stay.

Yeah, it was pretty much, “Everything changed when the Mongols attacked,” not so much the Fire Nation. (This is a painful part of Korean history, but it shows how the Koreans got access to Chinese culture, so bear with me.)

For a while, it looked like Korea could pass as an autonomous nation, but the Mongols were after Japan, so they made the Koreans form a joint naval force so they could try and conquer Japan. They were defeated—twice,

There was also this thing called the Eastern Expedition Headquarters, which was this puppet organization that looked like it was headed by a Korean King, but the Mongols were makin’ all the decisions for him. This institution was supposed to handle foreign and military affairs, but also ended up handlin’ Korean affairs. There were even little commanderies all ‘round the country to acknowledge Mongol dominance. 

Mongol influence pervaded the Korean court, and all rulers had to have the character of loyalty in their name, they determined what rulers wore and how many women they had. Within a few decades, the Korean King wasn’t realy ethnically Korean. Crown princes spent time in the Yuan dynasty capital, then returned to Korea to when it was time to rule. Many Korean Kings married Mongol princesses, and most of them were descendants of Genghis Khan.

Okay, so now there are huge questions as to whether Koreans during that time experience a loss of identity, which will make for some interesting discussions. Because of this, Koreans had more reason to make their way to Yuan dynasty China, There was a lot of cultural exchange going on, especially wit’ books and other artifacts, and soon, Koreans started to embrace Chinese culture, too. Neo-Confucianism and cotton was “exported” to Korea, adding on to the mix of culture.

Next: Goryeo Women In The Korean Empire

Source: A History Of Korea by Kyung Moon Hwang

3 weeks ago · 37 notes