Zhang Lihua

Consort Zhang LihuaGuifei
Chen Shubao was spared (and eventually treated with kindness by Emperor Wen of Sui), as were Chen Yuan and Chen Zhuang, but the Sui general Gao Jiong, blaming her for Chen's collapse and comparing her to Daji, the wicked wife of King Zhou of Shang who was beheaded by the Zhou dynasty general Jiang Ziya after Zhou conquered Shang, beheaded her despite an order from Emperor Wen's son Yang Guang the Prince of Jin, who commanded the entire operation, to spare her. (Whether Yang Guang wanted to seize her as his own concubine can only be speculated.)

Eastern Wei

Dong WeiEastern Wei dynastyEastern
As with Northern Wei, the ruling family of Eastern Wei were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei. In 534 Gao Huan, the potentate of the eastern half of what was Northern Wei territory following the disintegration of the Northern Wei dynasty installed Yuan Shanjian a descendant of the Northern Wei as ruler of Eastern Wei. Yuan Shanjian was a puppet ruler as the real power lay in the hands of Gao Huan. Several military campaigns were launched against the neighboring Western Wei in an attempt to reunify the territory once held by the Northern Wei, however these campaigns were not successful, and in 547 Gao Huan died.


Tuyuhun KingdomA-zhaAza
The Qinghai Xianbei, Tufa Xianbei, Qifu Xianbei and Haolian Xianbei joined them. They moved their capital 6 km west of Qinghai Lake. These Xianbei groups formed the core of the Tuyuhun Empire and numbered about 3.3 million at their peak. They carried out extensive military expeditions westward, reaching as far as Hotan in Xinjiang and the borders of Kashmir and Afghanistan, and established a vast empire that encompassed Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, northern Sichuan, eastern Shaanxi, southern Xinjiang, and most of Tibet, stretching 1,500 kilometers from east to west and 1,000 kilometers from north to south.

Tulan Qaghan

Dulan KhanDulanTulan
Tulan Qaghan (Chinese: 都蘭可汗/都兰可汗, Modern Chinese: (Pinyin): dōulán kěhàn, (Wade-Giles): tu-lan k'o-han, Middle Chinese: (Guangyun), personal name: 阿史那雍虞閭/阿史那雍虞闾, āshǐnà yōngyúlǘ, a-shih-na yung-yü-lü) was the son of Ishbara Qaghan and the seventh qaghan (Khaqan) of the Turkic Khaganate.

Khitan people

KhitanKhitansKhitan Empire
The earliest written reference to the Khitan is from an official history of the Xianbei Northern Wei Dynasty dating to the period of the Six Dynasties. Most scholars believe the Khitan tribe splintered from the Xianbei, and some scholars believe they may have been a mixed group who also included former members of the Xiongnu tribal confederation. During their early history the Khitan were composed of eight tribes. Their territory was between the present-day Xar Moron River and Chaoyang, Liaoning. The Khitan's territory bordered Goguryeo, China and the lands of the Eastern Turks.

Empress Dugu (Northern Zhou)

Empress Dugudaughtereldest daughter
Empress Dugu or Queen Dugu (獨孤王后, personal name unknown) (died 558), posthumously Empress Mingjing, was the wife of the Emperor Ming (Yuwen Yu), the founder of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the oldest daughter of Dugu Xin, a major general under Yuwen Tai, Yuwen Yu's father and paramount general of Western Wei. It is not known when she married Yuwen Yu and became his duchess, although historical texts imply that it was after his becoming the Duke of Ningdu in 548.

Yuwen Shiji

During the reign of Sui's founder Emperor Wen, Yuwen Shiji was, on account of his father's contributions to Sui, created the Duke of Xincheng County . On one occasion, Emperor Wen took Yuwen Shiji into his bedroom to converse with him privately, and he was impressed by Yuwen Shiji sufficiently that he gave his granddaughter the Princess Nanyang (the daughter of his son Yang Guang the Crown Prince) to Yuwen Shiji in marriage. They had one son, Yuwen Chanshi . Because he married a princess, he looked down at his brother Yuwen Zhiji, but appeared to have a cordial relationship with Yuwen Huaji. In 604, Emperor Wen died and was succeeded by Yang Guang (as Emperor Yang).


Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. It originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada (Pali: "The School of the Elders") and Mahayana (Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle").


Gansu ProvinceKansuGansu, China
Gansu (alternately romanized as Kansu) is a landlocked province in Northwest China. Its capital and largest city is Lanzhou, located in the southeast part of the province.


Jiangsu ProvinceKiangsuJiang Su
Jiangsu (formerly Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, technology, and tourism, with its capital in Nanjing. Jiangsu is the third smallest, but the fifth most populous and the most densely populated of the 23 provinces of the People's Republic of China. Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita of Chinese provinces and second-highest GDP of Chinese provinces, after Guangdong. Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south.


Hebei ProvinceHopeiHopeh
Hebei (alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province in Northern China. The modern province was established in 1911 as Chihli Province (Zhili Province). Its capital and largest city is Shijiazhuang. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.


Hubei ProvinceHupehHubei, China
Hubei (formerly Hupeh) is a landlocked province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Dongting Lake. The provincial capital is Wuhan, a major transportation thoroughfare and the political, cultural, and economic hub of Central China.

Xiao Yu

In 600, after Yang Guang displaced his older brother Yang Yong as crown prince, Xiao Yu continued to serve on Yang Guang's staff, as a guard commander. In 604, Emperor Wen died—a death that traditional historians generally believed to be a murder ordered by Yang Guang but admitted a lack of direct evidence—and was succeeded by Yang Guang (as Emperor Yang). Xiao Yu, whose sister Crown Princess Xiao became empress, was made a military recruiting officer. When, at one point, Xiao Yu became suddenly ill, he ordered that no medical treatment be carried out, believing that this would be a good time for him to be relieved from governmental service.

Empress Zhangsun

Empress Cheung-suenZhangsunZhangsun Long'er
She was well educated, and her ancestors were of Xianbei nationality. Their original surname was Tuoba, later changed to Zhangsun. The future Empress Zhangsun was born on 15 March 601. Her father was the Sui Dynasty general Zhangsun Sheng, and her mother was Zhangsun Sheng's wife Lady Gao, the daughter of the official Gao Jingde . She had at least four older brothers—Zhangsun Sheng's oldest son Zhangsun Xingbu (長孫行布, who was killed in 604 while resisting the rebellion of Emperor Yang of Sui's brother Yang Liang the Prince of Han), Zhangsun Heng'an, Zhangsun Anye, and Zhangsun Wuji.

Zhaoyang District

ZhaoyangZhaoyang County
Zhaoyang District is the only district and the seat of the city of Zhaotong, in the northeast of Yunnan Province, China. It borders the provinces of Guizhou to the southeast and Sichuan to the west.

Murong Shun

慕容順 Mùróng Shùn
In 604, Emperor Wen of Sui, who had initially married Princess Guanghua to Murong Shifu and who had later approved her marriage to Murong Fuyun, died, and was succeeded by his son Yang Guang (as Emperor Yang). In 607, Emperor Yang started considering conquering Tuyuhun, after his official Pei Ju convinced him that it would be easy to do so. When, on one occasion, Murong Fuyun sent Murong Shun as an emissary to Sui, Emperor Yang detained him as a hostage. In 608 and 609, Emperor Yang launched major attacks on Tuyuhun, taking over its lands and forcing Murong Fuyun to flee.

Transition from Sui to Tang

civil warCollapse of the Suitransitional period from Sui to Tang
As of 611, Sui Dynasty had just enjoyed more than two decades of peace and prosperity, as China had been united under it since it destroyed Chen Dynasty in 589, and aside from border conflicts with Eastern Tujue (which had since become a vassal state under its Qimin Khan Ashina Rangan) and Goguryeo, and one brief internal conflict between Emperor Yang of Sui, who became emperor in 604, and his brother Yang Liang the Prince of Han, the realm had not seen war. When Goguryeo's king Yeong-yang refused to pay homage to Emperor Yang in 610, Emperor Yang decided to plan a campaign to conquer it, and both he and the people believed that the conquest would be easy.

Yuchi Gong

Yuchi JingdeYuchiGao Zengsheng
Yuchi Jingde was born in 585, during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui. His surname was likely from Xianbei origin, and he was from Shuo Province (朔州, roughly modern Shuozhou, Shanxi). When agrarian rebels rose against Sui rule near the end of the reign of Emperor Wen's son Emperor Yang, Yuchi initially served in the governmental militia fighting agrarian rebels, and was known and awarded for his bravery. When Liu Wuzhou rose against Sui rule in spring 617 at Mayi (馬邑, in modern Shuozhou), declaring himself Dingyang Khan, Yuchi Jingde joined Liu and was made a general. In 619, he served under Liu's major general Song Jingang in attacking Tang Dynasty territory to the south.

Zhangsun Wuji

Cheung-suen Mo-geiZhang Sun Wu-ji
He had at least three older brothers—Zhangsun Sheng's oldest son Zhangsun Xingbu (長孫行布, who was killed in 604 while resisting the rebellion of Emperor Yang of Sui's brother Yang Liang the Prince of Han), Zhangsun Heng'an, and Zhangsun Anye . (Empress Zhangsun was also born of Lady Gao, while Zhangsun Anye was not; who Zhangsun Xingbu's and Zhangsun Heng'an's mothers were was not recorded in history.) Zhangsun Sheng died in 609, and Zhangsun Anye, instead of raising his younger brother and sister, expelled them, as well as his stepmother Lady Gao, from the Zhangsun household and sent them back to Lady Gao's brother Gao Shilian, and Gao Shilian raised them.

Yu Zhining

Yu Zhining was born in 588, during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui. He was from Sui's capital province Yong Province (雍州, roughly modern Xi'an, Shaanxi), and his ancestors, ethnically Xianbei, were of a prominent line of generals during Sui's predecessor dynasty Northern Zhou. His great-grandfather Yu Jin, in particular, was a renowned general during the latter years of Northern Zhou's predecessor Western Wei and Northern Zhou. His father Yu Xuandao was a mid-level official in the legislative bureau of government, the Neishi Sheng .

Monguor people

TuMonguorTu people
In 581, the Prime Minister of Northern Zhou, Yang Jian, usurped the throne and founded the Sui dynasty (581-618) as Emperor Wen of Sui. His son, Emperor Yang of Sui, annihilated the Chen dynasty (557-589) and unified northern and southern China, thereby bringing an end to the Southern and Northern Dynasties era. Over the course of this period, the Xianbei who entered into China were immersed among the Chinese and later classified into "Han". Yet, not all branches of the Xianbei shared this fate. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, Tuyühu, a branch of the Murong Xianbei, undertook a westward migration that allowed them and those who followed them to develop in a different path.

Yuan Leshang

Consort Yuan LeshangEmpress Yuan Leshang
He subsequently decided that in addition to his wife Empress Yang Lihua, he would create three more empresses, and Consort Yuan was selected as one—with the title of Empress Tianyou (天右皇后, Tianyou Huanghou), subsequently changed in spring 580 to Tianyou Da Huanghou . Among the empresses, she was said to be closest to Chen Yueyi, as they entered the palace at the same time and were the same age, and they were also both favored by Emperor Xuan. Emperor Xuan died in summer 580, and Empress Yang's father Yang Jian became regent. Empress Yuan became a Buddhist nun with the name of Huasheng, and she outlived Yang Jian's subsequent Sui dynasty.

Chen Yueyi

Consort Chen YueyiEmpress Chen Yueyi
Emperor Xuan died in summer 580, and Empress Yang's father Yang Jian became regent. Empress Chen became a Buddhist nun with the name of Huaguang, and she outlived Yang Jian's subsequent Sui Dynasty. According to both the Book of Zhou and History of Northern Dynasties, she was still alive as of the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang (626-649), but nothing further was recorded in either of those two official histories about her.

Shen Wuhua

Crown Princess Shen WuhuaEmpress Shen WuhuaEmpress Shen
Consort Zhang was executed by the Sui general, Gao Jiong, but Chen Shubao was spared and taken to the Sui capital, Chang'an, to be treated as an honored guest of Emperor Wen of Sui. Empress Shen followed Chen Shubao to Chang'an. She wrote deeply mournful texts to commemorate him when he died in 604. Earlier that year, Emperor Wen had died as well and was succeeded by his son, Emperor Yang of Sui, who, during his reign, undertook 11 journeys through various parts of the empire and often had Empress Shen accompany his train. She was with his train in Jiangdu (江都, in modern Yangzhou, Jiangsu) in 618, when he was killed in a coup led by the general Yuwen Huaji.