The Luo River Goddess and Wu Zhao
This chapter examines the role of Consort Fu (Fufei), the goddess of the Luo River, in magnifying Wu Zhao's political authority as emperor of China. Luoyang, situated in the middle of the Yellow River valley in the northern part of modern-day Henan, was more proximate to the center of the Tang empire than Chang'an. With monumental architecture and elaborate symbols, Wu Zhao impressed her own distinctive ideological brand upon this city, making it her Divine Capital. Wu Zhao filled her Divine Capital with a formidable panoply of her might. Completed in 694, the spectacular centerpiece of her dynastic capital was the Axis of the Sky (Tianshu), a hundred-foot pillar of bronze set on an iron mountain, surmounted by a scintillating fire pearl on a cloud canopy held aloft by a quartet of dragons. This chapter considers how the river goddess Consort Fu played important roles both in the sanctication of Luoyang as Divine Capital and the political ascent of Wu Zhao.
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