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Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers$
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Norman Rothschild

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169387

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169387.001.0001

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Wenmu and Wu Zhao

Wenmu and Wu Zhao

Two Mothers of Zhou

(p.109) Six Wenmu and Wu Zhao
Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers

N. Harry Rothschild

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores how Taisi, the spouse of Zhou dynasty founder King Wen and the mother of King Wu, generated an exalted stature and political legitimacy for Wu Zhao. Mother Wen's role as one of King Wen's “ten ministers” helped justify Wu Zhao's burgeoning participation in government as empress and grand dowager. When Wu Zhao established herself as a female sovereign, Mother Wen—as her blood ancestor and political forebear—played a central role in her wider political strategy to fashion a neoclassical legitimacy by connecting both her person and the state she ruled to the Zhou dynasty of old. This chapter considers how Wu Zhao, as ascending female sovereign, recrafted her genealogy so that Mother Wen became not just a political ancestor, but her blood ancestress.

Keywords:   empress, Taisi, Zhou dynasty, King Wen, King Wu, Wu Zhao, Mother Wen, political legitimacy, genealogy, ancestress

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