Empress Xiaojingcheng

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Empress Xiaojingcheng
Empress dowager of Qing
Tenure13 August 1850 – 21 August 1855
PredecessorEmpress Xiaoherui
SuccessorEmpress Xiaozhenxian
Empress Xiaoqinxian
Born(1812-06-19)19 June 1812
(嘉慶十七年 五月 十一日)
Died21 August 1855(1855-08-21) (aged 43)
(咸豐五年 七月 九日)
Shoukang Palace, Elegant Spring Garden, Old Summer Palace
Mu Mausoleum, Western Qing tombs
Daoguang Emperor
(m. 1825; died 1850)
Princess Shou'en of the First Rank
Yixin, Prince Gongzhong of the First Rank
Posthumous name
Empress Xiaojing Kangci Yizhao Duanhui Zhuangren Heshen Bitian Fusheng Cheng
HouseBorjigit (博爾濟吉特; by birth)
Aisin Gioro (by marriage)
Empress Xiaojingcheng
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese孝靜成皇后
Simplified Chinese孝静成皇后
Manchu name
Manchu scriptᡥᡳᠶᠣᠣᡧᡠᠩᡤᠠ
Romanizationhiyoošungga cibsen šanggan hūwangheo

Empress Xiaojingcheng (19 June 1812 – 21 August 1855), of the Manchu Plain Yellow Banner Borjigit clan, was a consort of the Daoguang Emperor. She was 30 years his junior.


Family background[edit]

Empress Xiaojingcheng's personal name was not recorded in history, she was a Khorchin Mongol of the Plain Blue Banner by birth.

  • Father: Hualiang'a (花良阿), served as a fifth rank literary official (員外郎) in the Ministry of Justice, and held the title of a first class duke (一等公)
    • Paternal grandfather: Kunshan (崑山)
  • Mother: Lady Aisin Gioro
  • One brother
  • One sister

Jiaqing era[edit]

The future Empress Xiaojingcheng was born on the 11th day of the fifth lunar month in the 17th year of the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor, which translates to 19 June 1812 in the Gregorian calendar.

Daoguang era[edit]

In 1825, Lady Borjigit entered the Forbidden City and was granted the title "Noble Lady Jing" by the Daoguang Emperor. On 22 November 1826, she gave birth to the emperor's second son, Yigang, who would die prematurely on 5 March 1827.

Lady Borjigit was elevated on 29 December 1826 to "Concubine Jing", and on 15 May 1827 to "Consort Jing", she gave birth on 2 December 1829 to the emperor's third son, Yiji, who would die prematurely on 22 January 1830, on 20 January 1831 to his sixth daughter, Princess Shou'en of the First Rank, and on 11 January 1833 to his sixth son, Yixin. On 17 September 1834, she was elevated to "Noble Consort Jing".

The Daoguang Emperor's second empress consort, Empress Xiaoquancheng, died on 13 February 1840, and Lady Borjigit was placed in charge of the emperor's harem. On 9 January 1841, she was elevated to "Imperial Noble Consort".

Xianfeng era[edit]

When the Daoguang Emperor died on 26 February 1850, his fourth son, Yizhu, who was enthroned as the Xianfeng Emperor, refused to make Lady Borjigit the Empress Dowager. Instead, the Xianfeng Emperor honoured Lady Borjigit with the title "Dowager Imperial Noble Consort Kangci". Lady Borjigit and her only surviving son, Yixin, were not satisfied with this arrangement. According to imperial customs, Lady Borjigit had no right to claim the position of Empress Dowager because she was neither the birth mother of the Xianfeng Emperor, nor did she hold the rank of Empress while the Daoguang Emperor was still living. Although the Xianfeng Emperor ignored her appeals to become Empress Dowager, he treated her respectfully like a stepmother.

In 1852, Lady Borjigit, as the highest ranked living consort of the previous emperor, was allowed to exercise her privilege to select potential candidates to be the Xianfeng Emperor's consorts. Among those she chose were the future Empress Dowager Ci'an and Empress Dowager Cixi.

Lady Borjigit became critically ill in August 1855. Fearing that she had little time left, she conspired with her son, Yixin, to earn her the title of Empress Dowager before she died. Yixin then issued an imperial edict to honor his mother without full consent of the Xianfeng Emperor. In order to save himself from public embarrassment, the Emperor, although being displeased, reluctantly acknowledged the title later.[citation needed]

Lady Borjigit became Empress Dowager Kangci on 13 August 1855 and died eight days later; the Xianfeng Emperor appointed two princes, one of whom was Yixin, to take charge of the funeral arrangements, and announced that he would spend the mourning period in the Hall of Mental Cultivation.[1]

In 1857, Lady Borjigit was interred in the Mu Mausoleum of the Western Qing tombs, she was also granted the posthumous title "Empress Xiaojing". The Xianfeng Emperor did not add the character cheng – indicating her status as an empress consort of the Daoguang Emperor, as were Empresses Xiaomucheng, Xiaoshencheng and Xiaoquancheng – to her posthumous title because he wanted to highlight his belief that Lady Borjigit never qualified as an empress consort. He also did not give her a place in the Imperial Ancestral Temple, which meant that she would not be included in ancestral worship rites.

Tongzhi era[edit]

When the Xianfeng Emperor died on 22 August 1861, his first son and successor, the Tongzhi Emperor, was still too young to rule. In the Xinyou Coup that followed, the Empress Dowagers Ci'an and Cixi collaborated with Yixin to overthrow and seize power from a group of eight regents appointed by the Xianfeng Emperor on his deathbed; the two empress dowagers thus became the regents for the Tongzhi Emperor, with Yixin assisting as Prince-Regent. On 6 May 1862, in order to secure Yixin's allegiance towards the Tongzhi Emperor, the two empress dowagers issued an imperial decree that added the character cheng to Lady Borjigit's posthumous title. Lady Borjigit was also given a place in the Imperial Ancestral Temple and included in ancestral worship rites.


  • During the reign of the Jiaqing Emperor (r. 1796–1820):
    • Lady Borjigit (from 19 June 1812)
  • During the reign of the Daoguang Emperor (r. 1820–1850):
    • Noble Lady Jing (靜貴人; from 1825), sixth rank consort
    • Concubine Jing (靜嬪; from 29 December 1826[2]), fifth rank consort
    • Consort Jing (靜妃; from 15 May 1827[3]), fourth rank consort
    • Noble Consort Jing (靜貴妃; from 17 September 1834[4]), third rank consort
    • Imperial Noble Consort (皇貴妃; from 9 January 1841[5]), second rank consort
  • During the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor (r. 1850–1861):
    • Imperial Noble Consort Kangci (康慈皇貴妃; from April 1851[6])
    • Empress Dowager Kangci (康慈皇太后; from 13 August 1855[7])
    • Empress Xiaojing (孝靜皇后; from 20 September 1855[8])
  • During the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor (r. 1861–1875):
    • Empress Xiaojingcheng (孝靜成皇后; from 6 May 1862[9])


  • As Noble Lady Jing:
    • Yigang (奕綱; 22 November 1826 – 5 March 1827), the Daoguang Emperor's second son
  • As Consort Jing:
    • Miscarriage at four months (28 June 1828)
    • Yiji (奕繼; 2 December 1829 – 22 January 1830), the Daoguang Emperor's third son
    • Princess Shou'en of the First Rank (壽恩固倫公主; 20 January 1831 – 15 May 1859), the Daoguang Emperor's sixth daughter
      • Married Jingshou (景壽; 1829–1889) of the Manchu Fuca clan in May/June 1845
    • Yixin (奕䜣; 11 January 1833 – 29 May 1898), the Daoguang Emperor's sixth son, granted the title Prince Gong of the First Rank in 1850, posthumously honoured as Prince Gongzhong of the First Rank


In fiction and popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wenzong Xian huangdi shilu, XF 5/7/1 (August 13, 1855), 42:896;j.51 for 1852, j. 171 for August 1855; also Zhang Naiwei, Qing gong shuwen, 408 - The Last Emperor, Evelyn S. Rawski
  2. ^ 道光六年 十二月 一日
  3. ^ 道光七年 四月 二十日
  4. ^ 道光十四年 八月 十五日
  5. ^ 道光二十年 十二月 十七日
  6. ^ 咸豐元年 三月
  7. ^ 咸豐五年 七月 一日
  8. ^ 咸豐五年 八月 十日
  9. ^ 同治元年 四月 八日


  • Min, Anchee (2005). Empress Orchid (Reprint ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0618562036.
  • Rawski, Evelyn S. (1998). The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions (Reprint ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 052092679X.
  • Seagrave, Sterling; Seagrave, Peggy (1992). Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China (Illustrated ed.). Knopf.
  • Wan, Yi; Shuqing, Wang; Yanzhen, Lu; Scott, Rosemary E. (1988). Daily Life in the Forbidden City: The Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912 (Illustrated ed.). Viking. ISBN 0670811645.
  • Warner, Marina (1974). The Dragon Empress: Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi, 1835-1908, Empress Dowager of China (Reprint and Illustrated ed.). Cardinal. ISBN 0351186573.
  • Wen, Mayli (2005). "Foreword by Lulu Wang". Een vrouw op de drakentroon (in Dutch). Conserve, Uitgeverij. ISBN 9054292229.
  • Zhao, Erxun (1928). Draft History of Qing (Qing Shi Gao) (in Chinese).
Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress Xiaoquancheng
Empress of China
(elevated to this position posthumously)
Succeeded by
Empress Xiaozhenxian
Preceded by
Empress Dowager Gongci
Empress Dowager of China
Succeeded by
Empress Dowager Ci'an