Imperial Consort Jin

Imperial Consort Jin

Infobox Monarch|royal|consort
name =Imperial Noble Consort Duan-Kang
title =Lady Tatala, Imperial Consort Jin


spouse =The Guangxu Emperor
reign =As Regent Dowager Consort:
1913 - 1924|

The Imperial Consort Jin (1874 - 1924), posthumously known as the Imperial Noble Consort Duan-Kang ( _zh. 端康皇贵妃), was a concubine of the Guangxu Emperor, of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China. She was the daughter of H.E. Zhangxu of the Tatala clan and the elder sister of the Imperial Consort Zhen (珍妃), who was also a concubine of the Guangxu Emperor.

Biography

Lady Tatala entered the Forbidden City in 1888 together with her younger sister. On February 25, 1889 she was granted the title of Imperial Consort Jin ( _zh. 瑾妃). The Guangxu Emperor did not really like her, and it was her younger sister who became the Emperor's favourite.

During the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, the court fled to the city of Xi'an. It is said that the imperial court forgot Consort Jin, and left her at the Forbidden City. Eventually, Consort Jin was brought back to the imperial court by help of a Manchu prince. The Imperial Consort Zhen had already died after being thrown in a well by orders of the Dowager Empress Cixi, although another theory claims she may have committed suicide.

After the imperial court returned to Beijing in 1902 the Qing dynasty has lost its influence. Emperor Guangxu died six years later in 1908, followed by Empress Dowager Cixi, who died one day after. This was considered a great loss as she was the most important person of the Qing imperial Court. Just before her death, Empress Dowager Cixi made Puyi the new emperor. Emperor Guangxu's wife Empress Long-Yu would become the Regent Empress Dowager, and Imperial Consort Jin would become the Imperial Noble Dowager Consort Jin.

Besides Puyi's natural mother, he gained five new adoptive mothers. Among them, the Empress Dowager Longyu was the highest ranking one and Dowager Consort Jin was the lowest. The other three adoptive mothers were consorts of the late Tongzhi Emperor.

In 1912, Empress Dowager Longyu signed the abdiction of the fall of the Qing Dynasty. A few months later in 1913, the Empress Dowager died, and Dowager Consort Jin became the highest ranking woman in the Imperial Palace (though she used to be the lowest ranking one) and was granted the title of the Imperial Dowager Concubine Duan-Kang (端康太妃). In 1921 the mother of Puyi committed suicide by swallowing opium after being scolded at a public audience by Dowager Concubine Duan-Kang for the misconduct of the young Emperor Puyi.

Inside Puyi's biography he wrote that Dowager Concubine Duan-Kang saw the Empress Dowager Cixi as her role model for behaviour, even though that Dowager Concubine Duan-Kang's own sister (Consort Zhen) was executed by the Empress Dowager Cixi. Her strict rules and behaviour often made Emperor Puyi angry, but after the death of his mother, Dowager Consort Duan-Kang became much nicer and easier.

When the time was ready for Puyi to marry, the two Dowager Consorts Duan-Kang and Jing-Yi (敬懿太妃) had an argument about who should be the emperor's principal wife. The Dowager Consort Duan-Kang wanted Wan Rong as his principal wife while the Dowager Consort Jing-Yi chose Wen Xiu. In the view of Dowager Consort Duan-Kang, Wen Xiu was not beautiful enough to be an empress, and her family background was much lower than that of Wan Rong. However, Emperor Puyi's first choice was Wen Xiu, which made the Dowager Consort Duan-Kang frustrated. She summoned the ministers and princes to discuss this matter, and they agreed to persuade Puyi to change his decision together. Eventually, Emperor Puyi agreed to select Wan Rong as his empress, and Wen Xiu as his consort.

Death

The Dowager Concubine Duan-Kang died aged 50 inside the Imperial Palace, a little while before the Imperial Court had to leave the Forbidden city in 1924.


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