Lady Xie

One of Sun Quan’s many wives, Lady Xie was arranged for Sun Quan by his mother, Lady Wu. She came from Guiji and was the daughter of Xie Jiong, a gentleman and a master of writing in his prefecture. While she was his primary wife, she was loved and favored and continued to earn Lady Wu’s approval.

However, despite her popularity and noncontroversial role, problems arose when Sun Quan took an interest in his aunt’s granddaughter, Lady Xu. As the girl was a distant enough relative for it to be acceptable for marriage, he wanted to lower Lady Xie’s position in the royal harem in order to give Lady Xu the highest honor.

Lady Xie was understandably unhappy with this decision. Her resistance to the idea dropped her of Sun Quan’s favor. It is possible that Lady Wu would have advised her to go along with the change without too much fuss, for she wouldn’t have wanted to create more opposition for herself than necessary. Though her obvious disappointment earned her sympathy, she ultimately had little say in the matter. Lady Xu was brought into the royal harem and Lady Xie was pushed to the side. After being cast aside in such a manner, she became depressed and died rather young, though a specific date is not recorded.

The situation that Lady Xie faced was a rather common one throughout history, especially for women who were close to the emperors. Even generals could have whomever they wanted to marry, and often ended up with several concubines. Emperors at the highest rank had even greater freedom when choosing their partners.