Empress Wang Shen'ai

Female, Deceased Person

0384 – 0412


Who was Empress Wang Shen'ai?

Empress Wang Shen'ai, formally Empress Anxi was an empress of Jin Dynasty. Her husband was the developmentally disabled Emperor An.

Wang Shen'ai was the daughter of the official Wang Xianzhi, the son of the famed official and calligrapher Wang Xizhi. Her mother Princess Xin'an was the daughter of Emperor Jianwen, making her and her husband cousins. In 396, while he was still crown prince under his father Emperor Xiaowu, they married, and she became crown empress. She was 12, and he was 14. As he was described to be so developmentally disabled that he could not speak or dress himself, or express whether he was full or hungry, it was unlikely that their marriage was consummated; in any case, they had no children. Later that year, after Emperor Xiaowu was killed by his concubine Consort Zhang after humiliating her, Emperor An became emperor. In 397, she was created empress.

Very little is known about Empress Wang's life as empress. In 403, after Emperor An's throne was usurped by the warlord Huan Xuan, she was effectively put under house arrest with her husband.

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on July 23, 2013


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