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Concubine Qi

Concubine Qi (戚姬 pinyin qi1 ji1) (d. 194 BC), also known as Qi Ji or Lady Qi (戚夫人), was the beloved concubine of Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty. She was called by some as Qi the Benign (戚懿 yi4).

She was born in Dingtao Prefecture[?] (定陶), Shandong Province during late Zhou Dynasty. Liu Ruyi (劉如意 pinyin liu2 ru2 yi4), later entitled the Prince of Zhao, was their son. Ruyi's personality resembled that of Liu Bang and because of this, Bang was reluctant tried several fruitless times to acknowledge Ruyi as the crown prince in place of Liu Ying[?], mainly objected by his biological mother Queen Lü Zhi[?],. Hence Lü hated Qi deeply. Nevertheless Bang ordered Liu Ruyi to return to his entitled land at Handan County[?] on his deathbed. Qi did not accompany Ruyi.

(The italicized paragraphs were extracted, translated and wikified from Han Shu[?] (The Book of Han))

Soon after Liu Bang passed away, Lü, now declared the empress dowager of her emperor son[?], commenced a inhumane plot against Qi and Ruyi. First she imprisoned Qi and ordered her to husk rice. Qi worked sadly and sang daily, "My son is a prince and I am a slave. Husking rice everyday until I die. How can I convey this message to you from three thousand miles away?" The poem was written down and a copy was sent to Handan County. Thus Ruyi complied with Lu's order of returning to Chang'an.

The emperor Liu Ying resided Ruyi in the palace and checked for poison in any aliment delivered to him. Ying also brought Ruyi with him wherever he went. In one early morning, the emperor must attend a hunting ritual individually; this time Ruyi was left alone. Ying supposed her mother would not plot against his brother as several months of secured days came and went. Nevertheless Dowager Lü forced venom down Ruyi's throat and brought Qi to view his corpse. She then chopped off Qi's arms and legs, blinded her by scooping out her eyes, dumbed and abandoned her to live with swines. The weak emperor was so sick of her cruelty that he virtually relinquished his authority, withdrew himself to carnal pleasures with his concubines and died six years later.

Empress Lü called Qi in insult as "the Human Pig" (人彘).

Qi died in the first year of Liu Yang's reign.

Her connection to the game of Go

Qi had a maid who escaped and later married to Duan Yu from Fufeng Prefecture[?] (West of Xian in Shaanxi Province). She described Qi as a very beautiful woman, a great singer, dancer and Go player. On the fourth day of August every year (which did not mean August 4; China was using a different calendar at the time), Qi would play a Go game with Liu Bang in the bamboo forest on the north side of the palace. The winner would make a wish that they believed to come true. Qi won every year and wished for good fortune. Obviously this graceful aspiration did not work or her life would not have been so tragic.

wikified from non-copyright draft of a Go website



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