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Bayan Khutugh (1324–1365), also Bayan Qudu (伯颜忽都, Pai-yen Hu-tu), was an empress consort of the Yuan Dynasty as the second wife of Toghon Temür (Emperor Huizong). Her father's name was Bolod Temür[1].

According to the Yuanshi, Bayan Qudu was known for being "frugal, unjealous, and thoroughly observant of ritual and regulation," which was a sharp contrast to the character and nature of the emperor's favourite, Lady Ki (later known as Öljei Quduq)[2].

Marriage

In July 1335, Toghon Temür’s first empress, Danashiri, daughter of the grand councilor El Temür, had been assassinated in the Upper Capital of Shangdu for her supposed implication in a failed rebellion started by her brother, Tangkis (T’ang Chi’i-shih)[3].

It was not until 1337 that Toghon Temür remarried, this time to a girl of the influential Khongirad tribe, Bayan Qudu. Her enthronement as empress took place on 18 April 1337, when she was just thirteen years of age.

Empress

According to traditional sources, Bayan Qudu was known for being plain and of simple habits, preferring to lead a retiring life, presumably due to the fact that Toghon Temür showed her very little attention.

However, on a journey to the Upper Capital, just 200 miles north of Dadu (Beijing), Toghon Temür desired to pay his empress a visit. He sent a eunuch as an emissary to express this wish. The austere empress replied, “The evening is not a time for Your Excellency to be going back and forth.” The eunuch returned to his master and reported the empress’s words. Toghon Temür sent him back two more times, only to be turned away again each time. This led the emperor to think more highly of Bayan Qudu’s virtue.[4]

At some point, the empress gave birth to a son. This caused much controversy due to the fact that Toghon Temür’s favourite concubine, Lady Ki, had already given birth to a desired heir, Ayushiridara. The empress’s child, however, died at less than two years of age, thus securing Lady Ki’s future and the succession of her own son[5].

Death

On 8 September 1365, Bayan Qudu died, aged only forty-two[6]. Lady Ki is reported to have looked over the late empress’s tattered, plain clothing. Laughing, she remarked, “How can an empress and principal wife wear such attire?”[7]

In popular culture

Notes

  1. ^ L. Carrington Goodrich, L. Chaoying Fang (1976). Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368-1644: Volume I. Columbia University Press. pp. 1291–1292. 
  2. ^ Keith McMahon (2016). Celestial Women: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Song to Qing. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 66–67. 
  3. ^ L. Carrington Goodrich, L. Chaoying Fang (1976). Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368-1644: Volume I. Columbia University Press. pp. 1291–1292. 
  4. ^ Keith McMahon (2016). Celestial Women: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Song to Qing. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 66–67. 
  5. ^ Lily Xiao Hong Lee, Sue Wiles (2014). Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women, Volume II: Tang Through Ming 618-1644. Routledge. p. 303. 
  6. ^ L. Carrington Goodrich, L. Chaoying Fang (1976). Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368-1644: Volume I. Columbia University Press. pp. 1291–1292. 
  7. ^ Keith McMahon (2016). Celestial Women: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Song to Qing. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 66–67. 
Preceded by
Empress Danashri
Consort of Toghon Temür
1337–1365
Succeeded by
Empress Gi
Empress of the Yuan dynasty
1337–1365