Queen Dowager Zhao (280-228 BC) was from a prominent family from Zhao. She was the concubine of the merchant and later politician Lu Buwei. (1)
This true story centres around the Queen Dowager Zhao and her healthy, sexual appetite. Lu Buwei gave Zhao to his protege Prince Yiren of Qin.
Prince Yiren ascended the Qin throne and became known by his posthumous name King Zhuangxiang. He died in 247 BC and his son to the Queen Dowager; Crown Prince Zhang ascended the throne at age 13. His name was Qin Shi Huang. Qin Shi Huang was the first person to unify all seven states of China and gave himself the title of Emperor of China. He was the man behind the Great Wall of China and was known as a tyrant and a great warrior. (2)
But this is also a tale about Lao Ai, the alleged lover of Queen Dowager Zhao. There are many stories surrounding Lao Ai, but the most well-known is that he had a giant ‘member’ or penis. Lu Buwei and the Queen Dowager continued their love affair behind the King’s back. Lu Buwei became nervous and hatched a plan to break up with the Queen Dowager.
Lu Buwei secretly hired Lao Ai (with the enormous penis) on retainer to replace him as the Dowager’s lover. (3)
From all accounts, Queen Dowager Zhao was highly impressed by Lao Ai’s ‘stature’ and wanted to take him as her lover. Lao Ai’s fake castration meant that he could live in the royal court as the Dowager’s lover. The two soon fell in love. Lao Ai enjoyed a lavish lifestyle in the palace and amassed much power in the court. He was even given a title and land.
Lao Ai was killed when the King (the dowager’s son) heard what was going on behind his back. Lao Ai attempted to raise an army, but the attempted coup was easily defeated by the King. The King placed a bounty of one million copper coins on Lao Ai’s head, and he was eventually caught, castrated and torn limb from limb. (4)
During the attempted coup by Lao Ai, the queen was imprisoned in her palace and her two children to Lao Ai killed. (5)
The King decreed that anyone who mentioned the affair of his mother would be immediately executed. Their flesh removed by whips and their remains piled at the city gates. 27 men were put to death for mentioning the affair! (6)
So what happened to the Queen Dowager? Little is known about her after she was imprisoned in the palace. We can only speculate that she lived out her days behind palace walls while her tyrannical son went on to be a leader who was feared as well as admired.
(2) (3) (4) (6)“Sleeping With the Emperor’s Mother – Chinese History” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P28gmzmbykI (accessed April 4, 2018)
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