Biography (COB): Lady Sun [Sun Shangxiang]

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Lady Sun [Sun Shangxiang]Lady Sun
[Sun Shangxiang]
孫妃 [孫尚香]

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Jiang Zhi

Lifespan: AD C. 189–?
Birthplace: Fuchun County, Wu Prefecture (Presently Fuyang, Zhejiang Province)
Relations: Sun Jian (father); Lady Wu, Wu Guotai (mother); Liu Bei (husband); Sun Ce, Sun Quan, Sun Yi, Sun Kuang (brothers); Sun Luban, Sun Luyu (sisters); Sun Lang (half-brother); Lady Sun (married to Hong Zi), Lady Sun (married to Pan Mi) (half-sisters); Sun Ben, Sun Fu, Sun Hao, Sun Yu, Sun Jiao, Sun Huan, Sun Qian (cousins); Liu Shan (step-son)

Lady Sun was the sister of Wu’s first Emperor, Sun Quan, and the only recorded daughter of Sun Jian and Lady Wu (1). Although history records no given name for Lady Sun (or her sisters) she is, in legends, commonly referred to by the name Sun Shang Xiang. She was a woman of strong personality as shown in events throughout her life. Fa Zheng’s biography in Sanguozhi compares her courage and energy to that of her brothers.

1: History records two other daughters of Sun Jian, both older than Lady Sun. One daughter was married to Hong Zi and highly respected the abilities of Zhuge Jin. The other born by a Lady Chen, possibly a concubine, and married Pan Mi.

In AD 209, she was given to Liu Bei in marriage as part of an alliance between Sun Quan and Liu Bei. At the time Lady Sun was a little over twenty years old, but as a result of the marriage she took general control over his household along with guardianship over his son and heir apparent, Liu Shan (2). This is because both of Liu Bei’s former wives, Lady Gan and Lady Mi, had already died of natural causes. Because Lady Sun preferred to be accompanied by more than a hundred female attendants, all of whom were capable of bearing arms, whenever Liu Bei visited her he trembled for his life (3). They are not recorded as having had any children.

2: Liu Shan the son of Lady Gan.
3: Rafe De Crespigny, Generals of the South, 1990. This segment is recorded in both Fa Zheng and Zhao Yun’s Sanguozhi biographies.

However, two years later in AD 211 the Sun-Liu alliance was badly weakened due to disputes over Jing Province. It was at this time, after being contacted by an agent from Wu, that Lady Sun returned to her brother’s court. According to Zhao Yun’s biography, the Zhao Yun Bie Zhuan, Lady Sun attempted to take Liu Shan with her but was stopped by Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei. It was through negotiations that Lady Sun surrendered the young heir to the two generals before she journeyed downriver to the Southlands. It is through this event that the marriage and alliance effectively ended (4).

4: Lady Sun can be easily confused with Lady Wu (different from Lady Sun’s mother) who originally was Liu Zhang’s wife and was later married to Liu Bei. She later became the Empress of Shu while Lady Sun remained with her brothers in the Southlands.

Copyright © 2006 Jiang Zhi. All Rights Reserved.
Primary Sources: Dr. Rafe de Crespigny’s Generals of the South
Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi with annotations by Pei Songzhi