Biography (SGZ): Lady Xu

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Lady Xu

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
See Translator Note I
translated by

Lady Xu, wife of Quan, the Lord of Wu, was a native of Fuchun in Wu Commandary. Lady Xu’s grandfather, Zhen, was a close friend of Quan’s father, Jian. Jian wived Zhen with his younger sister, who bore Xu Kun. Kun served in provincial and commandery offices in his youth. During the chaotic times of the end of Han, he quit his office and followed Jian, gaining merit in battle, and was made Lieutenant-General. When Jian died, he followed Sun Ce to fight Fan Neng and Yu Mi at Hengjiang, and to attack Zhang Ying at Danglikou. At that time, his boats [for transporting troops] were few, and he was about to order camp to be made so that he could request for more boats. Kun’s mother was with the troops at that time, and she said to Kun, “I fear that by the time the province sends their naval forces, we would be in a disadvantageous position already. How can we set camp here? It would be better if we use the bullrushes as rafts to aid the boats in transporting the people.” Kun brought the idea up to Ce, and Ce adopted it. All the troops were transported accordingly, and they defeated Ying, and made Zhai Rong and Liu Yao flee. [Sun Ce’s] base was thus established.

Ce petitioned the court to make Kun replacement Grand Administrator of Danyang. [But] when Wu Jing left Guanling to go eastward, [Ce] reinstated Wu Jing as Administrator of Dan Yang. (1) Kun was made General of the Interior Who Supervises the Army instead. Leading his men, Kun followed Ce to defeat Li Shu, the grand administrator of Lujiang, and was made Marquis of Guangde and promoted to General Who Defeats the Caitiffs. Later, in the campaign against Huang Zu, he was shot by an arrow and died.

(1) From Jiang Biao Zhuan: Previously, Yuan Shu sent his younger brother Yin to rule Danyang, and Ce ordered Kun to attack him and take over his post. But when Jing came back [to Ce], Ce recalled that when Jing served in Danyang, he was forgiving, benevolent, and had the popular support, fondly remembered by officers and commoners alike. Whereas Kun, thought Sun Ce, had many troops under him and was too strong. Also, since there was much conquering to be done and it would be good to have Kun’s troops back, Sun Ce appointed Wu Jing [to be the Grand Administrator of Danyang], and summoned Kun back to Wu.

Kun gave birth to Lady Xu, and had originally betrothed her to Lu Shang, who hailed from the same commandery. However, Shang died, and Sun Quan happened to be in the area at that time as General Who Defeats the Caitiffs, and so he took her to be his consort. He had her look after his son Sun Deng as a mother. Later, when Quan relocated, he sent the Lady away to Wu on the account of her jealousy. More than 10 years later, Quan became King of Wu and then assumed the imperial title, and Deng was made heir. All those in court petitioned to make the Lady queen. However, Quan had had Lady Bu in mind, and so he refused their request. Lady Xu died of illness later.

Lady Xu’s elder brother Jiao inherited his father’s title of Marquis, and he defeated the Shanyue. He was made Lieutenant-General. He died before the Lady did, and did not leave an heir. The Lady’s younger brother Zhai then inherited the title, and by military merits ascended to the post of Governor of Wuhu and General Who Defeats the Wei.

(I): Updates of this biography have been discontinued by the translator in favor of an alternate translation found in Robert Joe Cutter and William G. Crowell's Empresses and Consorts, a marvelous hardcover book detailing the role of women during the Three Kingdoms era. It includes the biographies of women included in Chen Shou's Sanguozhi. This translation remains online for archival purposes only.

Copyright © 2002 - 2003
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi