THE PAINTINGS OF ANNIE WONG LEUNG KIT WAH
  PAINTINGS - QUEENS, PRINCESSES & CONCUBINES







Wu Zetian

Wu Zetain (624 to 705AD) was the only female emperor in China.

Born to a merchant family, she was a clever child since young. Wu was swift in her thoughts, strong willed and well-versed in history and literature. She was selected to serve Emperor Taizhong when she was 14 but had a love affair with the crown prince Li Zhi behind the old king back.

When Taizhong died, Wu left the palace and served as a nun. She was invited back to the palace by new king as one of his concubines. An intense power struggle soon developed inside the palace and among the Queen and the king favourite concubines. When all the dusts settled, Wu emerged as the winner and assumed the title of the Queen. From that new position, Wu started cleaning out all oppositions and finally usurped the imperial power when Li Zhi died in 683AD. She dethroned her son in 690AD and changed Tang Dynasty designation to Zhou. Wu crowned herself as the "Da Zhou Emperor".

She ruled with iron fists for almost half a century and proofed herself to be a skilful politician with daring reforms and innovative policies. Her reign linked up the two most prosperous periods of the Tang Dynasty. In 705AD, her Chief Minister, Zhang Jianzi, forced her to resign in favour of Li Xian, who reverted the designation of the dynasty back to Tang. Wu died the same year, leaving an empty memorial stele for critics of later generations to judge and record her performance.





WU
ZE TIAN
2

設色紙本
INK & COLOUR
ON PAPER

182 X 296 cm , 2004