Consort Yu

Consort Yu (Chinese: 虞姬; pinyin: Yú Jī; died 202 BC), personal name Yu Miaoyi, also known as "Yu the Beautiful" (虞美人), was a concubine of Xiang Yu.

Consort Yu's birth date was unknown and there are two accounts of her origin. The first said she was a native of Yanji Village (顏集鄉) in Shuyang County, while the other claimed that she was from Changshu in Suzhou , but both pointed that she was born in present-day Jiangsu .

In 209 BC, Xiang Yu and his uncle Xiang Liang started a rebellion to overthrow the qin dynasty. Consort Yu's older brother, Yu Ziqi, was serving in Xiang Liang's army as a general then. Yu met Xiang Yu, fell in love with him and became his concubine. Since then, she followed Xiang Yu on military campaigns and refused to remain behind.

In 202 BC, Xiang Yu was besieged in the Battle of Gaixia by the combined forces of Liu Bang (King of Han), Han Xin and Peng Yue. The Han army started to sing folk songs from Xiang Yu's native land of Chu to create a false impression that they had captured Chu. The morale of Xiang Yu's troops plummeted and several soldiers deserted. In despair, Xiang Yu indulged in alcohol and sang the Song of Gaixia to express his sorrow. Consort Yu performed a sword dance and sang a verse in return. To prevent Xiang Yu from being distracted by his love for her, Consort Yu committed suicide with Xiang Yu's sword after singing. She was buried at Gaixia.

A "Consort Yu Tomb" stands in present-day Lingbi County, Anhui province.

Last update 09-04-2012

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