Teng Fanglan

Teng Fanglan, formally known as Empress Teng, was an empress of Eastern Wu during the three kingdoms period of Chinese history. She was married to Sun Hao, the fourth and last emperor of Eastern Wu.

Her father Teng Mu (滕牧) was a distant relative of one-time Eastern Wu chancellor Teng Yin (滕胤), and when Teng Yin was killed in a failed attempt to overthrow the regent Sun Chen in 256, Teng Mu and his family were exiled to the border. After the emperor Sun Xiu killed Sun Chen in 258, he declared a general pardon for those who had been condemned by Sun Chen, and Teng Mu was able to return from exile with his family and became a mid-level official. Lady Teng was then married to Sun Hao, the Marquess of Wucheng, the son of former crown prince Sun He and the nephew of the emperor. When Sun Xiu died in 264, the powerful officials Puyang Xing (濮陽興) and Zhang Bu (張布) made him emperor, and Marchioness Teng became empress that year. Teng Mu was promoted, and eventually became deputy chancellor and a marquess.

Sun Hao was a cruel, superstitutious, and incompetent ruler. The officials were, however, hesitant to try to correct him with advice because of his cruelty, and because of Teng Mu's honored status, they often asked him to present the proposals that the emperor might otherwise be offended by. Eventually, Sun Hao tired of Teng Mu's suggestions, and as a result Empress Teng began to lose favor as well. In 266, Sun Hao suddenly ordered Teng Mu to move to Cangwu (蒼梧, in modern Wuzhou, Guangxi ) -- and while Teng Mu retained his posts and titles, this was an effective exile. He died in distress on the way to Cangwu. Sun Hao also considered deposing Empress Teng, but Sun Hao's superstitiousness worked in Empress Teng's favor—as the sorcerers that he trusted told him that changing the lady of the palace would lead to disaster. Sun Hao's mother, Empress Dowager He, also worked to protect Empress Teng. However, she stayed with Empress Dowager He and rarely saw her husband again, and many of his favorite concubines were allowed to carry empress seals, although they continued to revere her as the empress.

Little else is known about Empress Teng. When Eastern Wu was conquered by the rival Jin in 280, she accompanied her husband to the Jin capital Luoyang, and presumably, after he was created the Marquess of Guiming, she carried the title of marchioness. It is not known when she died.

Last update 08-05-2012

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