Chuxiugong(Palace of Gathered Elegance) is one of Six Western Palaces in inner zone of Forbidden city, lies at the east side of Xianfugong (Palace of Universal Happiness) and north of Yikungong(Palace of Earthly Honor). It was established in 1420 and originally named Shouchanggong(Palace of Longevity and Prosperity) and in 1535 it was renamed Chuxiugong(Palace of Gathered Elegance). In 1655 it was restored. Chuxiugong(Palace of Gathered Elegance) used to be the living residence of concubines in Ming and Qing Dynasties. In 1852, Empress Dowager Cixi lived here when she was laurelled as Languiren(兰贵人)，and here she gave birth to Emperor Tongzhi. In 1884, Empress Dowager Cixi lived in Changchungong(Palace of Eternal Spring) and moved to Chuxiugong(Palace of Gathered Elegance)(Palace of Gathered Elegance) for celebrating her fiftieth birthday. And then Chuxiugong(Palace of Gathered Elegance)(Palace of Gathered Elegance) was elaborately restored at the expense of 630,000 liang silvers. In the garden, on the wall of the visiting corridors, there are many inscriptions created by officials at the time for celebrating Empress Dowager Cixi’s birthday. So seen at present, Chuxiugong(Palace of Gathered Elegance) is the most delicate palace among west six palaces.
In ancient China, the emperor used to marry a lot of beauties and gave them different titles. But generally there was only one Empress, who was the first wife of Emperor and used to manage all other concubines of Emperor Family, and others were all considered as concubines, but among these concubines, different concubine may have different treatment. Some lucky ones in the favor of Emperor may have a higher level in palace than empress, because Emperor’s wife selection was not always done by Emperor himself but others aiming at the need of politics and power consolidation. But the selection of concubines was absolutely done in accordance with emperor’s will and preference. So on many occasions, the stories of palace love always happened between emperor and concubine instead of emperor and empress. For instance, the love of Emperor Guangxu and his concubine Zhenfei was always considered as the classic model.
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