Ten Attendants

When Emperor Ling became critically ill in 189, he secretly entrusted his younger son, Liu Xie, then about eight years old, to a close aide and eunuch, Jian Shuo. Upon the emperor's death, Jian Shuo attempted to install Liu Xie on the throne but his plan failed. Emperor Ling's older son, the 13-year-old Liu Bian, became emperor instead and was known as Emperor Shao. Empress Dowager He (Emperor Shao's mother) and General-in-Chief He Jin (Empress Dowager He's brother) became the regents ruling on behalf of the underage emperor.

In the summer of 189, after Jian Shuo learnt that He Jin and his subordinates were plotting to eliminate him, he tried to persuade his fellow eunuchs to join him in his plan to assassinate He Jin. However, they were persuaded by Guo Sheng, who was close to Empress Dowager He, to reject Jian Shuo's idea. He Jin subsequently had Jian Shuo arrested and executed, and then took control of the military units previously under Jian's command. In the autumn of 189, Yuan Shao suggested to He Jin to eliminate the eunuch faction and consolidate power. Empress Dowager He immediately rejected the idea because it required her to interact with men on a regular basis, which she found offensive and immodest. Empress Dowager He's mother (the Lady of Wuyang) and He Miao (何苗) had been bribed by the eunuchs to protect them, so they also strongly opposed He Jin's plan, saying that they owed much to the eunuchs. (Empress Dowager He had become Emperor Ling's consort because the eunuchs helped her.)

He Jin then heeded an alternative suggestion from Yuan Shao: he secretly instructed a few provincial military officials or warlords (Dong Zhuo, Wang Kuang, Qiao Mao and Ding Yuan) to lead their troops to the vicinity of Luoyang, the imperial capital, and openly demand that the eunuchs be executed – in the hope of pressuring Empress Dowager He to take action against the eunuchs. Empress Dowager He initially refused to harm the eunuchs, but as Dong Zhuo's forces approached Luoyang, she ordered the eunuchs to leave the palace and return to their marquisates. (Many of the eunuchs had been made marquises by Emperor Ling.) Empress Dowager He's younger sister married Zhang Rang's (adopted) son. Zhang Rang pleaded with her to help him, so she informed her mother (the Lady of Wuyang), who in turn spoke to Empress Dowager He. The empress dowager relented and summoned the eunuchs back to the palace.

Around September 189, the eunuchs hatched a plot to assassinate He Jin. They issued a fake imperial order in Empress Dowager He's name, instructing He Jin to enter the palace to meet her. On 22 September 189, He Jin fell into an ambush and died at the hands of the eunuchs, who declared him guilty of treason. After He Jin's death, his subordinates Wu Kuang (吳匡) and Zhang Zhang (張璋), along with Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu and others, led their troops to storm the palace and kill the eunuchs in revenge. They indiscriminately slaughtered anyone who looked like a eunuch; some young men who had no facial hair, in desperation, dropped their pants in front of the soldiers to prove that they were not eunuchs. During the attack, the eunuchs took Empress Dowager He, Emperor Shao and the Prince of Chenliu (Liu Xie) hostage and tried to flee from the palace. Lu Zhi intercepted the eunuch Duan Gui (段珪) and saved the empress dowager from him. He Miao, who was sympathetic towards the eunuchs, was killed by Wu Kuang and Dong Zhuo's younger brother, Dong Min (董旻). Over 2,000 people died in the attack.

Zhang Rang and some 10 other eunuchs managed to bring Emperor Shao and the Prince of Chenliu to the riverbank, with imperial forces led by Lu Zhi and Min Gong (閔貢) hot on their heels. Zhang Rang turned to Emperor Shao and tearfully said, "We're going to be destroyed and chaos will break out in the Empire. Your Majesty, please take care of yourself!" He then threw himself into the river and drowned. Provided by Wikipedia

by Xu, Feng, Lu, Tian Jian
Published 2011
Springer Berlin Heidelberg

by Lu, Tian Jian, Xu, Feng, Wen, Ting
Published 2013
Springer Berlin Heidelberg