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|Empress of the Yuan dynasty
|Reign||1340-1369/70 (29-30 years)|
|Issue||Biligtü Khan Ayushiridara|
|Died||1369/70 (aged 54-55)|
Empress Gi (or Ki; Hangul: 기황후; 1315–1369/70), known as Empress Qi (or Ch'i; 奇皇后) in Chinese and Öljei Khutuk (Өлзий хутуг) in Mongolian, was one of the primary empresses of Toghon Temür of the Yuan dynasty and the mother of Biligtü Khan Ayushiridara. She was from a Korean aristocratic family.
Öljei Khutuk, the Mongolian name by which she came to be known, was born to Gi Jao (hanja: 奇子敖 ) in Haengju (hanja: 幸州 , modern Goyang) in Goryeo. She had an elder brother named Gi Cheol (hanja: 奇轍 , Mongolian: Bayn Bukha). She became a concubine of Toghon Temür and was the mother of Ayurshiridara. After the primary empress Danashri was executed on 22 July 1335 in a purge because of the rebellion of her brother Tankis (Tangqishi), Toghon Temür tried to install Öljei Khutuk as the empress. However Bayan of the Merkid, who held real power, opposed it. When Bayan was purged, Öljei Khutuk became the secondary empress in 1340 (the primary was Bayn Khutuk of the Khongirad). Her son Ayurshiridara was designated Crown Prince in 1353. Using her Korean eunuch Bak Bulhwa (Hangul: 박불화; hanja: 朴不花) as her agent, she began a campaign to force the emperor to pass the imperial throne to her son Ayurshiridara. However her intentions became known to the emperor and he grew apart from her.
Depending on Öljei Khutuk's position in the imperial capital, her elder brother Gi Cheol came to threaten the position of the king of Goryeo, which was a client state of the Mongols. Gongmin of Goryeo exterminated the Gi family in a coup in 1356. Öljei Khutuk responded by selection Tash Temür as the new king of Goryeo and dispatched troops to Goryeo. The Mongol troops were defeated by the army of Goryeo while attempting to cross the Yalu River.
Within the Mongol capital an internal strife was fought between supporters and opponents of the Crown Prince. An opposition leader Bolud Temür finally occupied the capital in 1364. Ayurshiridara fled to Köke Temür who supported him but Öljei Khutuk was imprisoned by Bolud Temür. Bolud Temür was overthrown by Köke Temür the next year. Once again, she tried to install her son as Khagan, this time with the support of Köke Temür, but in vain. After Bayan Khutuk died, Öljei Khutuk was elevated to the primary empress.
The collapse of the Mongol rule of China in 1368 forced her to flee to Yingchang. In 1370, Toghon Temür died and Ayurshiridara ascended to the throne. Empress Gi became Empress Dowager, but soon after that went missing.
In popular culture
- Portrayed by Kim Hye-ri in 2005 television series Shin Don.
- Portrayed by Ha Ji-won in 2013 television series Empress Ki.
- Association for Asian Studies. Ming Biographical History Project Committee; Luther Carrington Goodrich (15 October 1976). Dictionary of Ming biography, 1368-1644. Columbia University Press. p. 1291.
- Чулууны Далай; Нямбуугийн Ишжамц; Найдангийн Дангаасүрэн (1992). Монголын түүх. Улаанбаатар: Эрдэм.
|Consorts of rulers of China
Empress Ma (Hongwu)