Famous Prostitutes in China’s History
Don’t underestimate the contribution of Chinese women even if they work in the humblest profession. In Chinese history, there were some prostitutes that served pivotal role.
(1) Li Shishi:
She was so attractive that the Song Emperor sneaked out of the palace in a snowy stormy night. According to poem, the Song Emperor was addicted to eat the orange peeled by her. And of course, the 108 heroes in the Water Margin could not gain a foothold in the Song Court without her bedside lobbying.
(2) Sai Jinhua:
Without her seduction towards the German Commander of the Allied 8-power united army during the Boxer Uprising, it is hard to imagine how many more Chinese artifacts would wind up in the museums of Berlin, London, Paris and Moscow. She should be nominated for an award by the Cultural Ministry.
(3) Xiao Fengxian:
Without her bedside mumbling, General Cai would not risk his life to flee back to Yunnan to declare independence. Yuan Shikai’s emperor dream would still be alive and people may be kowtowing to Yuan’s Great Grandson today. She was indeed the architect in rebuilding the republic.
(4) Chen Yuanyuan:
She was a prostitute who also made a contribution (indirectly) in shaping Chinese history. There is a saying that "beauty can conquer the mighty", and she was no exception. She was said to be exceptionally beautiful and her capture by Li Zicheng was one of the reasons (although not the main one) that caused Wu Sangui to open Shanhaiguan to the Manchus. After the fall of the Ming, she disappeared and supposedly became a nun.
(5) Liu Rushi:
She was the most respectable prostitute in China’s history. She was not only good at poem, calligraphy, drawing and Chinese zither, but also showed high moral value when the country facing danger. After southern Ming’s capital was occupied by Manchurian, she persuaded his husband, a respectable "loyal" Confucian scholar to suicide for the country, but he said the water was too cold when in the middle of the river. After her husband’s surrender, she still helped those resistant soldiers. A former prostitute was a moral model during the collapse of Ming dynasty.