Statue of Lady Fu Hao

Statue of Lady Fu Hao

Lady Fu Hao (China, 1200 BCE) was one of the sixty wives of King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty. She served as one of his top military generals, as well as a high priestess. Furthermore, she controlled her own fiefdom on the borders of her husband’s realm. She led war campaigns against neighboring tribes, most of which were successful. Not much else is known about her life, but she is one of the earliest women for whom there is literal proof of high warrior status and leadership in Chinese society.

She predeceased her husband. To honor her, Wu Ding constructed a grand tomb. For the rest of his life he visited the tomb often, leaving offerings in order to garner her spiritual guidance for defeating invaders. According to the British Museum in London, England, the tomb of Lady Fu Hao was discovered in 1976. There were two thousand items in total buried with her, many being made up of precious and semi-precious stones. Weapons were also buried with her to honor her life as a general.

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