Gongjin's Campaign Memorials
Gongjin's Campaign Memorials

Zhang Chunhua 張春華 was the wife of Sima Yi 司馬懿 and mother of Sima Shi 師 and Sima Zhao 昭. A devoted wife, even going as far as killing a maid to protect her husband from being discovered. She was later neglected by her husband, but was posthumously made Empress Xuanmu by her grandson Sima Yan 炎.

History of Jin official biography [translation][]

 The Majestic Empress Zhang of the Propagating [Emperor] (Xuānmù Zhāng huánghòu 宣穆張皇后), maiden name Chunhua 春華, was from Pinggao county in Henei commandery. Her father [Zhang] Wang 汪 was a Wei dynasty county magistrate (lìng 令) of Suyi 粟邑 county. Her mother, whose maiden family name was “Shan” 山, was a grandaunt of the Excellency over the Masses (sītú 司徒) [Shan] Tao 濤.[n 1] At a young age the Empress was already known for her good moral conduct, intelligence and wisdom. She give birth to Emperor Jing [Sima Shi], Emperor Wen [Sima Zhao], the King of Pingyuan [Sima] Gan 幹 and the Princess of Nanyang (Nányáng gōngzhǔ 南陽公主).

 Once, the [Emperor] Wu of Wei [Cao Cao 曹操] wanted to recruit Emperor Xuan [Sima Yi] into civil service, but Emperor Xuan lied that he was suffering from arthralgia and stayed at home. One day, when he was leaving his books under the sun for drying, there was a sudden downpour. So he immediately rushed out to collect his books. However, one of his maids saw what happened. Being worried that the maid would leak out the news that he was not ill and get their family into trouble, the Empress killed the maid and burnt her dead body. The Emperor was very impressed with what his wife had done.

 In later years, Lady Bai 柏 had [the Emperor's] favour and he started neglecting his wife. Once, when the Emperor was ill, the Empress came to take care of him, but he humiliated her by saying “You old freak, you look disgusting! What the hell are you doing here?” The Empress felt shame yet got angry, and attempted to starve herself and her sons to death. The Emperor was so shocked that he immediately apologized to his wife and reconciled with her. The Emperor thereafter confided to someone that “It doesn’t really matter if that old freak died. I was actually worried about my sons!”

 In the eight year of Zhengshi 正始 [247 AD] the Empress died at the age of 59. She was buried at Luoyang in Gaoyuanling 高原陵 and given the posthumous title “Lady of Guangping County” (Guǎngpíng xiàn jūn 廣平縣君).[n 2] In the first year of Xianxi 咸熙 [264 AD] she was given the posthumous name “Consort Xuanmu”.[n 3] A year later, when Emperor Wu [Sima Yan] accepted the abdication, he posthumously honoured her as “Empress Xuanmu”.

See also[]


  1. GJCM notes: one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove (zhúlín qīxián 竹林七賢), a group of Wei and Jin scholars known for their extraordinary lifestyle and their love of discussions.
  2. GJCM notes: by Cao Fang 曹芳, then emperor of Wei.
  3. GJCM notes: by Cao Huan 曹奐, the last emperor of the Wei dynasty.


  • Fang Xuanling 房玄齡 (578-648). Jin shu 晉書 “History of Jin”. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974.