|First Appearance:||Shin Sangoku Musou Blast|
|Real name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
December 30, 159
July 9, 230
|Real name unknown. Formally known as Empress Wuxuan (武宣皇后).|
Bianshi (literally: "Lady Bian"), commonly referred to as Empress Dowager Bian (卞太后, Biàn Tàihòu), is one of Cao Cao's most favored concubines and Cao Pi, Cao Zhang, Cao Zhi, and Cao Xiong's biological mother. She helped raised many of Cao Cao's other children.
She placed fourth with fans in Gamecity's Shin Sangoku Musou Blast first card promotion poll.
Role in GamesEdit
Bianshi only appears as a playable character in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. She first appeared in the eleventh title and often appears near Wei. Her stats tend to favor domestic affairs like the majority of female characters within the series. These traits carry over into the twelfth title which lists her life span as 160 to 230.
The online adaptation refers to her as "Bianji". After her introduction, she serves as minor support for her sons in several events.
Lady Bian was born in modern Lanshan District, Linyi. Historical records associate her with the Bian family, but her true family origins and her real name are unknown. The Weilüe states that her father was Bian Yuan and Bian Bing was her younger brother, but its authenticity for the claim is singular and therefore questionable. She tends to be called either Bianshi or Bian-Furen in contemporary media.
Originally a singing maiden with a poor background, she met Cao Cao when he was in Zhang County. When she was 20, he made her one of his consorts and traveled with him to Luoyang. He immediately favored her more than his wife, Lady Ding, who was already estranged from him by then and at her breaking point with her husband. The final straw which caused her to forever leave Cao Cao was Lady Bian's introduction, although the concubine never wronged her and wanted to treat her with due respect. When Cao Cao became King of Wei in 216, he donned his concubine Queen. Upon receiving the news, it was said everyone within the kingdom happily celebrated. Cao Cao did not give her the title of Empress, but he supposedly called her that as a fond nickname.
Lady Bian was praised for being wise, modest and patient. She never spoiled her children with luxuries, was known to refuse extravagance, and calmly conducted herself with an aura of sagacity. When Yuan Shu's retainers mistakenly reported Cao Cao's demise due to Dong Zhuo's army in 189, she refused to believe the claim at face value saying, "Yet the manner of my lord's death has not been verified. None of you know or have personally checked whether he still lives or whether he was he was killed due to an accident. For what purpose was this said to me when it is nothing more than a hindrance?". She would listen to no more inquiries about the claim. When Cao Cao returned home unharmed, it was said the vassals were impressed by her faithfulness and her tact composure.
According to Weishi and Book of Wei, Cao Cao later obtained several exquisite earrings and let Lady Bian have first pick. She responded by choosing the most mediocre of the bunch. When he asked her for her reasons, she replied, "Those who seek the richest treasures are inflicted by greed. I chose this one to be truly frugal."; her comment pleased him. Weilüe notes an episode when Cao Cao gave her younger brother the seal, Major of Separate Command, as a show of his appreciation towards her family. When Bian Bing neglected to pay his respects to him afterwards, she chided him on his hypocrisy. Later, when Bian Bing asked Cao Cao for gold and other treasure, Cao Cao dully refused him with the words, "So you claim to not have stolen enough from me?". If not for his family ties to Lady Bian, it's possible that Bian Bing would have been severely punished for his rudeness.
Aside from being known as a loyal mate, she was also known as a dearly loved mother. Lady Bian adopted and raised many children born from Cao Cao's other consorts. Many of his children loved and respected her as much as their own mother. Cao Zhi especially admired her and sought for her attention. She was said to have taught them their love for studying and was frequently sought for private consolation. Her rationality may have prevented all of his children from being close to her. When Cao Pi was announced Cao Cao's formal heir in 217, she openly criticized Cao Pi's maids who wanted to lavish their lord with riches to celebrate. She stated to them, "The king (Cao Cao) has merely given his son permission to succeed him at a later date. Don't happily use it as an excuse to overlook everything I have taught all of you. For what reason would he need to be rewarded?" Cao Cao heard the maids' story and gladly accepted their sentiments. He commented, "She never changes her habit for moderation, even when it is a time for celebrating. She's a rather strict one."
After Cao Cao's real death, Cao Pi named her Empress Dowager and later Yongshou-gong in respect to her age and importance to the Cao family. Though her role during her son's reign was minimal, she was instrumental in vetoing two of his judgments. When Cao Pi sought to severely punish Cao Zhi for disorderly conduct, Lady Bian asked him to reduce his brother's sentence. A more serious case occurred when Cao Pi decided to settle his personal vendetta against Cao Hong by having him executed over a slight misdemeanor. Lady Bian remembered Cao Hong's past service for Wei and stood in his defense, criticizing her son's pettiness.
As she succumbed to an illness that would eventually take her life, Lady Zhen cried endlessly when she thought of her mother-in-law's condition. Upon hearing of her daughter-in-law's state, Lady Bian warmly admired her devotion. She was buried next to Cao Cao when she died and was posthumously named Empress Wuxuan by Cao Rui. Her remains were later discovered and verified by researchers when Cao Cao's family tomb was found within Henan in 2009. Based on anthropologists' statements, she was approximately twenty years younger than Cao Cao.
Romance of Three KingdomsEdit
Lady Bian is first mentioned in the novel when she is named of Queen of Wei by her husband following his separation with Lady Ding. Chapter 79 dramatizes her confrontation with Cao Pi upon hearing the latter bounding Cao Zhi for failing to attend their father's funeral. Weeping, she said, "Your brother has always had that weakness for wine, but we let him go his way out of consideration for his undoubted ability. I hope you will not forget he is your brother and that I bore you both. Spare his life that I may close my eyes in peace when I set out for the deep springs."; those words convinced him to hold off on punishing his sibling.