Princess Yuan of Lu

Princess Yuan of Lu, also called Princess Luyuan (late 3rd-century BC – c.May 187 BC[1]), was a princess of the Han Dynasty. She was the eldest daughter of the dynasty's founder Emperor Gaozu and Empress Lü Zhi. She had one daughter who was married to her younger brother, Emperor Hui.

Princess Yuan of Lu
BornPre-211 BCE
Diedc.May 187 BCE
SpouseZhang Ao, Prince of Zhao
IssueEmpress Xiaohui
Zhang Yan, Marquis of Nangong
HouseHouse of Liu (by birth)
House of Zhang (by marriage)
FatherEmperor Gaozu of Han
MotherEmpress Lü Zhi
Princess Yuan of Lu
Traditional Chinese魯元公主
Simplified Chinese鲁元公主


Princess Yuan's exact birth date is unknown, but her appearance in official records suggests that she was born before 211 BCE.[2] She was born before her father Liu Bang became a serious political contender, after which most of her early life was spent avoiding capture by enemy forces.[3]

In 204 BCE, during the Chu–Han Contention, the carriage of Princess Yuan and her brother Liu Ying was pursued by forces of the Chu State. Duke Teng, a member of the Xiahou family, ordered the two to leave the carriage and replaced them with two decoy travellers to allow them to escape.[4]

Liu Bang was proclaimed Emperor Gaozu of the Han Dynasty in 202 BCE. Princess Yuan's mother Empress Lü Zhi had little power after her husband became emperor and was powerless to prevent Emperor Gaozu from making plans to marry Princess Yuan, as the daughter of the legitimate wife, to a Xiongnu leader to prevent the nomads from causing trouble on the northern border.[5] She was married later, however, to Zhang Ao of Zhao, who succeeded his father as ruler in 204 BCE. The exact date of their marriage is unknown. Their daughter Zhang Yan was married to Princess Yuan's younger brother Liu Ying in c. November 192 BCE, as part of their mother's attempts to control the imperial household.[6]

In c.December 194 BCE, King Daohui of Qi presented Chengyang Commandery to Princess Yuan and honoured her as Queen dowager.[7]


Princess Yuan is buried in the Han Royal Tomb group near Xianyang at Anling, alongside her brother, daughter and husband. Her tomb is larger than that of her husband.[8]




  1. ^ 4th month of the 1st year of Empress Lü's regency (after Emperor Hui's death), per vol.13 of Zizhi Tongjian. The month corresponds to 10 May to 7 Jun 187 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar.
  2. ^ Book of Han: Annals of Emperor Gaozu, Volume 1, Upper, 相魯元公主,亦皆貴. Empress Lü's biography in Book of Han indicated that Lady Liu was older than her brother Emperor Hui, who was born in 210 BCE.
  3. ^ guanhuimin
  4. ^ Book of Han: Annals of Emperor Gaozu, Volume 1, Upper, 漢王道逢孝惠、魯元,載行。楚騎追漢王,漢王急,推墮二子。滕公下收載,遂得脫。
  5. ^ guanhuimin
  6. ^ guanhuimin
  7. ^ Book of Han, Volume 2: Annals of Emperor Hui, Volume 2, 二年冬十月,齐悼惠王来朝,献城阳郡以益鲁元公主邑,尊公主为太后。
  8. ^ guanhuimin

Cited worksEdit