Wǔ Shìyuē (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; 559–635 CE) was the father of Wu Zetian, the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant. Posthumously honored with the title of King Zhongxiao[a], Wu was the son of Wu Hua[b] and became a timber merchant. He was also known as the Duke of Ying[c] and King of Wei[d] serving as army commander[e] of Yingyang Prefecture[f] during the final years of Emperor Yang of Sui (r. 605–618 CE) and subsequently as Minister of Revenue[g] and superintendent of Jingzhou City, Hubei during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 627–649 CE).

Wu Shiyue
Died635 (aged 75–76)
SpouseLady Xiangli
Lady Yang
IssueWu Yuanqing, Prince Xian of Liang
Wu Yuanshuang, Prince De of Wei
Wu Zhiyuan, Prince Shu
Wu Shun, Lady of Han
Wu Zetian, Empress Tang and Zhou
Lady Wu, Lady of Guo
Posthumous name
Ding 定
Emperor Wushang Xiaoming Gao 無上孝明高皇帝 (honored by Wu Zetian)
Temple name
Taizu 太祖 (honored by Wu Zetian)
FatherWu Hua
MotherLady Zhao

Initially, Wu married a woman from the Xiangli family, who gave birth to two sons named Wu Yuanqing[h] and Wu Yuanshuang.[i] Later he remarried a woman from the noble Yang family[j] of the Hong Nong region. She was daughter, niece, and sister to several ministers and a close relation of the imperial family. By her, Wu had three daughters: Wu Shun[k] (later the Lady of Han[l]), Wu Zhao[m] (Empress Wu Zetian[n]) and the Lady of Guo.[o]

After Wu died in 635 CE, his two sons were rude to their stepmother; after Wu Zetian came to power, she banished her half-brothers from the imperial court. At the same time she named her sister Lady of Han's son Helan Minzhi[p] as heir to her father. However, Wu Zetian became displeased with Helan Minzhi's conduct and sent him into exile where he died. Thereafter she recalled Wu Yuanshuang's son Wu Chengsi[q] from exile and made him Wu Shiyue's successor.

Posthumously, Wu Shiyue ("yue" being an alternate reading of 彠, and is considered to be the correct one) received the titles of Zhou Zhongxiao Emperor[r] and Supreme Founding Emperor of the Southern Zhou Dynasty (690–705).[s]


  • Furen, of the Xiangli clan (相里夫人)
    • Wu Yuanqing, Prince Xian of Liang, first son (武元庆梁宪王)
    • Wu Yuanshuang, Prince De of Wei, second son (武元爽 魏德王)
  • Empress Xiaomingao, of the Yang clan (孝明高皇后)


This article is based on a translation of Chinese Wikipedia.


a: ^ Chinese: 忠孝王; pinyin: Zhōngxiào Wáng
b: ^ simplified Chinese: 武华; traditional Chinese: 武華; pinyin: Wǔ Huá
c: ^ simplified Chinese: 應国公; traditional Chinese: 應國公; pinyin: Yìngguó Gōng
d: ^ Chinese: 魏王; pinyin: Wèi Wáng
e: ^ simplified Chinese: 队正; traditional Chinese: 隊正; pinyin: duìzhèng
f: ^ simplified Chinese: 鹰扬府; traditional Chinese: 鷹揚府; pinyin: Yīngyáng Fǔ
g: ^ simplified Chinese: 工部尚书; traditional Chinese: 工部尚書; pinyin: Gōngbù Shàngshū
h: ^ simplified Chinese: 武元庆; traditional Chinese: 武元慶
i: ^ Chinese: 武元爽; pinyin: Wǔ Yuánshuǎng
j: ^ simplified Chinese: 杨氏; traditional Chinese: 楊氏; pinyin: Yáng Shì
k: ^ simplified Chinese: 武顺; traditional Chinese: 武順; pinyin: Wǔ Shùn
l: ^ simplified Chinese: 韩国夫人; traditional Chinese: 韩國夫人
m: ^ Chinese: 武曌
n: ^ simplified Chinese: 武则天; traditional Chinese: 武則天
o: ^ Chinese: 郭夫人
p: ^ simplified Chinese: 贺兰敏之; traditional Chinese: 賀蘭敏之; pinyin: Hèlán Mǐnzhī
q: ^ Chinese: 武承嗣; pinyin: Wǔ Chéngsì
r: ^ Chinese: 周忠孝太皇
s: ^ simplified Chinese: 南周太祖无上孝明高皇帝; traditional Chinese: 南周太祖無上孝明高皇帝; pinyin: Nán Zhōu Tàizǔ Wú Shàng Xiào Míng Gāo Huángdì