Yelü Pusuwan

Yelü Pusuwan (Chinese: 耶律普速完; pinyin: Yēlǜ Pǔsùwán; died 1177) was regent of the Qara Khitai (also known as Western Liao) during the minority of her nephew Yelü Zhilugu from 1163 to 1177. She was the younger sister of the Western Liao emperor Yelü Yilie.

Yelü Pusuwan
Regent of Western Liao dynasty
PredecessorYelü Yilie
SuccessorYelü Zhilugu
SpouseXiao Duolubu (蕭朵魯不)
Era dates
Chongfu (崇福 Chóngfú) 1164–1178
Posthumous name
Empress Dowager Chengtian (承天太后 Chéngtiān Tàihòu)
FatherYelü Dashi
MotherXiao Tabuyan


She stepped up as regent when her older brother Yelü Yilie died, since his son Yelü Zhilugu was still a minor.[1]

In 1165 Masud II pillaged Balkh and Andkhoy with Pusuwan's support. After punitive expeditions in 1169 and 1172, Qara Khitai army crushed Il-Arslan, who soon died.[2] His death caused civil war in Khwarazmid realm — his wife Terken Khatun enthroned Sultan Shah, while another son Tekish fled to Qara Khitai and asked for help. Around this time Mu'ayyid al-Din Ai-Aba sent a tribute to empress.[3]

Yelü Pusuwan sent her husband Xiao Duolubu (蕭朵魯不) with a huge army who defeated Sultan Shah, and put Tekish to throne on 11 December 1172.

In eastern border, she tried subdue Naimans and Qanglis unsuccessfully by sending her general Erbuz (额儿布思).[4]

After a while Tekish fed up with growing Qara Khitai demands of tribute and killed an emissary sent by Pusuwan, who was her relative. This caused Pusuwan to favor Sultan Shah. Xiao Duolubu was sent again, this time to dethrone the very man he had crowned.

While Duolubu was away, she was infatuated with his brother Xiao Puguzhi (蕭樸古只). She created Duolubu as "Pacifier of East" (東平王) but spent more time lately with her new lover. When her father-in-law Xiao Wolila (萧斡里剌) found about the relationship, he surrounded the palace and killed both lovers.

Her nephew Yelü Zhilugu was installed as new emperor.


  1. ^ History of Liao, vol 30.
  2. ^ Gennadʹevich), Pikov, G. G. (Gennadiĭ (1989). Zapadnye kidani. Novosibirsk: Izd-vo Novosibirskogo univ. ISBN 5761500205. OCLC 29818909.
  3. ^ Michal., Biran (2005). The empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian history : between China and the Islamic world. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 55. ISBN 0521066026. OCLC 59353154.
  4. ^ History of Jin, vol.121
Yelü Pusuwan
House of Yelü (1163–1177)
Born:  ? Died: 1177
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Renzong
Regent of the Liao Dynasty
Succeeded by
Yelü Zhilugu
Gurkhan of Qara Khitai
Succeeded by
Yelü Zhilugu