Zhao Feiyan, Empress of Emperor Cheng of the Han Dynasty

Originally named Yizhu, Zhao Feiyan was adopted by Princess Yang’e. The princess trained her dance since her childhood. After years of training, Yizhu became famous for her lithe and graceful postures, and movements in dance. While moving around, she was as nimble as a swallow flying, and was thus renamed Feiyan, meaning “flying swallow”. When Emperor Cheng saw her dancing, he called her into the palace and designated her as Lady of Handsome Fairness. For her performance, a platform was built on the islet in the Celestial Lake in the palace. Dressed in green and light silk, Feiyan danced lightly, like a fairy coming from the heaven. Once, while she was dancing heartily, there suddenly blew a strong wind. With her thin dress fluttering in the wind, she seemed to be flying away. Later, after building the Seven-Treasure Wind-sheltered Platform and carving a giant crystal plate, Emperor Cheng asked the servants to hold it up, allowing Feiyan to dance on it. Having won his favour with her beauty and dancing skills, Feiyan made Emperor Cheng depose Empress Xu and set herself as empress.