Lady Ban, Consort of Emperor Cheng of the Han Dynasty

She was a virtuous and talented woman good at writing poetry and rhyme prose. When Emperor Cheng mounted the throne in 33 B.C., Ban was summoned into the palace and designated as Lady of Handsome Fairness and was quite in the emperor’s favor. After going into the palace and winning the emperor’s favor, Zhao Feiyan falsely accused Empress Xu of practicing witchcraft and involved Ban in the case. Though Emperor Cheng understood her, Ban, seeing through Zhao Feiyan and her sister’s jealousy, offered to wait upon the empress dowager in the Changxin palace. She wrote the famous poem “Song of the Round Fan”, which says: “The fine silk is as white as snow, and it has just been cut. It is made into a fan, which is as round as the moon. Taken out from my love’s bosom, it brings breeze when moved. I’m afraid when autumn comes, cool wind will replace heat, and the fan will be cast into the suitcase, and there’ll be no more love for it”.  Later, “the autumn fan” is used to refer to a lady who lost her love’s favor. Besides, she wrote the famous rhyme prose “The Changxin Palace” which was bright and colorful in style and could match Sima Xiangru’s “The Palace of Long Gate”. After Emperor Cheng died, Ban spent her remaining years guarding his tomb.