Known commonly by her imperial consort title Shufei (王淑妃), it is not known when Lady Wang was born. She was a daughter in a household from Bin Prefecture (邠州, in modern Xianyang, Shaanxi) that made cakes. Because of her great beauty, she gained the nickname of “Huajianxiu” (花見羞, “flowers would be ashamed to see her”). She was, in her youth, sold as a servant girl to the Later Liang general Liu Xun. Liu apparently favored her greatly, as he gave her a large amount of money. After Liu’s death in 921, she did not marry, and was apparently living off savings that Liu left her.

Sometime during the reign of Li Cunxu, the founding emperor of Later Liang’s successor state Later Tang, Li Cunxu’s adoptive brother and major general Li Siyuan was looking for an additional concubine after his concubine or co-wife Lady Xia died. Someone informed Li Siyuan’s close associate An Chonghui about Lady Wang, and An in turn suggested Li Siyuan to take her as a concubine, and Li Siyuan did. As she still had a large amount of money left from what Liu Xun left her, she awarded much of it to Li Siyuan’s associates and daughters-in-law, such that throughout the household, everyone praised her. Li Siyuan’s wife Lady Cao favored the simple life and did not contend for his favor, and therefore Lady Wang became his favorite.

By 928, Consort Wang was apparently already sufficiently powerful inside the palace that, when Li Siyuan’s chief of staff Kong Xun wanted to have his daughter married to one of the emperor’s sons, it was Consort Wang that he ingratiated. She subsequently suggested to Li Siyuan that his son (by the deceased Lady Xia) Li Conghou marry Kong’s daughter, and Li Siyuan agreed.

In 931, Consort Wang received the greater title of Shufei.

After Li Conghou took the throne, he honored Empress Cao as empress dowager. Shortly thereafter, there was a conversation between the wife of one of the imperial guard generals who battled Li Congrong’s forces, Zhu Hongshi (朱洪實), and Li Congyi’s wet nurse Lady Wang — who had also had been carrying on an affair with Li Congrong. In the conversation, Lady Wang tried to defend Li Congrong’s actions and pointed out that Li Congrong had previously treated Zhu well. When Zhu heard this, he, in fear, reported this, as well as Lady Wang’s affair with Li Congrong, to Li Conghou. Li Conghou thereafter forced Lady Wang to commit suicide. Because of Lady Wang’s status as Li Congyi’s wet nurse and because Consort Wang had treated Li Congrong well, Li Conghou began to suspect her. He considered moving her out of the main palace into a subsidiary palace, Zhide Palace (至德宮), but because of the close relationship between Empress Dowager Cao and Consort Wang, he worried that this would be hurtful to the empress dowager, and therefore did not do so, but he also did not treat her with great respect. However, he did, in early 934, honored her as consort dowager.


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